A second visit to the Grand Canyon

After White Horse Lake, we returned to Grand Canyon South Rim. Gary's brother Ray came down from Seattle on his Harley and stayed with us for a while. We had a great time once again at the canyon. I hiked down the Bright Angel Trail a ways, and then also hiked part of the South Kaibab Trail - while the guys relaxed at the trail head. You cannot truly appreciate the size and grandeur, I think, until you hike down and experience a completely different perspective from inside the canyon. It was fantastic, and next time we go, we would like to hike to the river and spend the night at Phantom Ranch there at the bottom.
We also saw lots of mule deer and elk, who basically just hung around our campsite there at Mather Campground. I also feel lucky to have gotten a nice picture of one of the 65 California Condors now living in the area. It was a terrific visit to the canyon.

Gary and Ray had a great time together:

That's our trailer in the background; we had a whole herd of elk sleeping in the woods behind our campsite one day.

Very sad news on our kitty...

For those who knew Gabe, we have some very sad news. On Sept 9, our last day at WhiteHorse Lake, our sweet kitty Gabriel passed away. We are not sure if he died in his sleep of a heart attack - or if he died from a spider bite (the next morning we found a huge black widow on the deck where Gabe spent a lot of time). We found him curled up in his normal sleeping spot - well, not really curled up - Gabe didn't curl - he sprawled - like a dog - which he thought he was. Anyway, I cried on and off for several days and we really miss him (Rexie too). Here recently, Gabe was even going on walks with Rexie and me. He was happy, purring, and playing as normal, including that morning, so it was a sudden thing with no warning signs that we could determine.

He did live a very happy life (absolutely spoiled), but I think went through all of his nine lives along the way. When I adopted him from the shelter, he had lost his mother well before he was weaned (1) and was very sick with a terrible respiratory infection; he almost didn't make it (2). Then there was the fall from the upstairs loft - not the most graceful of cats, he was somewhat of a clutz (3). At about 2 yrs old, we came home one evening to find him dragging his back legs, unable to move them - the vet said to prepare for a $5000 surgery, but after lots of praying and a weekend hospitalized on steroids, he made a complete recovery by Monday (4). Then there was a urinary problem (twice) that was almost his undoing (5 and 6). There was also a close call with a vehicle at Newport Dunes (7), plus an even closer call with our neighbor's dog Sammy (8) -- I think dog druel on his back provided a very good lesson - finally impressing on Gabe that not all dogs are his best friend and brother.

Gabe was just 8 years old; for his entire life, he followed the dog around like his best friend. He was always loveable - the only cat I've ever known who would let you pet his feet - toes and all, rub his tummy, and he would never tire of the attention. He would greet everyone with his friendly nature, and would walk up to complete strangers for some attention, including children (some of whom were not that gentle - yet he would lay there and tolerate just about anything). He would sprawl in the middle of the floor and if you asked him to move, he would just look up at you, with a gaze that said, "go around, and don't you dare step on me". He loved to be carried and held, and would wrap his paws around your neck and your waist, then give you a great big kiss. Truly the sweetest cat.

We miss him terribly.

Gabe relaxing on the deck:

Sprawling next to his best friend Rexie (often he would reach out and place his paw on top of Rexie's) - he always had to be close to that dog:

Gabe the big Mountain Cat exploring the woods:

This photo was taken on Gabe's last day, relaxing (yes - this cat really knew how to relax) in his favorite chair on the deck, at what we now call Gabe's Lake.

Finally online again...

We had a terrific time at White Horse Lake - it was a beautiful place. If ever in the area again, we will stay there. Gary had a 5-day fishing license and caught his limit almost every day - so we had lots of fresh trout dinners. We had fun hiking the local trails (Rexie especially!) and kayaking / boating in the lake. We also had some terrific thunder / lightning storms. It was a thrilling experience in the early morning to listen to the elk calls echoing across the lake.

Steam rising from the lake, early morning: Gary fishing at white horse:

Rexie really enjoyed hiking in the woods: