*This is a retrospective post about a trip I took in summer 2015*
We clambered out of the van in the parking lot but only made it to the welcome sign before our tour guide, Lilly, pulled out a blindfold for each of us (which, may I add, she had sneakily bought from a gift shop on Route 66 a day earlier. I think that added a nice touch!). She wanted to make sure our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon was as breath-taking and as magical as could be so we weren’t allowed to see it gradually; we had to be hit by the sight of it all at once, when we removed our blindfolds right at the edge.
The blindfold allowed me to see absolutely nothing. Holding onto the shoulder of the person in front of me, I blindly followed the rest of the group down the stone steps. As we descended, the faint murmur of the crowd surrounding us became loud chatter of what seemed like a hundred different accents all intermingling with each other. It was a strange feeling knowing that people were going about their lives around me but I couldn’t see them. Occasionally, I heard chatter in English about us, the seven blindfolded girls tentatively being led down the steps towards the edge. “Mommy, what are they doing?” I heard a little American boy ask his mother, the tone of his voice suggesting he was both curious and confused. “I don’t know, sweetie, why don’t you go ask them?” his mother replied. The distinct lack of children running up to me told me he had decided to not do that.
The air felt just as fresh as you’d expect it to be at such a height. It was a late summer’s afternoon so the air was still benefitting from the heat of the fierce sun which had been out all day, but when the breeze hit me it sent a wash of uneasiness running through my body. Obviously I trusted Lilly, but I didn’t know how close I was to the edge.
We were being led down the steps for what seemed like hours (but what was, in reality, probably more like a couple of minutes), but eventually we arrived at the bottom, and our hands were placed onto some railings. The metal felt warm on my skin as it had been baking in the mid-afternoon sun for a while. I stood there clinging to the railings and let the excitement and anticipation of what I was about to experience creep over my body and begin to override how ridiculous I felt. Finally, the moment arrived. On Lilly’s instruction, we simultaneously ripped of our blindfolds.
The Grand Canyon stretched out in all its glory before my very eyes. I knew it was huge but never did I ever expect it to be as colossal as it was! I tried to take in as much of it as possible and tried to cement it all in my memory: the colours of the rocks that had become jagged from years of erosion- the browns, the oranges, the purples, the greys- and how they all intertwined with each other as they flowed up and down the Canyon walls, the way the rocks at the bottom looked like mini-mountains as my eyes darted across their peaks and falls, and the way the view seemed to go on forever in every direction. I couldn’t help but wonder how people could possibly walk a tightrope across it. How do they even get the rope to the other side?!
As I stood taking it all in, I felt like I was standing on the edge of the world. I felt infinite. I felt how truly small and insignificant we people are in this world- and what a wonderful feeling that was!
We finally decided that we had spent enough time gawping but our trip to the Grand Canyon wasn’t over yet; we took a walk around one of the rim trails and then met back up with the rest of the group for pizza at sunset. There we sat for a good couple of hours, eating pizza with our legs dangling over the edge of the Grand Canyon. I think I can safely say that was the best dinner I have ever eaten and it’s going to take something spectacular to beat it!
The next day we got up before dawn (which is not something I’m usually into but I can occasionally make exceptions!), to be back at the spot where I had my first awe-inspiring glimpse of the Canyon, to watch the sunrise. I’ve not seen many sunrises in my lifetime but I’m very glad I’ve seen this one. This was followed by a very long trek down to Skeleton point (well, almost to skeleton point), by which point the sun was extremely fierce. If you ever do this trek take lots (and I mean lots) of water because there’s none down there! I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy to see a tap as I was when we reached the top again. Then again I don’t think I’ve felt as proud of myself as I felt after doing the trek.This place makes you feel all kinds of emotions!
Thanks for the memories and emotions, Grand Canyon. You’re wonderful.
Has anyone ever been to the Grand Canyon? What did you think? Is anyone thinking of taking a trip there in the future?