Grand Canyon – it’s not just a Big Hole

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The sun just about to climb above the horizon

Now, you may have heard this before, but describing The Grand Canyon to people who haven’t been and seen it is very difficult. You can tell them facts:

  • It’s c280 miles long – which is roughly as far from London to Paris or driving from Edinburgh to Glasgow and back 6 times
  • At its widest, it’s 18 miles across – which is the same as the closest distance between Britain and France
  • It’s average depth is 5,500ft – which is roughly a mile or 1600 metres

But whilst they give you an idea of the size and scale, they’re too bare, too cold, too clinical to actually tell you what it’s like and I think that the reason for this is that Grand Canyon isn’t just a place, it’s an All Enveloping Experience.

Light streaming in from the East

I do appreciate that might sound pretentious and a load of old cobblers – or worse, but going to Grand Canyon is not seeing the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower or Rockefeller Plaza; it’s not riding a rollercoaster or skiing down whichever colour of run you choose to try; it’s not seeing a whale swimming past your boat in the ocean or coming across elephants on the savannah; it’s not completing an arduous mountain hike or recording your first album tracks. All of which can be described in ordinary terms which can be easily understood.

What Grand Canyon is and does to you is a combination of all of the above – and a whole lot more – as it strikes different chords with all of us, it makes us all think and feel different things. Things such as a sense of wonder, joy, loneliness, happiness, warmth, connection, isolation, humanity’s significance in the world, what we’ve achieved, what we’d like to achieve, etc. etc.

As the sun rises, it gradually fills the Canyon with light, with the rocks changing colour from deep purples in the low light to bright golds and yellows. Beautiful.

I’m very lucky to have been more than once, in both Summer and Winter and the experience is different each time – it’s always magnificent, but you notice different things and take in new insights and it never ever looks the same on consecutive days. So rather than try and tell you what Grand Canyon is like, I’m not going to try, what I will do is urge you visit as it is a true wonder to behold

The photos following below are a small selection of the views I’ve captured and hopefully give some sense what it is to be on the rim.

Winter at Grand Canyon can bring snow….

…lots and lots of snow.
Amazingly, 24 hours after I took the photo above, I took this one in the same spot. You’d never know that 3 feet from where we were is a 4000ft vertical drop
Sun arriving….
Wild Elk foraging on the Canyon rim
The far side is roughly 15 miles away
The mighty Colorado River, one mile below the rim

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