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  • Day19

    Just How Grand is the Grand Canyon?

    September 19, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Driving from Cedar City to the Grand Canyon, you can take a number of different routes, each offering you different vistas. We took Highway 14, the Cedar Canyon road, and then onto Interstate 89. This route should have gotten us to the GC in five hours without stops. With stops however, especially the kind of stops that Chris and I favour, one hour lunch breaks, half hour morning or afternoon breaks, gas breaks (no, not farting breaks, fuel breaks) and photo breaks, where some view demands the car be stopped and a picture taken, that total driving figure starts to head in a northerly direction. It also heads north when somewhere along the drive, you miss a turn and you end up driving right around part of the canyon that you didn't have to, thus making the trip ten hours behind the wheel and seeing us pulling into Tusayan Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel, somewhat frazzled, very tired, stiff and sore and a bit antsy. BTW, neither of us knows where we missed the route as it was originally intended. As for Margot, our trusty GPS direction machine, she was totally useless in letting us know we might do a U turn and go back and get on the right road. Instead, what does Margot do? Calculate from the wrong road and keeps us going. Thanks Margot.

    In conscience, I cannot speak of this drive as a pain just because it took us longer than expected. This drive would have to be one of the great drives of the world. I mean this literally. I am not using hyperbole. The canyon appears and disappears in great escarpments, huge canyons, red cliffs, unbelievable geology, Martian-like views, huge mesas, flat plains ending at the base of vertical cliffs. Westerns were filmed in this area, Kanab. So many times, we just had to stop talking and look. 'Oh my God' was a common theme. Music on the way ranged from Let The Bright Seraphim by Handel sung by Joan Sutherland, the Concerto for Four Harpsichords by Bach, Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony which was played during a forested part of the trip, the Traveling Wilburys, and from Chris, Emmy-Lou Harris, George Harrison's I Got My Mind Set On You, and Sarah Blasko. Great music for the car trip of a lifetime. Seriously, it's got to be in the top three drives around the world.

    The following day, we decided we would take a lay day. We were in need of one, so we lolled about, rested, napped, drank a little, wrote, and just took the day off. I edited my autobiography some more and Chris worked on a fictional 'coming out' piece he's been wrestling with for a week or two. It was necessary.

    Today, we headed into the canyon. I visited the canyon 30 years ago in my late twenties. In my book, I tell the story of my riding a very ornery mule down into the canyon. Today, we dispensed with the mules and just walked the same track, the Rim Trail at Bright Angel Trailhead. The view over Bright Angel is truly spectacular. Words do not do it justice. It opens up before you like a great gash in the earth, a gash of cosmic proportions. People come form all over the world to see this sight. It is as I remembered it: majestic, awe-inspiring, offering the genuine wow factor, massive off the human scale, incredibly beautiful, speech deactivating. You just have to take it in. Even after you've been looking at it and you walk off, you stop again to take it in again. It's that kind of sight. I would recommend to anyone, if they have the means, to try to see the Grand Canyon if they can. Deborah, from Macy's Men's Department in San Francisco told us it was on her bucket list. I hope she gets here one day.

    At the end of our day in the canyon, the clouds came over and a canyon-worthy downpour struck the area. We watched it come in gently at first way out there over the canyon. You could see what looked like gentle wisps of cloud falling from their cloud-parents down into the canyon floor. But this was no cloud. It was rain. It was a wonder to watch and film. Just beautiful. Inevitably, a great thunder-head built up and the heavens let loose. If I may, it fairly pissed down, some of the heaviest rain I have ever seen. And here's the fun part. Chris and I lost our bearings completely and totally lost the car. We trudged around in this torrent for a good half an hour, soaked to the skin, our shoes, bags, goodies, wet with a Grand Canyon storm. it was wonderful. You know, once you're that wet, it really doesn't matter how much it rains, because you can't get any wetter than saturated. We both kept our sense of humour and treated it lke an adventure, a little gift the Canyon was giving us to send us on our wet and somewhat merry way.

    I have put some pics of the journey on the way here and some of the canyon for you to take a peek, but truly, no word, no photo can do this chasm justice.

    So, just how grand IS the Grand Canyon? Well, it is well named indeed. It is truly, unspeakably, hand on heart, fabulously, incredibly, indescribably, GRAND.

    Till next.
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