Friday, March 20, 2015

Springtime in the Grand Canyon!

Me in the Grand Canyon 1979
I’m planning a spring break trip with my family, a backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon, descending the New Hance Trail to the Colorado River then climbing back to the South Rim on the Grandview Trail.

This is my first time taking my kids to the Grand Canyon.  I’m looking forward to sharing it with them—and I’m looking forward to remembering what a great experience it was for me when my parents ventured into the canyon with me as a kid.

I remember my first impression of the canyon.  It appeared that a huge chunk of the familiar Earth I knew had been cut away, and the scarred chasm left behind had been covered with veneer from some strange and faraway planet, Mars perhaps, but more likely some unknown word from a galaxy deep in the unexplored cosmos.  In other words, it was an outlandish place that blew my mind!  And as we descending into the canyon, walking into the reddened, stratigraphic pages of prehistory, tripping over stones that may have once been mud pies made by dinosaur babies, I was struck by the juxtaposition of the colossal and the diminutive—the almost indigestible hugeness of the canyon set against the intricate wonders it contained—lizards, pinyon jays, barrel cactus, a thousand million really cool rocks...  Of course when I was seven years old I wouldn’t have explained it to you with the word juxtaposition.  I would have simply shouted, “This is cool!”  And I would have been right.

This spring, I hope those words once again echo off the canyon’s ancient walls.  “This is cool!”  I hope the magnificent chasm blows my kids' minds as thoroughly it once blew mine (I know it’s going to blow mine all over again).

When we return I’ll post pictures and highlights from our trip.  In the meantime, I’m wishing you a spring full of happy trails and muddy feet!  Cheers!

Jason Kapchinske is the author of Coyote Summer.