Magnificent Muffin Mania:
GCHBA Volunteer Service Project - in Grand Canyon NP / Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Ass. (GCHBA) / Painting Shade Structures at IG, Replacing the Indian Garden Ranger Station Deck, Tiling the BA Bathrooms, and much more
(October 23 to November 1, 2017)
Text © copyright by Rob; and Photos © copyright by Rob Jones

Co-Adventurer VIPs: Annette A., Cuyler B., Tom B., Barry B., Holly B., Kathy H., Mike H., India H., Bill J., Rob J., Wendy L., and Cheryl VH.
     Mule packing by packers of the NPS (National Park Service).
     Site-based planning by Elyssa S. and Jeff S. (with thanks to Debbie B., Canyon Ranger District; Todd N., NPS)
     GCHBA planning and organization by Rob Jones, GPP-SP (Grand Penultimate Poobah of GCHBA Service Projects).
     VIP is Volunteer In Park.

     This volunteer service project was supported by the NPS people who put the "Service!" in NPS; and by the members and Board of the GCHBA (Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association). Thanks for your stewardship of our precious public lands.

camera: Panasonic DMC-ZS60

Note: the opinions in this report are not necessarily those of the GCHBA or its Board.

Chickadee seeks water, Day 1
Chickadee seeks water, Day 1
(Click the image for the full-size image)
Curious Ram (Bighorn Sheep), Day 2
Curious Ram (Bighorn Sheep), Day 2
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Unhappy Bat at IG, Day 2
Unhappy Bat at IG, Day 2
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VIPs paint the visitor contact station, Day 4
VIPs paint the visitor contact station, Day 4
(Click the image for the full-size image)

Installing the RS Deck, Day 6
Installing the RS Deck, Day 6
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Woman Power clears the jungle trail, Day 6
Woman Power clears the jungle trail, Day 6
(Click the image for the full-size image)

Rehabilitating the signs, Day 7
Rehabilitating the signs, Day 7
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Local color at Pipe Creek, Day 10
Local color at Pipe Creek, Day 10
(Click the image for the full-size image)

     ERM = Energy Required Miles. A mile is added for every 500' elevation gain or loss. It's a very serviceable method of estimating energy required miles. ERM was initially used in Trails of the Tetons (long out of print) by Paul Petzold, founder of NOLS. It's a wonderfully useful concept and application. Add one mile for each 500' up AND down to distance = ERM. I use ERMs to calculate what the actual day is like. It's a very serviceable method of estimating energy required miles. Remember, however, that the ERMs are estimates because they depend on GPS satellite coverage and math functions.
     Using ERMs does not account for the 'texture' of the route or trail - that is, rocky, boulders, no trail, slimy mud, etc., yet does help approximate the route.
     See more information about ERMs at the end of this report.

     Overview: This is another report about a GCHBA (Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association) volunteer service project in The Canyon. This time, our group of 11 VIPs (Volunteer In Park) was split between IG (Indian Garden); where we replaced the Ranger Station deck, painted all the metal poles for the shade structures (ramadas), painted the visitor contact station, refinished the area signs; and at BA (Bright Angel); where Mike and Kathy arrived early to tile portions of the men's bathrooms and replace the roof on a kiosk. Others in the BA crew arrived and cleaned the irrigation ditches in the campground. See the list of tasks for a hint of what we accomplished.
     I hope you enjoy the Muffin Mania photos and such, and that you are all over your congresspeople to properly fund and support and care for our public lands, Rob, GPP-SP (Grand Penultimate Poobah - Service Projects).

