Imagine this: You get onto a plane and take a flight all the way across the country. You get in your rental car, the quiet sound of the engine filling the car along with the air conditioner as you drive. As the hours continue on, the city roads of Arizona vanish and are soon replaced with tall trees and layers of snow along the ground. The signal on your phone is long lost, you're unable to receive any notifications from social media. It's almost as if contact with modern civilization is long forgotten, you're unreachable, you've disappeared from the world without a trace of your whereabouts.
All of a sudden you find yourself seeing buildings. A train can be spotted on your left while you drive down a small road past what looks to be a huge cabin surrounded by smaller cabins. As you continue around the turn, you see a stone wall, and beyond that, the canyon.
The Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world captivates so many people around the world. Over 5 million people come and visit the National Park each year, so, what makes it so special? So spectacular that so many people feel the need to stop by and visit it?
It's the beauty.
It's the ability to reconnect with nature.
It's the ability to get away from the modern world and soak up the past. Not just the recent past, but hundreds and thousands of years in the past. Seeing the different colors of layered rock that span farther than a mile from the top of the canyon to the bottom.
The sky is bright blue. Different shades of blue blend together seamlessly as clouds flow in front of them. They come together as the top of the canyon comes into view. It's a sight that can be seen for miles, the canyon spanning far beyond one's view. It's a 180-degree picture. Browns and reds almost appear to be purple in the distance as they melt together with the sky, and as the rocks get closer they take on the color stronger. Dark browns, burnt reds, soft cremes all come together in the walls of the canyon. Strong lines define each era of the canyon's history.
It's something to be speechless over.
It's cold. The wind brushes against your cheek as you bury your nose into your scarf. The wind forces your hair around, your body daring to be pulled in one direction or the other, but you stay put. Your eyes remained glued on the canyon. Staring at the very bottom where the water is found, if you squint you can see rafters going down the river. If it's cold your you miles up, you can't imagine how cold it must be for them. The water stays around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so going for a swim would only make things so much worse.
There are birds, but wildlife is relatively hidden. It's too crowded for them to be wandering about, not to mention that it's a bit too cold for some. If you walk to your cabin, it's possible to see elk, wildlife lives around every corner, whether you like to think so or not.
I've had the joy of seeing the Grand Canyon from two different perspectives, from within the canyon walls, rafting down the river and seeing the canyon from up top. Both have forever surpassed my expectations. It's so incredible to see the past, the evolution of our world through the lines of the canyon walls.
When I was rafting, I was able to see this sight up close, see the canyon walls hovering above me with a myriad of colors. The sight from the top was different; some of the colors muddled together with the sky, with the river at the bottom, but there was still definition. It was still a beautiful sight to see.
Going to the Grand Canyon forces you to think differently, it forces you to change your perspective of the world we live in. We live in a society where everything is built. We have skyscrapers, we have high traffic roads and pollution that spans beyond our control. But, when you go to the canyon, all of that is taken away. All of the pressures that come from the modern age simmer away easily because there's no access.
You don't have access to your phone, to all of your social media where your friends post about their lives. You can't keep up the streaks, the chats, the pictures, and sometimes, that's for the best.
It's a cleanse. It's a shift in pace from running to walking. You're able to take a step back and relax, enjoy what the world gave to us.
We all live in the same world, that's true, but depending on what we see, what we do to live in the world changes our global perspective.
Living in the same world, the same modern world filled with buzzes and pings and loud music stops us from fully taking in the world we have. Not everything in the world is modern, and it's so important to embrace those destinations before they're gone.
Go explore, disappear from the modern world for a while. I'm sure you'll enjoy it and be forever changed.
Protect National Parks.