Smokey the Bear is, in fact, a real bear. At least, he was. After a forest fire, a bear cub was found horribly burned. He was nursed back to health and cruelly named "Smokey." He was the direct inspiration for the anthropomorphic, shirtless bear who still intimidates children and adults alike.
Regardless, I snuck in and out of the Grand Canyon without a problem. So much for Homeland Security.
Brian, Kelly, and I arrived at the East Rim at 1:00 am after a car ride filled with Cheeze-Its and laughter. We didn't want to wait until morning to hike into the Canyon, so we shouldered our packs, donned head-lamps, and were on our way. We arrived at the campgrounds around 6 am. The Reservation Checkpoint had yet to open so we just hiked right past it and I was in.
Brian and I stayed until Sunday evening. Kelly was driving back to Phoenix with her friends and had left very early that morning. Brian and I had no such commitments. We hiked out around dusk and somehow made it to the East Rim in 3 hours and 45 minutes. It was hardcore. Bats were flying everywhere, kingsnakes were slithering about, and squat, brightly colored lizards bobbed their heads threateningly at us.
We got to the top, rested for 20 minutes, hopped in the car, and headed towards San Francisco.
San Francisco was awesome. Josh and Laura's apartment is a block away from the beach. Next door, less than thirty seconds away, is a little grocery store, a bar, and a pizza place.
I was in heaven.
I did a lot. I went to the zoo, the Legion of Honor to look at art and sculptures, an art show at an art gallery which was more like a party with live music, I ran along the beach, I saw an amazing band called Loquat where I fell in love with the lead singer and got her to sign my chest, went wine tasting in Napa Valley, walked all about the town, talked to a multitude of colorful characters including a Korean War veteran and a magical musical bum, and ate a lot of pizza.
Saturday was the wedding of Josh and Laura, which was the whole reason we were there. It was a beautiful ceremony and a great reception. I love those two.
The wedding reception and events afterward is a story in itself, but Joey's blog already puts it pretty well.
Brian and I left San Francisco Sunday afternoon. We arrived in Merril, Oregon at 8 in the evening at Brian's grandparent's house were we are staying right now. I like it here. Which is good, since I'm not returning to Phoenix until the beginning of July.
Well, I gotta go; I'm on borrowed time.