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017 - Day 1

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day1-1 Titmouse web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day1-2 Acorn Woodpecker web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day1-3 Red-breasted Nuthatch web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day1-4 Acorn peeks web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day1-5 Acorn Woodpecker web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day1-6 Weighing the Load web.jpg

     Day 1, October 23rd. Pack and Fly. 4 miles.
     The breeze is cool as dark collapses on Mather Campground after a day of organizing the food boxes and delivering them to the Pack and Fly shack. The members of this VIP (Volunteer In Park) group who are camping overnight before hiking into The Canyon lounge in folding camp chairs talking of trips enjoyed. Bill has again visited the area of the Park named after characters from the Knights of the Round Table. Holly and Annette grew mold behind their ears during a week of hiking the Continental Divide Trail when it rained every day. I've enjoyed another section of the Pacific Crest Trail, getting off the trail before the horrid wildfires.
     We are here participating in a volunteer service project, as members of the GCHBA, Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association.
     This time, our group is split between BA (Bright Angel Camp) and IG (Indian Garden Camp) because there are tasks awaiting in both campgrounds. See the task list. It is depressing the way our Parks and other public lands are perpetually underfunded. Now, the trumpites want to privatize them.
     Expecting a cool night, I had brought my super-fluffy sleeping bag, which turned out to be too warm.

Task Accomplished List 3-2017 GCHBA
Tasks Accomplished List 3-2017 GCHBA (pdf)
(Click the image for the document)

     Day 2: Batmania, into The Canyon. To IG and such. 6 miles. ERM = 12.
     The bat squeaks, held firmly and gently in the nubile researcher's gloved hands. Not a happy bat, yet free of the white nose (fungus) which mammalogists fear. This group of researchers is netting several species of bats over Garden Creek, near the trail to Plateau Point. What excitement. This after the hike into The Canyon and starting work on prepping the IG information contact station for exterior painting.
     Later, approaching hiker midnight (9 p.m.), Jeff and Elyssa ask Bill and me to help dismantle and pack up a German's camp, and Holly and Annette to stand by for possible medical assistance while the DPS night vision helicopter comes in to extract this German tourist with cardiac issues. All goes well and we retire to camp.
     Just as I'm drifting off to sleep, a deer trips over the guylines for the tent, totally disrupting the start of an excellent dream.

    Know - Kaibab Limestone
    The - Toroweap Formation
    Canyon's - Coconino SS
    History - Hermit Shale
    Study - Supai Group (including the Esplanade)
    Rocks - Redwall Limestone
    Made - Mauv Limestone
    By - Bright Angel Shale
    Time - Tapeats SS

    Know The Canyon's History, Study Rocks Made By Time.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 2

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-1 Into The Canyon web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-2 Pictos along the way web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-3 Mules and Packers web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-4 Following along web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-5 Ewe web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-6 Ewe web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-7 Pictos web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-8 Bat exam web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-9 Bat exam web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-10 Big ears web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-11 Bat at center web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day2-12 Preparing to paint web.jpg

     Day 3: Pumpkin Spice. 4 miles.
     The aroma of pumpkin spice muffins wafts out across the mule staging area, drawing the wandering VIPs closer to the circle of friends. Baker Holly has produced a delectable morning muffin.
     Then, we drag equipment into the campground where Holly and I scrape, sand, wire brush and paint the metal poles for the Indian Garden Campground shade structures. During an earlier VIP trip we had painted the wood parts of the shade structures. Kathy, Bill, and Annette work on prepping the exterior of the visitor contact station while Mike builds shelves from an old picnic table in the Ranger Station. We're waiting to see if the materials for the new deck on the Ranger Station might make it into The Canyon while we are available to help install the deck.
     Mike and Kathy are back at IG after tiling portions of the men's bathrooms and reroofing kiosks at BA. Cheryl, Cuyler, Tom, India, and Wendy are cleaning BA campground ditches. They will return soon and help at IG. See the attached list for what we accomplished during this VIP adventure.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 3

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day3-1 Holly preps web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day3-2 Painting web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day3-3 Holly, Bill lounging web.jpg

