After braving cowboys, snake bites and the worst motel in Flagstaff, me and Dad continue our whirlwind tour, this time hitting the Grand Canyon and making our way through the red rocks towards Utah.
So the Grand Canyon. It’s big right? We’ve all seen pictures. It’s easy if you haven’t been before to think that you know what your in for. This is helped by the fact that, if you approach from the south, there are no teasing glimpses as you get closer and closer to the rim. No gentle introductions here. The road is closed in with sage and pines until finally. BAM! The first time you venture towards the edge, the whole thing hits you at once, and believe me it’s quite a wallop to the brain. Wandering around the first lookout I can’t help but insist to myself that the Colorado River must be some sort of tiny creek because surely that’s the only way the scale of this thing would make any sense. That’s ridiculous of course, but I prefer the slowly admit the truth of how massive this thing is to myself as we move around the rim.
There are an array of different lookout spots as we drive around, each one surprisingly varied. A new angle gives another beautiful perspective on the colossus below. There’s so much going on that I have trouble taking it all in. If I look at the sheer drop at my feet, I’m missing out on those amazing cliffs off in the distance, and the vast array of other views that lurk in between. I smile to myself as my adventurous eyes try and fail spectacularly to focus on everything at once. The wonderful layers of scenery are impossible to catch with your own eyes let alone on camera.
As we get further to the East, storm clouds start coming in around the North rim lending further majesty to the canyon (as if it needed it). The dark clouds cast huge shadows that shift across the vast landscape, making wonderful patterns over the colored cliff tops. I’m blown away by how striking and varied the landscape is as we move around the rim and remark to Dad that: “you don’t get sick of it do you!”. The words are barely out of my mouth before a woman comes up beside us and says in an exasperated voice, “it all starts to look the same after a while”. Nothing says “boredom” like the Grand Canyon! I wonder how people like this cope with their regular lives if sights like this completely fail to inspire them.
We’ve finally reached the last lookout so we bid goodbye to the Grand Canyon and continue up highway 89 towards Utah. Huge towering red cliffs line the road for the rest of the day and as we get further North we run into the storm that was hanging around the North rim. This is a treat rather than a set back though. Nowhere does thunderstorms like Arizona. Sheets of black rain pummel the cliff sides, with rays of sunshine lighting up some sections and forked lightning strikes hitting others. I’m just thinking that the scene couldn’t get any better when a huge double rainbow stretches out over the rocks. Nature sure does know how to put on a show.
We cross the border into Utah right on sunset and set up camp with the gorgeous cliffs awash with soft evening light. Tomorrow it’s onwards to Zion National Park, but for now it’s time for a beer.
Listening to: When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin