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Zion, Circle of Page and Cancer Outreach

October 1, 2013

Arizona – Tuesday, September 24

After I was packed up, we headed east and soon came to Zion National Park. Tula and I did a little walking outside the park borders where we could still see some of the impressive red rocks. I parked in a lot right outside the park borders, and finished the last couple of miles of Utah walking on a short trail in the park. Zion encourages use of their shuttle buses, which run frequently, and they make numerous stops so people can hop on and off at different points. One of the roads is only accessible by the shuttle bus, but the other road is open to anyone since it’s a part of a normal 2-lane highway for people who are just trying to get from Point A to Point B (a scenic way to do so!) The other reason they encourage use of a shuttle bus is because of limited parking. After my walk, I proceeded to drive through the park, since I needed to continue along my way on the other side. There are quite a few pull-offs, and I stopped at lots of them to admire the views. Sometimes I think I’m pretty lucky to not drive off a cliff while admiring a view!

Once I was out of Zion National Park, I had to decide which of 2 ways I was going to head into Arizona, and I decided to enter the state near the town of Page, because the Circle of Page Food Pantry was there and it happened ed to be open late on Tuesday afternoons. But I got distracted by the views of Lake Powell and the Colorado River as I got close to the border, and as soon as I crossed into Arizona I came to the Glen Canyon National Rec Area – one of the national park sites. I stopped at the visitor center,then got Tula out for a short walk by the dam. Then I walked across the bridge that spanned the Colorado River (the Grand Canyon isn’t the only canyon that it carves!) and looked at the massive concrete dam, and the canyon walls. From there I drove into town, and called the food pantry to see if they would prefer a financial donation or a food donation. They said a financial donation would be preferable. I wanted to make a donation to this food pantry because they provide hot meals on Mondays and Wednesdays (they call it ‘Come to the Banquet!’), and supply food boxes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Families are eligible to get a big food box once a month, and can come to get a hot meal (prepared at a nearby church) as often as they like. Wal-Mart occasionally brings supplemental food that anyone can pick up, and the volunteers never know what they’ll get on those deliveries.

When I was done at the food pantry, I set out to do a little more walking. As I came to a local park, I discovered there was some sort of event going on called Fireball Run. Decorated cars were pulling in, and there were food booths set up, and a stage with people getting some music ready. I finally asked a firefighter what was going on, and he said the Fireball Run is a 2200 mile road trip involving 40 vehicles to raise awareness of missing children. I’d never heard of this. Each of the cars that came in had posters of missing children on them. I read later that the road trip goes though the states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and California, with scheduled stops along the way, and I just happened to be in Page, which was one of the scheduled stops. These events do help locate missing children. I went back and got Tula and we wandered all over the park looking at all the cars coming in. There was a huge variety of vehicles, from little Volkswagons (with false eyelashes over the headlights) to old limos, to little cars where the doors opened upward like wings. There were other informational booths and food stands, and quite a few Native Americans dressed in traditional clothes. One of the booths that caught my eye was the Cancer Outreach booth, so I stopped and talked with the volunteers. They told me Page was kind of a remote town on the edge of a large Indian reservation, and the purpose of the Cancer Outreach program was mostly to provide transportation to and from local hospitals for cancer patients who don’t have transportation. And they also help with other needs of cancer patients. Even though I’d already made a donation today, I also liked this organization – it was a new and different opportunity. So I made another donation and they were happy to get it. I looked around at some more cars, and then a Native American dance performance began, and I enjoyed that. Tula and I walked around some more and walked a little over 3 miles altogether in Page.

My original plan for this afternoon had been to make the donation in Page, and then drive over to the Grand Canyon. But that didn’t happen. After my time at Glen Canyon, and then at the Fireball festivities it was too late to drive to the Grand Canyon. One of the roads I would have needed was washed out anyway. There were 2 detours – one was a very long one, and the other was a road that was only open during daylight hours, and it was much shorter than the other detour. I was lucky to get on that road before it was closed for the night. I discovered that a big piece of warm Indian fry bread covered in honey was a very messy thing to eat in the van while driving. I can eat most anything while out on the road, but I kind of made a sticky mess with the fry bread!

I drove on through the evening hours to Flagstaff where I called it a day.

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