From my one trip to the Grand Canyon – I was in Tempe, Arizona, on a job and we had a day off in the middle, so my companion and I drove out to the Canyon because I had never seen it. It took forever to get there and we got lost at one point, driving endlessly thru the dusty plains until we found the proper road and got back enroute to the park. Once you’re headed the right way it’s not like you’re going to miss it – it’s a giant prehistoric hole in the earth. You can’t begin to appreciate how BIG it is until you see it in person, and even then you can only see sections, so it doesn’t really sink in until you drive along from one lookout… to the next… to the next… it seems to go on forever.
My friend and I wanted to see the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is on the opposite side of the canyon, but one of the rangers patiently explained to us that it would take a minimum of five hours to get there. It’s just that big.
(Hats off, by the way, to the extremely patient and knowledgable members of the National Park Service, who have to put up with stupid questions from the likes of me, all day, every day. You people are true heroes.)
So we had to content ourselves with the one side of the canyon, which was a terrible hardship, as you can see, and listen to the wind whip through the stones and the pinon pines, and watch the thin winter sun tint the rocks a warmer shade of red, until we finally acknowledged that we were freezing and ran for the car, and the lower desert, and hot food, and annoyed the waitress at the diner we ate in by babbling non-stop about what we’d just seen and whether I had, in fact seen a donkey on the canyon floor (consensus: no) and a million other things she’d probably heard before, since she serves waffles and burgers 20 minutes from the Grand Canyon everyday. We felt kind of bad about it and left a giant tip. Then we drove back to Tempe, long hours in the dark, quietly contemplating what we had seen.
(I totally saw a donkey. I’m sure of it.)