Growing up, the Grand Canyon to me was always a place for a family vacation we would take at some later date. As I got older it became more of a joke as well as something I might do later in life with my own little family.
Then there I was driving through Arizona with a plan to ride my bicycle all over Tucson when I saw a sign that read, “Grand Canyon 40 miles”. Within a week I had picked up a friend from the Phoenix airport and we were driving north to the South Rim.
When I saw the canyon for the first time, my breath got caught in my throat. The vast distance of canyon in my view was more than my mind could compute, the colors warm with a hue of green, and an enormity that minimized my life.
John Wesley Powell, the first known explorer of the Colorado River who got through the canyon described succinctly in 1869, that “each canyon is a composite structure, a wall composed of many walls, but never a repetition. Every one of these almost innumerable gorges is a world of beauty in itself.”
Our days started out at 23 degrees with snow and we’d find ourselves basking in sunshine and 70 degrees deep within the canyon at lunch time. It was also a great reminder of choices we make in regard to food and waste. Policy or personal decision, we packed out what we brought in and thus chose to leave the canned salmon for our return snack.
This is certainly a place I yearn to return again and again during the cold months when so few people are there to be in awe of the silence, to be overwhelmed with the beauty, and to have the joy of meeting great people along the trail and having the luxury of companionship for that day. One can't help share this wondrous place, though likely we all keep its secrets hoping that in our next visit, it remains unchanged.
This last photo gives you a glimpse of how hard it is to go back.. up.