I’ve spent more time at the Grand Canyon than most people I know. Not only did I work there, flying helicopters over for an entire summer, but it’s less than 40 miles from my place at Howard Mesa. We occasionally go up there — sometimes just for lunch.
Photos of the Grand Canyon do not do it justice. The place is magnificent. The view from every lookout point, from every spot along the trail, is different. Best of all, it can be enjoyed by everyone in whatever dose you’d like to take. Drive up to a spot on the rim for a look. Take a hike all the way to the bottom. Fly over in a helicopter or airplane. Take a raft down the Colorado River.
Reminds me of a story I heard at the grocery store in Tusayan when I worked at the canyon. It was after work and I was picking up a few things to take home. They had some calendars of the Canyon at the checkout counter, a kind of of impulse buy item. The cashier told me that a tourist from Europe was paging through the calendar and suddenly exclaimed, “There’s a river in there?”
If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, go. Plan your trip to arrive before sunset and watch the sun set from one of the lookout points. Get a room at a hotel along the rim. Have dinner at El Tovar. Then, when it gets dark, walk on the path along the rim. (Don’t worry; there’s a wall there so you won’t fall in.) If there’s no moon, you’ll experience the odd feeling of walking beside a dark abyss. If there’s a full moon, you’ll see a monochromatic version of what you can see during the day. In the morning, wake before sunrise and watch the sun rise from a different view point. Or the same one. Be sure to take in the art exhibit at the Kolb Gallery and either hike along the rim trail or take a shuttle bus (or your car, in the winter) to Hermit’s Rest.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, photo