Day 1: Grand Canyon
My mother needs a new phone. I sent her a picture of the grand canyon to surprise her, she responds with “beautiful. I see”. Turns out she couldn’t really tell what it was on her 1″x1″ screen and didn’t know I was out of Tucson until I got back 3 days later.
I started off the morning with a backpack stuffed to the gills with clothes and victuals, my camera bag slung over my shoulder, and another one that I ended up industrial taping to the bike rack. I think my silhouette in the rising sun was one of a tuberculosed hunchback, chugging along at 6 MPH along the main road. I’m sure I scared some city rats to the grave that morning.
I got turned around a few times before I got onto the Interstate but after that it was pretty boring (but fast) driving along with all the trucks. After 2 hours in, I realized I’m a huge fuel hog. I always think I’m going to run out of gas and I was keeping my tank pretty full, and then burning it all on the freeway. I don’t know if that means I need a hybrid/electric car in order to not destroy the atmosphere in one week-long getaway.
The best $40 I spent on this trip was a phone mount at a rest stop. Let’s just say before that, it was not a good.
I also realized I have no sense of distance when it comes to miles. I’m literally looking every 10 seconds to my phone, expecting to take a turn, but there are still 5 miles left to go in a straight line…and 5 miles is kind of a long distance. I think if I knew that a few days ago, I wouldn’t have looked at a couple hundred miles like, “oh yeah, whatever, I can do that without stopping”.
Tucson was supposed to warm up to high 70’s when I left. It just started dropping as I headed north. Thermometer starts to show 50’s, then all of a sudden, I realize there’s snow on the ground and ice warnings for the road and it’s in the 30’s. I probably won’t miss NY snow, but I forgot how much I liked the bite of the air when it gets frosty. It’s almost like having that first cup of coffee in the morning where all of your senses actually start waking up and you’re more in tune with everything.
In an effort to preserve the nature around the park, there’s a 40-50 mile road leading into the canyon that has nothing around it. I’m so glad I’m going in the winter because it’s only 2 lanes and I can’t imagine the glut of traffic that must occur every summer.
If you want to take the mysticism out of it, the GC really is just a huge hole in the ground. But there’s something about big structures that just fascinates people. And when you look over it, it really knocks you down a few pegs and reminds you of your place in the universe.
There are a few essentials though and I didn’t have any traction devices for my sneakers so I had a wicked hard time coming down the iced paths.