The outdoors is not all hunting and fishing. It spans exploring, bird watching, mountain biking, and hiking amongst other activities. We have so many great places to see and experience nearby and yet we miss the occasions and opportunities.
Sometimes we miss them due to pure ignorance. Not in the sense that we are too dumb to know, but in the vein of just not knowing such great paces exist. We also do not experience them for the lack of desire, not knowing truly how special they are, or just not making time. All of these reasons are a shame for bettering our lives and life experiences.
Occasionally we have to go to that one special place in order to make us want to see more, closer to home. When money is involved in things such as room, board, and travel, we worry whether something will live up to the hype. We ask ourselves, “is it really that thrilling?”
Unfortunately, there are many places that do not live up to the hype. While the Statue of Liberty is great historically, actually visiting it can leave one with a feeling of disappointment. It is presented as larger than life, yet doesn’t give the sense of awe we were expecting.
There are a few places that do not only meet those expectations, but exceed them. Niagara Falls is an example. Pictures and video do not do it justice. Even our own Linville Gorge can take your breath away. Perhaps it is due more for the under appreciation or even lack of knowledge of such a spectacular creation. I never have been there without losing myself in the beauty and wander of the place.
At the time of writing this column, I am on my way to a job in Nevada. I had turned down one of the clients in the past for work due to the distance. This time, the work made the trip worth tackling. It also afforded me a couple of days’ pause which I excitedly knew exactly what I would do with them.
One of my bucket list items, and hopefully everyone’s, is to visit the Grand Canyon. I feverishly started researching what and where to go.
The North Rim of the canyon was still closed for the winter (it opens May 15th each year), so the South Rim would be my only choice. Two campgrounds are located on the main road along the South Rim, of which I planned on staying at the more primitive of the two that offered only a restroom facility and rationed cold running water.
I have been to Arizona before, in the high desert even. It was one of my more thrilling adventures as I hunted mountain lion by horseback. Even with the absence of a vast canyon created by millions of years of river erosion, the landscape is breathtaking.
As I made my approach to seeing the canyon for the first time, I cried. Yes, a grown man cried at the sight.
It is hard to put into words how big the canyon is. Simple words such as the adjective I just used do not paint the picture correctly, and even more descriptive words such as vast have no effect on what I saw. Perhaps surreal can be used.
Looking down, looking across, looking around; I tried to gather it all in. I guess it can be further explained that the canyon is similar to the universe. There is just no way our minds can capture all of what is there, and that makes it incomparable to anything we try to relate it to.
One saying is ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’, and the Grand Canyon is the exact opposite. It takes a special talent in order to find the trees for the forest because of its enormity and encompassing peripheral.