681. Flagstaff, Coconino County (AZ06)

Yes, folks, that’s a nice courthouse and all, but that’s not the important thing right now. There is snow on the ground! I sometimes joke about being lucky to have made it to a destination, but in this particular case I say it more seriously. Sure, it doesn’t look like much in the picture, and there are folks in the north and northeast who are raising their eyebrows and thinking, “That?” But I’m from warmer climes. I’m not from the parts of Texas where people drive on snow. Austin shuts down when there’s this much. We just don’t have the infrastructure or preparedness for it. Consequently, I am not one for driving on snow.

Despite the flurries, it seemed relatively dry. It wouldn’t stick to roads once the sun rose, but inching along national forest roads and doing my best to avoid suicidal deer made for a trip like I had never experienced before and had tried my best to avoid in the first place. That said, I knew there was a chance that something like this might happen. My risk level sometimes rolls snake eyes. Thus is life.

Of course, there was only one place in the county with a truly worthy cache. OK, that’s not entirely true. To paraphrase Mr. Blair, all caches are good, but some are more good than others.

Welcome to the Grand Canyon.

That is a big damned hole in the ground. Arikaree ain’t got nuthin’ on this.

And who knew there would be an EarthCache up here? Actually, as you can imagine, there are many, but I only picked one. I also took a little time to mail some postcards (because tourist) and grab a newspaper, this one printed by the Hopi and Navajo Nations(!). Had I been a little more forward thinking, I would have gotten a good panoramic shot or some video because if those features were created for anything, this is it. All that aside, I’m not easily moved by nature, but this was quite a thing.

With my work here done, I took a few minutes to consider my options. The Canyon was worth it, but I also realized that the cost of entry could have gotten me an extra tank of gas. That extra tank could have easily gotten me to my next location by going around the Canyon and into the Land of the Lake and the Prophets, but that was not to be. I did the math and decided that it would be too big a risk under the financial circumstances. With no good choices or convenient stops to be made along the way, I set off, but I wasn’t done yet. While my well-planned stops were no longer in play, I wasn’t done caching. I knew I would find some more on my way to…

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