While I’ve been telling everyone who asks that it’s my first visit to the Grand Canyon, the truth is, it’s my second, but they just couldn’t have been more disparate experiences. I traveled here with my mom, as a side trip from Las Vegas while we visited my brother. I was probably about 8 or at most 10 years old, and at that age where nothing much impresses you. I have a few vague memories, like flying in a little tiny plane, eating lunch with our hosts on a nearby Reservation, and being told repeatedly to get the heck away from the edge of the abyss. I remembered absolutely nothing about the scenic vistas or captivating views.
So, when JJ told me that he really, really wanted to see the spectacle, I was a bit hesitant, but acquiesced for his sake. As soon as we got the RV settled in to a nearby campground, we headed over to the iconic Mather Point, the first place that most folks see when they arrive. We walked up to the overlook, swarming with humanity, taking selfies, screaming and loud, and narrating their every move on their phones. While the colors and shadows were gorgeous, I mostly just felt annoyed and ready to leave. (Hold on now, before you get too indignant: the spoiler alert is that things change.)
I later realized that my issue was hardly with the Grand Canyon; my issue was with the hordes that typify the most popular areas that you find in all the National Parks. We got away from the masses, and hiked on lesser known trails, racking up 23 miles in less than a week. On one amazing 6 mile, 6 hour hike, we passed only 30 people, a minor miracle in a park that sees over 5 million visitors each year. And the further away we got from all the development, the more the grandeur could speak to me, and the more I could hear what she had to say. JJ and I have different hiking paces, and we usually spend most of our time within eyesight, but too far away to chat. It meant that I had plenty of time to contemplate….well, everything that comes up when you’re in the midst of something that makes you feel so small.
In short, I fell in love with the side that you only see if you take the effort to see it.
Internet connection is hard to come by here, and we have lots to do before we move on tomorrow to start heading west to our summer job. Enjoy some more pictures, and promise yourself that, it you haven’t already, you will get out here sometime soon.