     Day 4: Oh Deary! Blueberry today. 3 miles.
     Rurrrrh. The sander whirs against the metal support in the Indian Garden Campground. Holly and I are back at work prepping and painting ramada posts.
     Smoke from the controlled burn on the North Rim lowers into The Canyon. Distant, then closer views of temples and buttes are obscured.
     The juvenile deer bleats and whines. "Oh Deery!" is our retort. "Is Deary a sad sounding malingerer or starving ungulate?" I wonder.
     Earlier, blueberry muffin odor fills the air, punctuated by the sharpness of smoke. Yummy.
     John the compost man, Jeff, and Elyssa drop by to say "hi," or help with the painting and to eat a muffin.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 4

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day4-1 stirring things up web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day4-2 smoke coming web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day4-3 Elyssa paints web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day4-5 Holly preps web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day4-5 Mike installs door web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day4-6 Fire glow web.jpg

     Day 5: Rotor Wash. Nutella to you. 4 miles.
     Smoke fills The Canyon, a gloomy, icky mess. I dream of rain and realize it's rats chewing. "Chewing on what?" my semi sentient brain asks. On the sunscreen? Boots? I sleep on. Thoughts of rats chewing on plastic invade my dreams. On a recent backpack trip in The Nankoweap, rats chewed holes in my soap and my sunscreen bottles. Rats!
     Nutella cupcakes at 7 a.m., lovely. The muffin mania continues, unabated and delightfully enjoyed. Thanks Holly.
     Dust swirling, the 750 pounds of Ranger Station pre-assembled deck spins into view as I hide in the Station from the rotor wash of the NPS hornet. "Wham!", it drops directly in front of the Station, then plops onto its side, crushing a native cactus. We VIPs wrestle with the deck section, then discover that it's filled with pavers and buckets of screws. No wonder it's so heavy. Three more sections arrive in rotor-driven dust and debris. It's a four-corner puzzle (Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado), deck segments have been partially put together by the maintenance people on the rim, then delivered to our staging area.
     The group wrestles with the sections and parts spilling out of them. There is lots of preparation work needed before the four corners are joined. While Mike and the Rangers work on the deck project, I head back to work on prepping and painting the shade structure poles.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 5

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day5-1 Deck coming web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day5-2 Jeff ready to direct web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day5-3 deck drop web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day5-4 another section web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day5-5 wrestling deck web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day5-6 wrestling deck web.jpg

     Day 6: Deck Wrangling. A Peachy (muffins) Day. 3 miles.
     Ranger Debbie B. calls the lift and we easily ease the deck section into place. It's coming together well. The deck sections were sent down as a four corners theme, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico. Mike, Debbie, Jeff, and Elyssa continue working on the deck.
     Back to work on the ramada poles for me, a second coat of the industrial oil latex paint. India and Wendy, Mud Queens, hack the reeds and willows along the jungle trail; a grand display of woman power. Bill and Kathy finish painting the exterior of the information contact building. Tom is making an elegant and artistic table from old signs. Cuyler is cleaning kiosks and such. Annette is sanding sun-darkened signs and oiling them. Cheryl is painting the bathroom in the Ranger Station. Everyone accomplishes a great deal after starting the day with peach muffins.
     Holly, Annette, and Elyssa see a Roadrunner and I see a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
     We get together for dinner and rehydrate with warm beverages. Wendy breaks out with an Irish ballad as dark thirty approaches.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 6

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-1 morning Day 6 web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-2 what web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-3 trimming web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-4 rats on the post web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-5 Tom constructing web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-6 deck wrangling web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-7 deck wrangling web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-7 Wendy, India jungle trail web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day6-9 Cuyler - info station web.jpg

     Day 7: Butterscotch Bits. 3 miles; ERM = 3.
     Pumpkin with butterscotch bits muffins are distributed as India and Wendy pack to hike out. It's sad to see these force of nature women go, yet they go with butterscotch (muffins).
     Smoke from the controlled burn on the Kaibab NF to the North slips into The Canyon as I eat lunch on the shady side of the water facilities deck, having finished a second coat of paint on the shade structure poles. Finally, this massive job is complete.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 7

