The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic landscapes in North America. No road trip through the mid-west would be complete without stopping to take in Arizona’s banded cliffs, painted canyons and red deserts. And although many flock here, few test themselves against the narrow switchback trails into the deepest parts of the canyon. I suppose that for the time-strapped tourist there’s no real need. The views from the lookout points along the rim offer spectacular panoramic views. There are opportunities to stop, park, and snap pictures for miles along the South Rim. Free shuttle buses even relieve the work of driving. It’s a hop-on, hop-off, drive-through adventure. Accessibility is something that the American National Parks do very well.
However, if you are willing and able, I strongly urge you to throw on your hiking boots and get onto one of the trails. It’s a completely different experience when you hear the quiet sounds of the canyon around you. When the crowds fade away in the distance and it feels like you have the place to yourself. When you travel further and further towards the Colorado River taking in the vastness and power of it. It’s then that you begin to feel a part of it- connected to it in some way.
Just slow down, breath it in and watch the condors float on the warm breeze in undisturbed solitude. It’s true that I often feel more lonely in a crowd of strangers that I do on my own in on a trail. Certain amounts of solitude in nature are wholesome. If you give it a try, I think you will find that there is better company on the path less traveled.