A Grand Canyon it was!

This past weekend eleven T648 snowmen headed up the big I-17 hill to embark upon a frosty adventure at the south rim of the Grand Canyon – a real price performer of a ‘wonders of the world’ category campout thanks to the federal government shutdown.  While certain amenities like pay booths, visitor centers and Bright Angel trails were not available, there was plenty of snow, laughs, wild life, food and rim trail along the canyon to satisfy the most discriminating outdoorsman.  Highlights included shirt and pant layering and sleeping bags within sleeping bags to counter the temperature in the teens; deer, elk, coyote and raven sightings everywhere; creative breakfast cooking to overcome diced tomatoes freezing the moment they were cut and water cubes that were frozen solid.  Heard in the morning – ‘I’m so cold, I can’t feel my nose’ – ‘Have you tried with your finger?’  A few new memories for this old scouter: playing Frisbee in the morning with the washcloths that had been laid flat on the table to ‘dry’ overnight; the pure wonder of a young scout who found a deer leg bone complete with fur still attached; watching the patrols attempt to use anything available to heat their dinners – stoves, campfire, portable fire pit, charcoal; an excited exploration of bear tracks in the snow, and what the scouts insisted was blood frozen on the ground behind the tents; the sheer poetry in motion of three adult leaders flying around the outdoor kitchen such that all the ingredients came off the grills and burners at the precise moment to warm the tummies rather than gather frost.  We joined the local avian thieves in ‘raven’ about the fantastic meals!  But the topper, as always, was witnessing a group of young men enjoying each others’ company while learning to thrive in whatever conditions our beautiful world provides – and our world doesn’t get much more beautiful than at the Grand Canyon dusted in snow under crystal blue skies.