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day7-1 Jeff silhoutte web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day7-2 morning smoke web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day7-3 detail work web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day7-4 getting close web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day7-5 Mike - inspecting web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day7-6 White-breasted Nuthatch (rim) web.jpg

     Day 8: Deckanalia. 3 miles.
     The GCHBA VIPs, Rangers Elyssa and Jeff straddle Elyssa's nearly new picnic tables atop the new Ranger Station deck for a closing deckanalia celebration. Tremendous food by Elyssa, two types of delightful burritos.
     It is a day of attempting to close out the assortment of tasks started during this week. Painting information kiosks, sanding and oiling signs, 46 of them, completing the deck installation, digging in a rock paver pathway and dragging gravel from the stream bed to form a ramp to the deck, cleaning buildings, replacing tools, etc.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 8

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day8-1 Elyssa, Bill web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day8-2 Visitor Contact Station - painted web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day8-3 Kathy, Bill painting web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day8-4 Holly - new table web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day8-5 Glow temple web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day8-6 burrito time web.jpg

     Day 9: Old Miners Loop. 13 miles. ERM = 20.
     Kate, a new interpretive ranger, glides along the lower Bright Angel Trail wearing her Halloween Corvid outfit. Lovely.
     There's a glowing sweep of Fall Cottonwoods in the Pipe Creek drainage, bookended by salmon pink ramparts of rocks made by time. Tom, Bill, and I are hiking the Old Miners Loop, from the Old Bright Angel Trail to the Bright Angel Trail to Phantom via the Black (Kaibab) Bridge to the Silver (BA) Bridge to the Old Miners "trail", to the Tonto and back to Indian Garden. We start fairly early and are at Phantom for an early lunch. There we chat with Sjors, the permanent volunteer at BA, about an upcoming service projects - in March, and about his whale and Condor watching. We invest some time in looking at what the BA part of the group accomplished and are suitably impressed. Nice work.
     We drag into IG after a long day. It's a night to eat the last of the food and organize for the hike out tomorrow. - IG to Old BA Trail to BA and up via Miner Route to Tonto - 13 mi
Map - IG to Old BA Trail to BA and up via Miner Route to Tonto - 13 mi
(Click the image to see the map)

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 9

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-1 starting out web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-2 ruins web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-3 ruins web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-4 Ram silhoutte web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-5 Corvid evermore web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-6 The River web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-7 tiling by Mike web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-8 new kiosk roof web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-9 pueblos web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-10 boat beach web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-11 new scenic toilet web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-12 BA delta web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-13 bridge view web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-14 trail in shadow web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-15 BA area from Miners Trail web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-16 Pipe Creek web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-17 on the Tonto web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-18 Angels Gate web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-19 Pipe Cr drainage web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-20 on the Tonto web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day9-21 sunset web.jpg

     Day 10: Scenic Departure. 8 miles. ERM = 15.
     Again I'm admiring the splendid golden and yellow Fall foliage as I hike the Tonto to the South Kaibab, taking the long way out of The Canyon. The water in the Burro and Pipe Creek drainages supports Cottonwoods that now glow. It's a glorious day, I note, as the Redwall Skyline Arch sweeps into view on the South Kaibab and I climb toward the rim and the end of yet another GCHBA service trip, helping the NPS provide stewardship to our precious public lands.

