One Selfie From Death: My Grand Canyon Experience
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One Selfie From Death: My Grand Canyon Experience

It's something a selfie can’t just can’t capture.

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One Selfie From Death: My Grand Canyon Experience
Sara Meadows

It was the last day. My friends and I gathered along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with handfuls of others to watch the sunset, eyes large at the view before us. People of different cultures and languages stood shoulder-to-shoulder, admiring the scene in united awe. Ahead of us, beyond the cuddling couples bathed in colors of red, stood a group of boys posing inches away from the cliff. To my left were risky photographers leaning their heads over the drop-off for that perfect shot. My right side was scattered with selfie-enthusiasts gathering near the edge to catch the fleeting sun. A child began to take a few too many steps near the rocky drop before his mother snatched him safely away.

One of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world is also—understandably—a deadly one. As visitors from around the globe gather to peer a curious eye over the landscape, one in 400,000 may find themselves too close for comfort. Now, although this probability seems low for you, the chances are still very real. But the dangers of dehydration and accidental falls are not reasons to avoid the Grand Canyon altogether. Actually, they may be the two biggest reasons to go.

A lot of people like to joke that the Grand Canyon is just “one big hole in the Earth” and lacks interest. Others nervously point out that guardrails didn’t prevent last year’s visitor from falling off the edge, therefore the risk is too high to take. Then there’s the group of crazies that I can only aspire to join one day: the sweaty, red-dirt covered, numb-legged, forever thirsty Canyon dwellers.

I recently finished a four-day camping trip at the Grand Canyon with three of my closest friends. One of those days was spent descending then turning around and ascending 1,131 feet of the South Rim on Bright Angel Trail. It was a cake walk compared to the men and women we met during our hike. They were usually independent, hair dripping with sweat as they pushed on to hike to the top. As each person passed, a friendly hello is exchanged, until one man stopped for a brief chat. He reported he hiked the majority of the trail within the bottom of the Canyon during moonlight, and this was his last stretch in finishing hiking from North to South Rim.

This journey is almost impossible to comprehend. That man has seen the walls of the Canyon from the inside; he has walked within the belly of a National Park, surrounded by miles of nothing but desert terrain. His feet have shuffled just inches away from hundred foot drops.

The Grand Canyon is not something to be conquered, but to be endured. From the people who lean too far off the edge to capture a picture to the inspiring hikers who can tell stories from within the rock walls of history, this place is beyond our capable minds. It is difficult to explain to someone who has never seen the Canyon before when describing the scenery. There is a magic to the land that can only be experienced by your own eye. The adrenaline a person feels when approaching the edge to expose themselves to the vast infinity of a mini-world below them is unforgettable.

It's something a selfie can’t just can’t capture.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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