My knowledge of the Grand Canyon was pretty limited prior to my recent trip into the world's greatest hole. I had seen some of Kevin's pictures from his previous hike 7 years ago, and of course there are the images we've all seen in history and geology books at school, and I've had the pleasure of seeing some of Ansel Adams' great works from the canyon. I guess those three influences got together in my mind to create a perception that I found out last week doesn't even touch the reality of this geological phenomenon.
We drove in from Phoenix late on Tuesday night and spent the night in the park but upon our arrival I could see nothing but stunningly bright stars dotting the pitch black night and one huge elk who was chowing down outside of the restaurant we ate at. It wasn't until Wednesday morning when we drove to the trail head to start hiking that I got my first peak of the Grand Canyon. We were taking some windy roads so I would get a glimpse and as soon as I began to wrap my head around the vastness of what I was looking at we would wind around a bend and the trees would hide the canyon until yet another opportunity to marvel seconds later. This continued on until we parked. This was my first real view. I was shocked at how much deeper and wider and longer this thing was than my mind allowed it to be. I stood for a while freaking out and then we started the hike down the trail called Hermit's Rest.
At first I thought we must be doing a pretty sissy hike because I knew we were going to the bottom and I was pretty sure I was looking at the bottom and it wasn't that far away. 8 miles later I finally had a real understanding of just how deep the Grand Canyon is (it's 6,000 feet...I looked it up on Wiki). We hiked over rock slides and tiny caves in the sides of the canyon walls. Just when I thought I had seen the greatest view there was to see we would round a corner and a huge part of the canyon would become visible. It kept blowing me away over and over again. It is truly incredible. I'm not sure why I am taking so much time to describe it after I admitted in the first paragraph that no words or pictures can really begin to depict the immensity of this tremendous structure. So I will leave it at this: go see it with your own eyes if you ever get the chance! And be prepared to have your head explode! Ok, maybe just one more thing. I came face to face with so many different rocks and textures as I was grabbing at them to take my steps to safety and I kept saying "It really looks like someone hand carved this whole place with a tiny little chisel." And something did...the Colorado River. As its powerful currents cut through the rock it eroded and exposed millions of years of the Earth's life. And all of it was created by God. His beauty and power astound me. As I stood in the middle of something so vast I felt so unworthy of a God who can create something so breath taking and incredible and yet He chooses to be in a relationship with quirky me. I love it.
Here are some of our favorite pictures taken with our Canon point-and-shoot. The big daddy camera and lenses didn't make the backpack cut!