Grand Canyon

Photo provided by Stony Hooker

Photo provided by Stony Hooker

Stony Hooker, Features Editor

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It has always been my goal, as well as my father’s, to go to every National Park. After spending years hiking in a multitude of environments from the forests of the Rocky Mountains, the cloudy rounded buttes of the Smoky Mountains, and the Big Bend of the Rio Grande, the marshy wetland of the Everglades, the bubbling waters of Hot Springs, the waterfalls of the Shenandoah Valley, and the Puebloan Houses of Mesa Verde, my father and I were finally able to check another Park off of our list in June 2017: The Grand Canyon.

This park was especially important for us because we had lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, less than 75 miles away and still had never been to see its glorious sedimentary walls, but had never made the sojourn to the rim.

Flying into Las Vegas from Tampa, I see the awesome hole but the amazement isn’t present. At flight altitude the Canyon holds the same view as if it were a postcard. The true thrill would be on the ground. As I land and grab my bag, I am greeted by my father who had arrived earlier the same day. We pack our bags into a rented Dodge Durango and drive straight to the most important place anybody should visit if they are in the American Southwest: In-N-Out.

After finishing our delicious reasonably priced burgers, we hit the road towards Sedona, Arizona. We spend our first few days of the vacation exploring Northern Arizona until we decided that we were ready to take the drive to the Canyon.

I’m giddy with excitement; trying to go to sleep I’m reminded of all the pictures and movies I’ve seen and the childlike wonder I have every time I go to a new National Park. Overnight I don’t get much rest but it doesn’t matter as the adrenaline has me wide awake. We take the bus from Tusayan to the rim and after two hours of driving from our hotel the Canyon is finally in sight. We walk from the bus station to the edge and every step reveals an ever deeper and wide hole that beautifully changes from different shades of red, yellow, and orange. My eyes widen and the only word that I can say is “Wow.”

The Grand Canyon is so indescribably breathtaking that the only way to explain it is to be there yourself. You know that it is big, but until you’ve stood at the edge of a mile deep crevasse, it is simply impossible to understand just how big it is.

After taking the Bright Angel Trail into the Canyon I finally agree with the great Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American… should see.’’

It is truly an American treasure and you should take it upon yourself to explore its grandeur at least once in your life.

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