Dear friends and family,
This has been an amazing year for travel adventures. We have a new 17-foot Casita RV. It's the length of a canoe but wider. Bud is so excited about the RV he's like a kid with a new toy. Although we did a lot of RV camping, hiking, biking and canoeing in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina this year the highlight was a month-long epic trip to the Grand Canyon.
Bud and I will never forget our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. It took a few minutes to absorb. We gawked in silence. Tears of wonder rolled down my cheeks. No picture can capture its grandeur. We sat for an hour in the shade of a juniper tree on the edge of the South Rim contemplating this strange new world. The profound silence was almost palpable. It invited us to think, feel and be still. The canyon is so large the fusion of reds, whites, pinks and browns in the layered cake cliffs, buttes, terraces and arches taper away into a hazy distance.
We loved camping among the juniper trees at Mather Campground on the South Rim. Mule deer and elk wondered around our RV without fear. Large glossy black ravens with wedge-shaped tales fluttered and squawked among the trees.
As long time river lovers and canoe enthusiasts we knew the trip would not be complete without paddling on the Colorado River below the canyon. An outfitter in Page, Arizona agreed to transport our canoe upriver from Lees Ferry to Horseshoe Bend a spectacular 270-degree curve in the Colorado River. For a nominal fee we got “two” rides. One upstream with the canoe on top of a motorized raft and the second paddling downstream in our canoe. The 15-miles from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry is gentler than the rollicking whitewater rapids downstream. The views of the Grand Canyon from the river and inner-canyon were just as spectacular. The huge vermilion cliffs dwarfed our tiny canoe. It was both thrilling and scary. We also enjoyed seeing Utah's Zion, Bryce and Canyonlands and had a wonderful visit with my sister and brother-in-law in Colorado.
Bud's civic, hunting and conservation activities keep him busy. He's continues to serve as a High Falls Towaliga Watershed Alliance board director and on their water testing committee. He's also on the Environmental Protection Division's Rivers-Alive-Program Advisory Board, leads cleanups on local rivers for the Georgia Wilderness Society and the Rivers-Alive-Program and is the president of a new “Friends of High Falls State Park”organization.
Wishing you all the joys of Christmas and many blessings in the New Year!
Much love and warmest wishes, Bud and Niki