Friday, August 2, 2013

Feeling Mighty Tiny

I have decided that if I ever get to feeling too big for my britches, I should just go stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  It is impossible to explain to someone who has never seen it, just how big it is.  Carved out by a mighty river thousands of years ago it is a wonder to behold.  I first experienced it as a 12 year old girl.  I don't think at that age I truly appreciated it but I do know that I never forgot it.  Quiet simply, it is unforgettable.

Last week Gary and I had the pleasure of taking Lauren, Lindsay and Emily to see it.  Gary had never seen it either so it was an exciting experience for him as well.  We drove from the 100 plus degree heat of the airport in Phoenix up to Flagstaff, Arizona to spend the night.  It was pleasantly cooler there among the pines and the thunderstorms were refreshing.  The lobby of the hotel the next morning was full of bikers and hikers.  Everyone was dressed up in their trekking gear and ready to explore the beauty of this unique area.  We set out for the South Rim of the canyon in our Crown Victoria
 rent a car that we dubbed the "family truckster" in honor of the movie "Vacation".  

Emily, Donna, Lauren, Lindsay, Gary at the Grand Canyon

We decided as we neared the canyon that we would go all out and take a helicopter ride so that we could really experience the vastness of it all.  After reserving a spot we drove on up to the canyon first, and in true "Chevy Chase" style and staying true to the movie, we walked down to the edge, shot a few pictures, stared in awe and then headed back to the car, uh I mean truckster.  Unfortunately we had been greeted by some menacing bugs. Around here we call them noseeums.  (no-see-um)  If you have never experienced the unpleasant sting of hundreds of invisible bugs all over your body, you can't fully appreciate our desire to hurry and escape the little devils.  We piled back into the car and hurried off to catch our chopper.

The helicopter ride was incredible.  The girls had never been up in one before and Lauren was a bit apprehensive before we took off.  I think she was mostly worried about crashing 3 weeks before her wedding day.  Thankfully her worries were unfounded and she will still be able to wear that beautiful white wedding dress.  As we boarded and put on our earphones, we were greeted by the voice of Frank Sinatra singing "Come Fly with Me".  It took about 5 minutes to get to the edge of the canyon and the rush as we burst over the edge and the earth seemed to fall away was thrilling.   Emily road shotgun to the pilot while the rest of us were in the back.  Through the headsets we were given a narration about the Grand Canyon and some if its history.   As we flew over some brave river rafters that looked like yellow ants on a chocolate ribbon I couldn't help but wonder what it must have been like to live there as an indian.  It's a rugged terrain and life must have been very hard for them. The flight was too short but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  If you every get the chance to experience the Grand Canyon from a helicopter, I highly recommend it.

As you can see from the pictures below, in the GRAND scheme of things we are very small.  The canyon was a good reminder to me of that fact but I don't really have to go all the way to the Grand Canyon to feel tiny.  I can simply step outside any night and gaze up into the big ole West Texas sky and marvel at how REALLY tiny I am in the universe.  Big or small, God made it all.  What a joy it is to be even a small part of it.

Hard to imaging that this goes on for nearly 300 miles.  It was a bit hazy this morning. 
From the top of the rim the river looks even smaller.  We were down in the canyon a little ways and I was using a zoom lens which makes this photo a bit deceptive.  It is over a mile deep and 277 miles long.  On average it is 10 miles across and 18 miles across at its widest point.

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the only one of the seven that I have seen personally.  How many have you seen, what were they and would you recommend seeing them?