This morning got up early to watch the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. Despite the fact that Walter confirmed Gary’s assertions that he does in fact snore, I somehow had a restful evening.
I will however be using ear plugs tonight, courtesy of Jeanne;)
We hiked down the Bright Angel Trail, descending below differing layers of rock–some fragile and powdery and others porous. Jeanne said the lower layers of rock are called Pre-Cambrian. Walter just said it was “one thousand years of geology,” shortly before declaring that it was “his canyon,” matching his ENTJ domineering complex with maniacal, diabolical laughter.
Either way, the view was stunning. Scraping powdery snow from the cold (and often muddy) ground, Walt and I had an impromptu snowball fight, and we let Jeanne get caught in the crossfire. This was shortly after snow began to fall.
We took a trail off the official beaten path. We passed a lady perched on a rock under a tree. She was contentedly reading a book. I imagined her an enigmatic sage or oracle, giving us fair warning of dangers ahead on our trail. We finally reached the end of our hike, and sat on a rock that overlooked the canyon.
This trip has been marked with incredible vistas and beautiful colors. Despite how ridiculously cold the air is here–low twenties with a wind chill factor of who knows how much lower–I’ve enjoyed just being here and soaking in the views. There are many.
We drove 25 miles east of our hotel to the Desert View which includes a replica of an old watchtower and a view of the Painted Desert and Cedar Mountain. We stopped inside a snack bar to take refuge from the cold. Jeanne brilliantly surmised that they should have hot chocolate and indeed they did. We sat and watched people pass by–impish children with funny hair flopping in the wind, smiling old women with erratically colored socks, frazzled Japanese parents chasing after runaway children, pairs of men and women (we imagine them to be best friends of 40+ years), and even crazy Scottish tourists. It’s entertaining to imagine people’s stories and what relationships and circumstances brought them to the Canyon with the company they keep.
I’m sitting in the car, heading north on route 64, the Grand Canyon at our backs, and the ocean of air still swelling all around. The wind here sounds like an ocean and the canyon is the sea. Jeanne is singing softly under her breath while Walter sleeps in the backseat. Vegas looms before us and we are soon leaving natural beauty for manmade glitz.
To be continued…