Sunday, June 21, 2015

Day 8: Beyond Words

Today's Distance: keep forgetting to check before we leave the car
Total Distance: ditto
Today's Destinations: Grand Canyon; Flagstaff, AZ

I'm having a hard time thinking of what to write for today's post.  The immensity of what I saw left me speechless today.  The Grand Canyon . . . words can't describe it.  Pictures can't capture it.  The imagination itself can't fully comprehend it.

What surprised me about it first was the vegetation.  I'd always pictured the Grand Canyon as being this empty desolation, just soil and rock for miles, but in reality, it is teeming with life - all different kinds of life too.  It comprises multiple climates due to its enormous size, so each climate is home to its own unique plants and animals.  It truly amazes me how anything can grow in the desert (and I'm from the desert), yet in the words of Jeff Goldbm, "life finds a way."


The second thing that surprised me about the canyon is its complexity.  It's not this big, flat space at the bottom of these big, flat  cliffs.  It's a labyrinth of columns and mesas and pillars and plateaus and precipices.  Every angle in every viewpoint gives you something new to look at.

But of course, the most amazing thing of all is its size.  Its scale.  Its scope.  This is where words fail me.  Immense, enormous, huge, grand, gigantic, colossal, tremendous, massive, monstrous, vast. Those don't really cut it.

It's not just the height from the top of the canyon to the bottom, or the distance from the north rim to the south rim.  What impressed me the most is how extensive it is.  If you approach the canyon from the south, you can't see it from the road.  In fact, you can't see it from the visitor center.  This is largely because of the trees - again, something I didn't expect - obscuring any distant view. You have to walk or drive to a viewpoint before you can see anything.  But as you drive east along the desert road, suddenly the landscape opens up, and you can see into the distance, and it's right there!  And as we kept driving, it kept going!  Mile after mile, on and on, seemingly without end!  I thought our three hours driving around the southern rim had given me a good idea of the Grand Canyon's size, but seeing it extend along the Colorado River as we drove east just dumbfounded me.  How can something BE that big?  How is this even possible?

All in all, it was a pretty amazing way to spend Justin's birthday.

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