Journey 4.0: Day 11 — The Grand Canyon
The. Most. Incredible. Sight. Ever.
Today’s trip to the Grand Canyon was truly the epitome of this trip. It took us a little over an hour each way, mostly on curvy two-lane roads with 45 mph speed limits. There were a number of scenic turnouts on the way, each more incredible than the last. We hiked the Rim Trail, spending much of our time “in the rough” on the canyon side of the paved trail. In the end, we decided that after we had put in over 5 miles that way, we weren’t going to push it by hiking down into the canyon, even part-way. That’s for another trip.
The views are just incredibly beautiful; they defy words to describe them. And every turn in the path reveals a new angle on the vast expanse. I pretty much lost my fear of heights, because getting out to the edge and seeing only the formations in the canyon is really what this is about, and I wasn’t going to miss it.
If you have been here, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t been here, you cannot begin to imagine in, and you need to put this trip on your bucket list, and then do it.
One of the things that impressed me was the number of foreign people who were here visiting and sightseeing. I dare say they made up the majority of today’s visitors — I heard many, many languages. And I thought, how is it that we Americans are in the minority of visitors to this incredibly wonderful sight that is right in our midst? I have no issues with sharing it with all who want to come — I just wish more (all) Americans would come and share in the sense of wonder. It is truly an awesome sight.
We kept trying to get some distance between ourselves and the crowds, and finally at one point we found a fairly isolated spot with great ledges for sitting; the crowds hadn’t arrived yet. I found myself a rock to sit on, and gazed out at the amazing vista, and began to weep at the sheer wonder and awesome beauty of it. My faith is deepened and strengthened as I see these wonders of God’s creation.
And all this beauty and wonder, plus whatever national parks we visit on the way home, are mine (and Matt’s, as my passenger) for the grand sum of $10. People over the age of 62 can purchase a lifetime senior pass for $10. It’s good forever as long as it is presented iwth your ID. So far this trip I have saved $50 in park entry fees. There are a number of national parks on our way home, and the pass will get us into any of those we choose to visit. SCORE!!!
On the way back from Grand Canyon National Park today, we kept watching a big black storm cloud that was hanging to the northeast of us. Finally, we were under it, and we got rain, hail, and a 20-degree temperature drop! The hail was quarter-sized, but it never rained particularly hard. And once we passed under the storm cloud, the temperatures quickly climbed back into the 90s.
My only real mistake of the day was forgetting to take sunblock. Both of us are sunburned, hopefully not too badly.
Tomorrow, already, is the day we start the journey home. Mass in the little local Catholic church is at 11 a.m. I’ve found it a joy and profound blessing to find my way to Mass on Saturday or Sunday in all of my travels these past 3+ years. We’ll be on the road around noon, and get some miles under the wheels before we stop for the night, probably somewhere in western central Colorado. Our plan is to camp all three nights if possible on the way home. And getting a start on the trip tomorrow afternoon will leave us with shorter days on the road so that we can sightsee along the way.
I am continually blown away by the beautiful places that are ours to explore and see, and I’m constantly impressed by my grandson’s desire to see “the real thing” rather than getting hung up on and taken in by the tourist traps and souvenir shops. We have each picked up a few things along the way to remind ourselves of the trip, but we’ve spent astonishingly little money aside from the few nights we’ve spent in hotels (only 4 of the 11 nights so far) and meals out when we were too beat to dig in the cooler.
Who knows what kind of connectivity we will have on the road — I will post when possible!