Photos- VIPs at IG-BA 10-2017- Day 10

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gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-1 Pipe Creek web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-2 Pipe Creek web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-3 Pipe Creek web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-4 Pipe Creek web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-5 Pipe Creek web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-6 Tonto view web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-7 Redwall Skylight web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-8 Mules near Skeleton Point web.jpg

gc-vip-ig-ba-10-2017-day10-9 Goodbye Canyon web.jpg

"I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Under the desert sun, in the dogmatic clarity, the fables of theology and the myths of classical philosophy dissolve like mist. The air is clean, the rock cuts cruelly into flesh; shatter the rock and the odor of flint rises to your nostrils, bitter and sharp. Whirlwinds dance across the salt flats, a pillar of dust by day; the thornbush breaks into flame at night. What does it mean? It means nothing. It is as it is and has no need for meaning. The desert lies beneath and soars beyond any possible human qualification. Therefore, sublime." Ed Abbey

     *ERM: Energy Required Miles, are there data to support this mileage adjustment?
     Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership
     Petzoldt first proposed his theory in his 1976 book “Teton Trails” to help backpackers plan trips and calculate their energy needs on mountain trails. “Petzoldt defined one energy mile as the energy required to walk one mile on the flat. He recommended adding two energy miles for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so a person hiking one mile and 1,000 feet upward would use the equivalent of three energy miles,” Phipps said.
     Petzoldt’s energy mile theory was just a reflection of the mountaineer’s “gut feeling,” Phipps said. The theory had never been tested in a laboratory before the study began in WCU’s Exercise Physiology Laboratory in the spring of 2010, Phipps said.
     To determine the validity of the theory, the study measured the energy cost and perceived exertion for walking on flat ground, with and without a 44.5-pound backpack, and up an elevation gain of 1,000 feet, with and without the backpack, through the collection of metabolic data, Phipps said.
     Twenty-four student, faculty and staff volunteers, including 12 males and 12 females, went through four testing sessions as the research continued into fall semester of 2010. The study results showed that the additional energy cost for ascending 1,000 feet ranged from 1.34 to 2.02 energy mile equivalents, for an average of about 1.6 miles, compared to Petzoldt’s use of two energy miles for each 1,000 feet. The range revealed by the study was due to the “hikers” personal weight differences, Phipps said. “It is remarkable that Petzoldt’s energy mile theory is so close to the actual energy cost measured during our study,” Phipps said. “In the field of outdoor education, it’s important for leaders to include an estimation of energy requirements during the planning of hiking trips.”
     Phipps said the energy required for hiking up steep mountain trails would vary for individuals and groups, and the variables of the trail would also factor in, but he recommends that backpackers stick with Petzoldt’s idea of adding two energy miles for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain when planning trips.
     The Validity of Petzoldt's Energy Mile Theory, 2010
Authors: Maridy McNeff Troy, Maurice L. Phipps
Publication: Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership


Task Accomplished List 3-2017 GCHBA
Tasks Accomplished List 3-2017 GCHBA (pdf)
(Click the image for the document)

Related Links:

Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association site (GCHBA)

GCHBA Service Projects Page

Canyon Rover: GCHBA Volunteer Service Project At Phantom RS (Ranger Station) and Bright Angel CG, 3-2017

Finding Phantom: GCHBA Volunteer Service Project At Phantom RS (Ranger Station) and Bright Angel CG, 10-2016

VIP Cottonwood Rehabilitation Cruise: GCHBA Volunteer Service Project At Cottonwood RS, 3-2016

Bonus Feature from the 3-2016 volunteer project: A Second Ribbon Oasis - AZ Daily Sun 3-30-2016, pdf

VIPs at IG - Volunteering at Indian Garden RS, 2015

GCHBA Gusher at BA - Volunteering at the bottom of The Canyon, 2015

Scenic Toilets of Inner Earth

the geology of the Grand Canyon by the NPS

Eaarth - Living on a fundamentally altered planet by Bill McKibben

Other WV reports about the Grand Canyon:

Click here or on the Looking Lizard to go to all WV reports about The Grand Canyon

All Wilderness Vagabond trip reports about the Grand Canyon
Looking for All Wilderness Vagabond trip reports about the Grand Canyon?
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More Truth Than Joke:

the wrong voters
the wrong voters
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Deficits are for the GOP
Deficits are for the GOP
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congress, fund the parks
congress, fund the parks
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