Tuesday 21 May 2019
Arizona - The Grand Canyon
There is probably little that hasn't been said about the Grand Canyon in the way of superlatives. It is mind-blowing in its scale and grandeur, neither words nor photographs can do it justice. You have to be there, to be standing on its edge, to fully appreciate the immensity and the timelessness. You are a brief dot. It, a chasm millenia old.
Henry and I headed to its southern rim from Monument Valley after lunch on our penultimate day in America. It was a fairly long drive through scenery less spectacular than what had come before, but soon enough the landscape changed and a small gorge became visible on our right - the Little Colorado river. For us english folk this was pretty grand, little did we know. The road leaves the rim here and does not rejoin it until the scale has changed dramatically. Oh my.
We spent the afternoon moving from viewpoint to viewpoint, no two vistas the same but all equally impressive. I can thoroughly recommend it, but if you go in February make sure to dress up warm, this was the coldest we had been - at dawn the following day the mercury was down at minus 22c. I've only ever experienced colder in Estonia, by one degree - the sea froze there if that is any indication. Many cups of coffee were required to recover.
But despite nearly losing all my digits I could not have wished for anything different. For starters we saw the sun for the first time all trip. Not a classic sunrise by any stretch, but a warm glow of the sort that had been entirely absent up until then. I can't begin to describe the scale. Everything is big in America, but this is different. Standing on the windswept edge looking alternately across and down you are reminded quite how ancient the land is. The Colorado river carved this landscape millimetres at a time, century after century, age after age. We are privileged to see it in its current state.