She’s a grand old canyon
Clark W. Griswold and I have more in common than our names.I recently saw the Grand Canyon for the first time and was, of course, spellbound. The beauty and grandeur of such a sacred place reminded me of how small a piece I am in this giant puzzle called the universe.All sappy self-reflection aside, I also got a kick out of some of the tourists who descended upon the national park like ants on a wedge of juicy watermelon.It was nice to see people from different states and countries taking in the view. I noticed that people definitely like to represent their home when they travel.I left my Indiana garb at home so no one knew where I originated.People never know what a Boilermaker is anyway and it’s more than just a whisky-beer drink, I promise. But I had no problem figuring out where certain tourists lived. There were quite a few Italians visiting the Grand Canyon, and I knew that even before I heard them speak. They definitely have the best fashion sense.
And great tans, too.Considering there’s a bit of a hike if you want to see more of the Canyon’s South Rim than just the view from the paved path, I wore Chaco sandals and shorts. But several of the visitors chose a more formal approach to Grand Canyon viewing.We walked past several gentlemen, who looked to be of Japanese origin, who must have taken a wrong turn.Wearing shiny loafers, belted black dress pants and pressed collared shirts, they should have been playing blackjack in Vegas instead of traversing down the Bright Angel Trail, aka the Super Highway.Traction is key when there are 400-foot drop-offs along a hiking trail.Plus the random mule droppings can’t be good for designer shoes.The sun can definitely shoot down some hot rays in Arizona in the summertime, but I didn’t really feel compelled to wear a bikini on my first trek to the Grand Canyon. Luckily for the men who passed them, two 20-something Eastern European women took care of that for me. As a corn-fed, uberfan of the Red White and Blue, I really appreciated the fact that that one was wearing an American flag string bikini top with Daisy Duke-esque short-shorts.America is the home of the brave, after all.There was also quite a bit of excitement generated by a small deer who was having lunch just off the ever-so-beaten path. The first time we walked by a couple obviously not privy to deer sightings in the wild who sighted it, they made sure to shoosh us.
“Shhh,” said a blond-haired woman who had just come down from having her photo taken while posed in a tree. “There’s a deer over there.”If it would’ve been a jackalope, I might have been intrigued.But being from Indiana and living in Colorado, deer spotting isn’t much of a challenge.Later, on the return trip, Bambi was causing a similar stir.A family was taking plenty of pictures, marveling in the wonder that is nature. But the dad wasn’t digging in. He was on down the path, wondering what all the hubbub was about.”There’s a deer over there,” he said.We said, “Yeah, it was there earlier.” He didn’t think we were talking about the same day.”Ahh, come on,” he said to his wife and children.
“That deer’s a fake. … It was in the same place yesterday.”Imagine if that really happened.What if the National Park Service people placed pseudo wild animals around the Grand Canyon so people really could get the feel of the Great Outdoors?Sort of like Disney World, without the Tea Cups or Space Mountain.All in all, my first trip to the Grand Canyon was spectacular. I can now mark that one off my list of places to see before I die. I wonder how many other of the 5 million tourists annually have that same motivation.But I can only differentiate myself from the masses by aspiring to return to the Grand Canyon to hike a bit harder and maybe even camp in one of the most beautiful places in the universe. Maybe I’ll bring along an American flag bikini just for fun.April E. Clark aspires to take a river trip through the Grand Canyon someday. She can be reached at email@example.com and 945-8515, ext. 16601.
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