Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Grand Canyon

Saturday was Grand Canyon day. Things I'd heard about the canyon included: a) your photos just won't capture the size and grandeur of it; and b) it's so big that it looks like a cardboard cut-out.

Both true. When we pulled up at the visitor's centre and went to the easiest look-out, Mather Point, my first thought was: 'Is that it?' I know, I know... it's one of the seven natural wonders of the world and on every other person's bucket list. But it just didn't look like I'd thought it would. See?

Hmm. Looking at it now it's looks pretty ruddy impressive. But when you're there it's like your eyes just can't see enough - and there was a big rock face in the way. Ad felt the same. We needed some perspective! We'd seen that you could hike a fairly easy trail down into the canyon (the Bright Angel Trail), so we decided to do that. But not before we'd hopped on the shuttle bus to take a look from Hopi Point, one of the most famous viewpoints. That's more like it.

When Adam had taken about 100 photos (a slight change in the light alters your whole view of the canyon, it's amazing), we got the bus back to the start of the trail. 'We'll do the six-mile round trip easy,' we thought as we descended into the canyon.

FYI, that's a Blue Jay. And this is the view of (almost) the end of the Bright Angel Trail, about a 12-mile walk down into the canyon. And NOT, under any circumstances, to be attempted as a round trip in a day.

No more warning needed. We were more than convinced by the time we'd reached the one-and-a-half mile rest point on the trail and started contemplating the hike back up.

I didn't take any pictures on the way back up. But I can tell you that it was steep. And that the only thing you could hear - bar the 'ECHO echo echo...' yells of the odd teenager - was other people's strained breath. Even the most seasoned walkers seemed unable to get enough air into their lungs on the way back up. Perhaps it was because they'd already hiked to the bottom. Or perhaps it was because they - and we - were climbing 1,000 feet in the space of a mile and a half. Whatever the reason, we were glad and rather sweaty indeed by the time we got to the top.

Oh, and what I forgot to mention was that it was cold and blustery at the rim of the canyon, and it even rained for a time. Not into the basin of the canyon. Even in the short distance that we travelled down into the canyon the temperature rose by 10 or 15 degrees Celsius. It was HOT. So when we did get to the top, in our sweat-drenched t-shirts, we cooled down very quickly, so we rushed to the car for a change of clothes, did a quick grocery shop for dinner at the canyon's General Store and headed back to a look-out near the El Tovar hotel to watch the albeit very cloudy sunset.

Is that it? Yes, and it's a true spectacle.

1 comment:

  1. Looks awesome - can't wait to see it for myself.
    Glad to see you're both having a good time. Mick said he and Joby met you in LA. There's someone from Future around every corner!

    Best wishes,