Wander here a whole summer, if you can. Thousands of God’s wild blessings will search you and soak you as if you were a sponge, and the big days will go by uncounted… The time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal.
– John Muir, Our National Parks
So this is by far my longest post of the year. I have been out of town for the past two weeks on a fabulous vacation to Grand Canyon National Park. Instead of inundating my followers with 14+ days of individual blog posts, I thought it best to include the entire trip in one large post – after all, who needs more emails?
In short, our trip was magnificent. The Grand Canyon is truly one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Earth. Needless to say, I completely exceeded my ‘one photo a day’ quota by taking more than 2,000 photos during our time there. The best part of our trip was the 9 days we spent oar rafting, hiking and camping along the Colorado River. Being deep in the canyon, away from the restraints of the civilized world, was a truly spiritual endeavor and I am at a loss for words on how to describe our experience. Instead I will defer to the words of John Muir who so eloquently describes this beautiful place:
“In a dry, hot, monotonous forested plateau, seemingly boundless, you come suddenly and without warning upon the abrupt edge of a gigantic sunken landscape of the wildest, most multitudinous features, and those features, sharp and angular, are made of flat beds of limestone and sandstone forming a spiry, jagged, gloriously colored mountain range countersunk in a level gray plain. It is a hard job to sketch it even in scrawniest outline; and, try as I may, not in the least sparing myself, I cannot tell the hundredth part of the wonders of its features – the side canyons, gorges, alcoves, cloisters, and amphitheaters of vast sweep and depth, carved in its magnificent walls; the throng of great architectural rocks it contains resembling castles, cathedrals, temples, and palaces, towered and spired and painted, some of them nearly a mile high, yet beneath one’s feet. All this, however, is less difficult than to give any idea of the impression of wild, primeval beauty and power one receives in merely gazing from its brink. The view down the gulf of color and over the rim of its wonderful wall, more than any other view I know, leads us to think our Earth as a star with stars swimming in light, every radiant spire pointing the way to the heavens…
…The dawn, as in all the pure, dry desert country is ineffably beautiful; and when the first level sunbeams sting the domes and spires, with what a burst of power the big, wild days begin! The dead and the living, rocks and hearts alike, awake and sing the new-old song of creation. All the massy headlands and salient angles of the walls, and the multitudinous temples and palaces, seem to catch the light at once, and cast thick black shadows athwart hollow and gorge, bringing out details as well as the main massive features of the architecture; while all the rocks, as if wild with life, throb and quiver and glow in the glorious sunburst, rejoicing. Every rock temple then becomes a temple of music; every spire and pinnacle an angel of light and song, shouting color hallelujahs.
…As the day draws to a close, shadows, wondrous, black and thick, like those of the morning, fill up the wall hollows, while the glowing rocks, their rough angles burned off, seem soft and hot to the heart as they stand submerged in purple haze, which now fills the canyon like a sea. Still deeper, richer, more divine grow the great walls and temples, until in the supreme flaming glory of sunset the whole canyon is transfigured, as if all the life and light of centuries of sunshine stored up and condensed in the rocks was now being poured forth as from one glorious fountain, flooding both earth and sky.”
With those thoughts in mind, I would like to share a very small sample of the hundreds of photos that I took during our trip. The photos begin and end with the dry, hot, monotonous plateau that John Muir speaks of as we traversed across New Mexico and Arizona. This monotonous landscape is sharply contrasted with the raw, wild beauty of the Canyon itself. Enjoy!