Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday: Instruments and the Grand Canyon!

What a day! We set off at 9:30 and headed NW for the ski area in order to recover RAWS-2 and its data. This allowed the rest of the gang to admire our handiwork, i.e., the placement of the instrument suite in the middle of ski slope away from etc. PLUS the fact that it worked (i.e., the students wired it up correctly). PLUS we got some good data! Serious thoughts of coming back here next year...

Here is RAWS-2.

Then we headed further NW to examine RAWS-1. This too looked good. The students huddled, and decided they wanted more data (nice!), so we decided to leave it there (see Wednesday's post to explain its recapture).

Here is RAWS-1.

And then we continued heading NW towards the Grand Canyon (GCNP). Given that most of the students had not seen it, it would have been pretty crummy not to have gone. Turns out - we hit weather! A bit of a surprise since all/almost all of the monsoonal moisture has moved east.

We split into two groups: the hikers, and the shoppers. I was the shopping leader, meaning that our group wanted time to look at the gift shop(s). One the way into the park, we ate lunch in a cafe sporting this sign (gulp!)

Having gotten into the park (which took about 20 minutes in a long line), a gasp from the students when they caught their first sight of the Grand Canyon - nice! We all got our tee-shirts, and are happier for it! We then drove along the south rim, stopping at every possible turnout and taking pictures (some are posted in one of the photo blogs). At one point, we found ourselves under a decent rain shower (from which we soon heard thunder). Heavy rain! Fat rain drops on the window! There were actually several cells forming over the area north of I-40 and west of US-180, precisely where we were! All us wanna-be Ansel Adams types pulled over a mile further east to photograph the cell over the canyon (see photo posts).

And then we pushed east to meet up with the hiker group, who reported that they had hiked down at Grandview about 1000' (i.e., about 1/5 the way down, as the crow flies). Still awaiting pictures to prove it. We left the park, drove east on US-64 and south on US-89. Along the way we had magnificent views of the desert (zero trees to obstruct views). We also ran through some pretty good cells with heavy rains. And a rainbow!

And finally in the evening, another student-led weather discussion and forecast. Here we are getting ready (the hotel usually sets us up with tables and chairs, but not tonight).

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