The Canyon

Leaving the ranger center, you enter a winding path that engulfs you in large ponderosa pines and lush green undergrowth. The forest quickly engrosses you with the aromas of the pines, the crackling of twigs and pine needles underfoot and the sounds of tiny creatures scurrying through the underbrush off the trail. An occasional mule deer raises its head and stares at you inquisitively as you pass, quickly making you forget those last vestiges of civilization as you trod the half mile through this high altitude forest toward the canyon.
The half mile hike is pleasant and not at all strenuous. Walking slowly, absorbing the sights and sounds around you, it is easy to let your imagination drift back in time, perhaps a thousand years, when native people such as the Havasupai, inhabited the area. The land was sacred to the native indigenous people. The people were of the land. The land gave to the people what they needed and they in turn cared for the land.
The trail winds on through the trees and you become oblivious to all but nature surrounding you. Nature is subdued here in the forest. The quietude calms you as each of your steps brings you closer to your destination. Abruptly, the forest ends and you emerge on a sweeping vista so grand that it immediately overwhelms your senses and emotions.
The canyon’s south rim, within feet of you as you leave the forest, precipitously drops as much as a mile to the canyon floor. There, the Colorado River, winds its way through the gorge it carved out over millions of years for approximately 277 miles and is the lifeblood of the canyon. Your gaze across the chasm can take in as much as 18 miles distance to the north rim. The canyon walls are a testament to the living history of the earth. Each layer of coloring in the walls describes an era of time during the earth’s evolution to modern times.
Standing on the edge of the canyon rim, the great Colorado River appears to be just a small stream so far below. The vastness is so overwhelming that it is with great difficulty to be able to describe the immense grandeur of the Grand Canyon. As you peer down into this great chasm carved out over the millennia, you must realize you are also peering back in time. The earth has shaped and reshaped itself over these millions of years as the canyon is a living testament to. What imaginable creatures once roamed a flat plain here when the river was just a trickle? What ancient people lived along the river and the canyon? We as modern humans have been granted the privilege to enjoy this natural wonder and to be the modern stewards and caretakers.

About Lonny Welch

Lonny is a US Army Vietnam Era Veteran Linguist with multi-Lingual skills in Arabic, French and German. His civilian experience includes both Manufacturing Engineering and IT careers. He has travelled extensively throughout the world, living in Europe and the Mediterranean. ...
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