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We woke refreshed, although Angie was still in a lot of pain due to a pinched nerve in her right shoulder. Soon the spectacular views of the Grand Canyon distracted us from her pain. All images here – mostly scenic shots – are filed under S2494. A couple of large clumps of Coryphantha sp., one of which was protected by a wire cage, prevented this from being a ‘no cacti’ stop.

S2495 was at a view point over the Little Colorado River, an impressive deep and narrow canyon, but with very little water trickling through the treacle like silt. We recorded Yucca sp, Agave sp., two Opuntia sp., Cylindropuntia sp. Echinocereus engelmannii and a charming Daisy like plant in full flower that I’ll look up in the Flora of Arizona bought at the Grand Canyon’s visitors centre. There were the usual three to four tables with members of the Navajo Nation selling off their pottery and jewelry craft items. This was the same place where in 1997 I stopped with my sons Anton and Christiaan, then 17 and 14 years of age. The weather was quite different then even though it had been April again. Then, we had viewed the Grand Canyon standing up to our knees in snow and with a wind so strong that it had prevented helicopters from taking us for a ride through the Canyon. At this stop, the wind was so strong that Christiaan demonstrated this by leaning into the wind. Very nice, except that the wind was so strong that I was worried that he’d fly away – he was standing right at the edge of the Canyon and at that time there were no safety rails.

We moved on to S2496, a set of coordinates provided by friends from the UK (thanks guys – you know who you are!), but my heart sank when we turned off the main road into the Navajo market of the Little Colorado Scenic View point. P. peeblesianus was supposed to grow here but was this since the area had been developed for tourism? Angie, Eunice, Bosco and I took the walk to the canyon’s edge for more pictures and the walk back through the market where once again I had bought some more pottery. Back at the car, the search for Cliff was on. He was eventually spotted in the area behind the market ‘stomping around in search of cacti’. I joined him and found all the plants reported at the previous stop. Just as I reached him Cliff pointed at some clumps of larger cacti: Echinocactus polycephalus subsp. xeranthemoides. These were nice multiheaded clumps as the name suggests.

Eunice had planned to part company with us in Cameron, so a quick stop to say: ‘See you later this year when you come over to England, for our annual trip to the ELK cactus festival in Belgium and followed by a two month trip with us to South Africa and Namibia.’ We found a seat for Angie in our car amidst the collection of boxes and bags that had built up over the past three days.

About 45 minutes later, we were surprised by the hooting of a car horn and the flashing of lights. Eunice had decided that it was already too late for the drive back to Long Beach, so would spend another night with us at Marble Canyon, where we had booked rooms for the next two nights.

I had said earlier that she used to be indecisive!


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