Sunday, November 29, 2009
The Grand Canyon In Winter
Henry Shukman has written about hiking into the Grand Canyon in the NY Times. The article, found here, makes me want to Go There Now.
Most of us never get to experience such an adventure, and it's a shame, because it's more than wonderful hike; it's literally a trip in the earth's bowels. Shukman reminds us of this with strong prose:
"To experience the canyon, you have to leave the rim. The frustration aroused by the bigness, the grandness, on a rim-only visit becomes a liberation once you drop down. The modern world falls away. It’s not just a trip out of the human realm, but into the deep geology of the earth. Layer upon layer of the planet’s crust is revealed, stratum by stratum: the Toroweap limestone, the Coconino sandstone, the Redwall limestone, the Tonto Group; the Vishnu schist deep down, close to two billion years old, nearly half the total age of the planet — the stuff that is under our very feet as we go about our lives is laid bare here. And in the silence and stillness, in the solitude of the canyon in winter, it’s all the more impressive."
Winter is a good time to visit; the temperatures are obviously much milder than the average highs in July and August (when most people make the trip).
It's around 25 miles to hike from the South Rim to the North Rim. Lots of crazy people do it one day. That sounds like an accomplishment, but I'd rather take my time, to savor all that stratum.