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The Great '68 American Southwest Experience: April 2017


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The Great ’68 American Southwest Experience: April 2017

The trip was an incredible success! Read Dave Dibelius' report and check out the photos and videos.

See Dave Dibelius' training guide.

Trip itinerary (detailed schedule of events).

This piece is both an advance notice of our long-anticipated mini-reunion tour of the American Southwest and a request for ideas to help plan and fill out our schedule.  The special attraction – or at least the primary determinant of our timing – is an overnight hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back.  Here are the details:

Reservations to spend the night at Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of the Canyon near the Colorado River, are well nigh impossible to obtain.  But, after months of trying, and just as trip chairman Dave Dibelius was concluding that people who got reservations at Phantom Ranch were selected at birth … we were successful!  We have a 10-man bunkhouse reserved for the night of April 19, 2017, plus reservations for dinner that evening and breakfast early the next morning.  (Very early – so we can get on the trail and out of the Inner Canyon before the day’s heat builds up.)

You may think it’s necessary to be slightly unhinged to attempt this hike, but lots of people from young kids to folks considerably older than we are have done it successfully without incident – but assuredly with adequate preparation.  So if you’re contemplating joining the ringleaders of this trek, please do three things immediately: (1) read the Canyon rangers’ advice on what’s involved in a “rim to river and back” journey; (2) read Dave Dibelius’s excellent months-long detailed training guide; and (3) contact Dave (email address dave@davedibelius.me) to tell him you want in.  But please be aware: our space in the Phantom Ranch bunkhouse we’ve reserved is limited, and the reservation window for April 2017 is gone; we won’t be able to get more.  This is a rare opportunity – respond quickly!

All that said, it’s not necessary to be unhinged to visit the Grand Canyon, or other natural wonders of the Southwest.  We’ve reserved a block of rooms for April 18-20 at Thunderbird Lodge right on the Canyon’s South Rim, and several hiker spouses plan to visit the many points of interest there (and probably enjoy some very nice meals while discussing how foolish their husbands are.)  Short hikes down into the Canyon – just to view the overwhelming perspective – are also a possibility.  So … you certainly won’t be left out if you decide The Big Hike isn’t for you; there’s plenty to enjoy.

We’re still in the initial planning stages for the rest of our mini-reunion trip, either before or after our stay at the Canyon.  Or maybe both, according to demand.  We’ve already reached critical mass to visit Monument Valley (where the ghosts of John Wayne, John Ford, and all the movie Westerns roam) and Canyon de Chelly (the mystical Native American equivalent of the Garden of Eden).  Other Arizona possibilities include Oak Creek Canyon (famed calendar photo subject), Walnut Canyon (ancient cliff dweller condos), Sunset Crater(ancient volcanic cinder cone), and the Meteor Crater (close to Winslow, AZ, where we can stand on a corner and watch girls in flat-bed Fords slow down to take a look at us!)

As I write this, it occurs to me that this whole trip could be like a floating crap game – you can join us for all of it, or simply the parts that include the places you want to visit.  Please share your ideas with me – and, if you’re in for any of the Grand Canyon stay, send your money to Dave Dibelius.  He’ll need a deposit of $125 for the night at Phantom Ranch, and $130 pp  for a room at the Thunderbird Lodge.

Thanks for reading.  Let’s make this happen – Dave and I both look forward to hearing from you!



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Last updated: Thursday, February 05, 2015