Thursday, November 19, 2015

RoadTripFour: Grand Canyon National Park

The first time I ever visited the Grand Canyon was on my cross country road trip when I was moving out to Los Angeles at the end of 2011. I wrote about it in a blog back then, but to make a long story short we did not see any of the Grand Canyon due to an intensely thick blanket of fog. We could barely see our hands outstretched in front of us; which didn't worry me because I'd seen my hands before and I could still feel them. So we walked away, defeated, not knowing if the Grand Canyon was real or just made up like the 1969 Moon Landing.

There's a Grand Canyon somewhere in that Fog.

To be honest I had never really cared to see the Grand Canyon in the first place. It just happened to be a convenient attraction along our cross-country route in 2011. But having gone and seen nothing, all of a sudden I was determined to return to see it. So I made sure to plan it into our Southwest road trip this time around. We arrived on Sunday afternoon, a nice sunny day, as unassuming as any other. We walked to the Grand Canyon from the parking lot and there it was; completely exposed, not a thing covering it. It was indecent, really. Nothing left to the imagination. I was embarrassed for it. But if I'm being completely honest...I looked. For two days, I looked.

WARNING: Graphic Nudity XXX

If the Virgin River is an exacto knife, carving out the intricate canyons and stunning cliffs of Zion, then the Colorado River is an excavator, focused on quantity over quality, hired by the ancient Aztec Gods to transport billions of tons of sediment to the Sea of Cortez for building more temples and such. Of course in recent history the heavens of the Aztec gods have been gentrified by Catholic Angels and Saints and the like. Consequently, the Colorado has been relegated to a big irrigation ditch for Southwestern Agriculture. Wether or not Big Ag has connections to The Vatican I cannot say. Let's just say that Pope Francis enjoys his fresh tomatoes in December. Nevertheless, the canyon that the Colorado River continues to leave in its wake is massive.


And the weird thing about the Grand Canyon is you stand there on the Rim looking at the vast absence of earth, a mile deep, and you can't really grasp it's immensity. You know that it's immense and you see that it's immense but you just can't can't get your brain fully wrapped around how amazing that should be. Other people have told me that you have to hike down inside it to really experience it. I suppose if I return I will have to do that. Judging by the look of some of the folks coming out of there, it won't be easy. But, fully grasped or not, the Grand Canyon is quite a sight to behold.

That said, the most spectacular experience, by far, at Grand Canyon National Park, is the hot showers. Eight glorious minutes of hot water cascading out of a real faucet. After five days of strenuous hiking and 30 degree nights, it just may have been the best shower of my life. Also there were laundry machines next to the showers. And WiFi in the laundry room. And a grocery store and cafe down the road. Come to think of it camping at the Grand Canyon isn't quite roughing it. It's more like camping in your parents' backyard, if you had a mile deep canyon in your back yard. 

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