Visiting the Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. The Grand Canyon was the first National Park I knew about, before I knew National Parks were even a thing! Since my life-changing visit to Yosemite National Park, which… if you haven’t heard about that you should check it out here, I made it a goal to try and check out as many of the parks as I could in my quest to explore more and learn to help protect these green spaces.
But the Grand Canyon had been on my list before I even had a list. All my life, whenever I mentioned the Grand Canyon in conversation, most of the people I was chatting with had gone, either sometime as a kid for a school trip or on vacation with family. I never got to have that experience, so I was always intrigued and interested in checking out this unique space.
I was finally able to spend a day there a couple of weeks ago during my trip to Arizona. It was a six hour drive from my house to my friend’s house and a four hour drive from there to the Grand Canyon. Being a black adventurer, I’m always hyper aware of my surroundings when travelling to new places. Especially when going by car and having no idea how the police in these spaces would behave. The worry intensified for a bit when we lost cell phone service and seemed to be the only car on the highway. Those thoughts eventually faded as we got closer to the canyon and could actually see it getting closer.. and closer… and then too close.
This is where my second twinge of fear kicked in. I love the mountains, but I dislike driving up them. I love exploring canyons, but seeing the huge gorge open up was a new and unexpected kind of fear. I was relieved when we pulled up to the familiar gate entrance. We drove to Desert View, where we’d be able to get out the car and experience our first actual view of this Grand Canyon.
It did not disappoint. Looking out and seeing nothing but this huge…vast…and amazing canyon really was humbling. I’m not sure I would have appreciated it much as a kid, but I definitely appreciated it now. Pictures really don’t do the place justice. We walked and drove along the South Rim, and while some of the turn-offs were sheer and terrifying, I also couldn’t help but look down. I couldn’t help but appreciate how this canyon was formed and is still forming.
It’s crazy that 100, 200, maybe 300 or more years from now it’ll be different. And that’s one of the many things I love about nature. Things we experience in the past and in the present will be so different in the future.