Sunday, October 9, 2022

One dozen destinations #12: The Grand Canyon

     Well, that's it. Thank you for indulging me over the past two weeks. Or, if you didn't indulge me, thanks for circling back. I've enjoyed revisiting these places and like to imagine that, maybe, you did too.
      Hey, it's possible. Either way, I'll be in the paper with fresh material Monday.
      One thing that struck me plucking destinations out of "The Quest for Pie" is the short shrift I sometimes give places that deserve better. The Grand Canyon for instance. That's the trouble when you're focused on your interior life and your relationships. You can skip past far more significant phenomena. Then again, as I tell writers, or used to tell writers back when anybody asked, is that Rule #1 is you have to be who you are. And, obviously, John McPhee I am not. Here is my complete treatment of the Grand Canyon in the book.

     The Grand Canyon? Having Edie aboard made it easier for us to split up. Kent could barely be coaxed to get close enough to the Grand Canyon to gaze into it. Ross appeared as if he wanted to leap into the abyss. So Edie and Kent lingered over their breakfast, while Ross and I marched dutifully along the rim. We took pictures of each other. Ross would stand at the very edge, where one more step backward and he would tumble off a cliff and die. I opened my mouth to alert him, but didn’t want to scare him. That’s where he was standing. My fingers tingled just to look at him. 
     I would stare across the vastness and think, “The Grand Canyon. I am looking at the Grand Canyon.” 
     Words fail me; it would be laughable to even try. “The Grand Canyon is very … ah … grand.” Go see it yourself. I was 49 years old, and never considered going, and might never have gone except for the accident of this trip. Stupid of me. But you know better, now. Go see it.


  1. My wife and I got an impressive view of the Grand Canyon from several miles up, while flying to California in '96. It was quite unexpected and surprising to me. I had always thought that the airlines no longer did that, mainly because there is now so much traffic. Apparently, they still do.

    In the 1950s, before jet travel, and radar, the airlines permitted their pilots to execute off-course maneuvers that were solely intended to improve the passengers' view of the canyon. All that changed in 1956, after two eastbound planes detoured around opposite sides of a thunderstorm and collided, with grisly results. Most of the wreckage remained in remote areas of the canyon for years. Pieces of the aircraft are still at the crash sites.

    When my wife and I had our aerial sharing of the Grand Canyon experience, we were also 49 years old. My wife had already visited the Canyon twice, but I had never done so. And now another 26 years have flown by (sorry), and I still haven't gone, and the clock is ticking. Time to haul ass, before it's too late.

  2. I enjoyed your reposting of your trip. We did two similar ones, southwest 2018, northwest 2019. We saw quite a few national parks, but seeing the Grand Canyon, WOW, saw it from the south rim. Nothing compares. There really are no words. Something I wish everyone can see.


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