All Red Rocks & Gasping

The Grand Canyon.  That ridiculously huge, iconic American hole in the ground.  All red rocks & desert heat.  I’ve seen all sorts of images of it, but never in the flesh.  I wanted to see it with my own eyes.  I wanted to stand on the edge of it, gazing down to the very bottom.  I wanted to sit on the rim, legs swinging freely into the chasm beneath.  I wanted to lie on my belly & wriggle forward so I could peep over the edge.  Despite all the pictures, I still wanted to do all that.

It’s quite a hike from Seattle.  About 1339 miles to the South Rim, give or take the odd mile.  I packed up the car with bags of beef jerky, a couple dozen hard-boiled eggs & some apples, and headed south.

There I was, the other Monday, at 6:30 am, sitting alone on the edge of the Grand Canyon in the glistening sunshine.  There wasn’t another human being in sight & it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  Unfortunately it wasn’t a pin that I dropped, it was my $180 Ray-Bans, but that’s another story.  They did not live to tell the tale.  RIP at the bottom of the canyon, sexy sunglasses.  I’ll miss you.

For all the fun that this Monday morning was, the Grand Canyon, lovely peeps, is serious stuff So excuse me while I get serious here for a minute.

Sitting there on the edge, legs dangling idly in the gentle breeze, I was *utterly* flabbergasted.  I felt alternately completely insignificant & like Superwoman.  More than anything I was just absolutely stunned by it all.  The grandeur, the beauty, the enormity, the majesty.  That canyon – it’s incredible.  I literally gasped when I caught my first view of it.

It was unspeakably beautiful as the first rays of sunlight flooded into the gaping gash in the earth. 

The contrast between light & dark.  The colors glowing as if they were fire, when the sun hit the walls of granite.

The textures, the colors.  Changing every second as the light danced deeper & deeper into the canyon while the sun rose higher & higher in the brilliant blue sky.

 Feeling like an inconsequential speck of humanity as I caught sight of my shadow on the canyon wall overlooking the everlasting vastness.

 The tenacity of the plant life.  Trees adamantly clinging to nothing but bare rock, and finding a way to survive & thrive.  Now, there’s a life lesson for all of us.

 I felt tiny.  So humble.  So thankful.  So in awe.

But there were more surprises in store: The North Rim is a completely different experience to the South Rim.

The South Rim is all red rocks, cactus & sand.  You’re definitely in the desert.  Just what I expected.

 The North Rim, on the other hand, is like driving through Wyoming.  No, really.

 Aspens, lush green grass, fall colors.  If I had not known where I was I would have sworn up & down that I was in Wyoming.  Or Montana.

It’s only 18 miles across the canyon, and yet the environments on each rim are completely different.

At the South Rim you get the sense of the vastness of it all.  The huge chasm that this canyon is.  Open, welcoming, eternal.

At the North Rim you feel like you are in it.  Up close & personal.  Intimate.

There’s also a fraction of the people there.  And way fewer guard rails.  I liked that.

I spent 3 days on the rim of the Grand Canyon.  I saw it with my own eyes.  I stood on the edge of it, gazing down to the very bottom.  I sat on the rim, legs swinging freely into the chasm beneath.  I laid down on my belly & wriggled forward so I could peep over the edge.

I did all that.

I wanted to spend 3 more days.  Just to sit there.  On the edge.  Thinking.  Pondering.

Allowing the enormity of life to seep into my soul.

Gosh.  That was serious stuff.  And I loved every minute of it.

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