Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Grand Canyon

It's hard to take pictures of the Grand Canyon. You get the sense that it's big... just not how big it really is. A photo only captures a portion, when in reality it goes on and on in panorama.

On Monday I took one of the convenient shuttle buses out to the Visitor's Center (which is located by Mather Point, if you've been here before and remember enough geography) and then walked along the rim trail to Canyon Village (less than 4 miles, probably.) The rim trail I would recommend for everyone, since it is both flat and paved. There are multiple viewpoints to stop at and take pictures, although really every point along the trail is photogenic.

Because all of the park's employees live on site, the park has a lot of conveniences that other park's don't, including a bank, full-service post office, full-size grocery store, and even a library. There are also shuttle buses, as I mentioned, which will take you to various points around the park for free. This is a system Yellowstone has failed to utilize, but really should! It greatly cuts down on traffic congestion and tourist confusion.

There is also a network of paved bike paths that snake through the woods. I have always thought every city should have "bike roads" which would only allow bikes, to encourage more people to ride without having to battle traffic. At the place where I'm staying, I can rent bikes, and so this morning took a tour through some raven-infested woods. It was like a scene from The Birds, except the birds were huge ravens.

Unfortunately on Monday, while I was enjoying views of the canyon, a man committed suicide by jumping off the edge. I didn't see it happen, thank God, but through a sequence of events I came in close proximity to his body (after it had been retrieved from where he had fallen.) Although I didn't actually see the body, the experience was enough to make me now terrified of going near the edge. I may go out to some additional viewpoints, but I don't think I'll be hiking into the canyon. I've hiked on an earlier visit, so I don't feel like I'm completely missing out. I would rather return home alive!

That all said, if you haven't, go see the Grand Canyon. Seeing it for the first time is breathtaking - you cannot imagine how big it is until you see it.

This weekend: the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! I will not be riding in a balloon however, since that is both (a) expensive and (b) deadly.
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