Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 3: The Grand Canyon

Naturally, we had to visit the Grand Canyon while we were in Flagstaff. When one of the most fantastic sights in the world is just two hours away, it would really be a shame not to see it.

The fact that this was my second time there did nothing to diminish its grandeur.

First, I should note that not everybody visited the Grand Canyon. For various reasons, several people decided to stay at the house: some because they'd actually visited it before and preferred to spend their time doing other things, and some because they were exhausted.

You see, at an elevation of 7,000+ feet the air gets pretty thin. The people who live at that elevation are used to it, but for most of us the oxygen deprivation leads to lethargy, exhaustion, and sometimes even headaches.

So, on the journey to the Grand Canyon we had two cars, each with four people. Another vehicle left later, but they only stayed for about an hour or so before leaving.

Our eight people started at the visitors center and began the trek along the rim toward Grand Canyon Village. The vista nearest the visitors center is very paved, featuring lots of railings along the rim and offering a grand first glimpse of the canyon.

The Grad Canyon does something funny to your eyes. The space is so massive that your brain can't really comprehend what it's seeing. It's a fascinating phenomenon that a photograph simply can't capture. For instance:

Photo taken by Paul Bogard, because I'm too lazy to upload my own pictures

What is that? It doesn't convey the miles and miles distance between here and there. The trees on that closest crag might as well be lichen or flakes of basil.

Anyway, we walked along the rim away from the more tourist-filled, railed area into the places where we could actually climb down or take pictures in precarious positions.

Looks precarious, doesn't it?
We walked for a few miles to the Grand Canyon Village, ate lunch, then kept right on walking along the rim for another few miles. It was good exercise, a great view, and opportunity for lots of good conversation, as all of us Grand Canyon hikers got to know each other a bit better with every step.

Some day I might hike down tot he bottom of the canyon, but that would require much ore planning. Exploring the rim is a nice day trip, but hiking to the bottom and back up is a trip of at least two days (if you're rushing).

There I am, being an idiot. I look safe from here, but I was scared stiff.

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