Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grand Canyon

It is Easter morning and I'm thinking nothing matters, and everything matters.  Two nights inside Grand Canyon National Park had me questioning the nature of time, permanence and impermanence. The big canyon and big sky, brought a feeling of timelessness.

The scale of the canyon was beyond my imagining. The sheer size is even hard to put into perspective when you are standing at the edge of the abyss, looking across or down. It is so easy to lose track of scale until you notice some tiny dots moving along and realize it is an entire group of hikers making their way along a trail. We are so small in this vast space.

The earth itself is thought to be 18-20 Billion years old. Grand Canyon is 'only' about 6 million years old, but reveals more than1860 million years of geological history. Numbers like these are beyond my comprehension.

Our lifetimes and the moments we have are so very fleeting. 

photos to come....

Our time in the canyon was brief but totally incredible. Two sunsets, two sunrises, one amazing helicopter ride.

When we arrived at the Thunderbird Lodge we were able to trade up to a room with a canyon view.

We also lucked out with spotting the first condors of the season. The park ranger was giving a talk about how the species was being re-introduced, and the kids in the circle began pointing up into the sky. Sure enough, our binoculars revealed the telltale white triangle. The soaring birds were majestic.

Sunset and sunrise were incredible, the changing light working magic on the canyon walls, sculpting new points of view.

We splurged on a helicopter ride. The take-off released about a thousand butterflies in the pit of my stomach. We hovered over the ground and then flew toward the South Rim. The earth suddenly drops away and you are enveloped by canyon walls. Miles and miles and miles, as far as the eye could see, of incredible vistas. Big sky.   

Although my knees were still aching from over extending myself in Las Vegas, we still took a short hike down Bright Angel Trail when we arrived. The next day we also hiked the Rim Trail, hopping on and off the shuttle buses and taking in the different views, ending with sunset at Mohave Point. This time out we used the hiking sticks we'd packed for the trip. They took a bit of getting used to but really helped absorb some of the shock at the knees, and as a result we were both able to travel further and with greater ease.

I was introduced to the architecture of Mary Colter and was impressed with her sensibilities. A contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright, she sought to blend buildings with landscape and to honour and respect the native tribes.

The night sky is so impressive, so many stars!

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