Friday, December 6, 2013

The View From the Bottom

When one goes to the Grand Canyon in the traditional sense, i.e. traveling along the south rim, they are treated to wide open views of the canyon and glimpses of the river. When you float down the river, for the most part you see sheer rock walls on either side of you that allow you to only see a few hundred yards and that is it. It seemed like much of our days were spent shivering in the shadows of the walls much of the morning followed by a few hours of direct sunlight to warm you up and then cook you well done followed by a couple hours in the afternoon where you could cool down once again in the shadows.

Because I took the extended version of the trip, we spent lots of time hiking up and away from the river to see great views. Occasionally like in the above picture, the canyon would open up a bit and allow some great views while floating on the river. I'm guessing this is one of those I took shivering in the morning shadows looking back at the sun slowly rising up to meet us.

Unlike what people might think, there are large portions of the river like what you see above where it is flat and calm. We drifted a lot, rowed some more to stay warm in the mornings or against headwinds funneling up the canyon, but mostly just floated letting the current carry us along. Depending on your boat mates for the day, you might spend a portion having pleasant conversations of this or that. Other times you just drifted along in silence letting the world unfold before you and disappear behind you. I carried my journal with me in a waterproof ammo box and would sometimes jot my thoughts down or draw a quick sketch of the canyon as I saw it. After about the first week, I became so attuned to life in the canyon that even views like this one wouldn't even remind me that there was life beyond 'my' canyon.


sage said...

Great photo... One day I'd love to do a river trip and just float on down.

Bone said...

Other times you just drifted along in silence letting the world unfold before you and disappear behind you.

I really liked how you put that. And that's an awesome picture.

Ed said...

Sage - I highly recommend it. Here it is nearly 14 years later and I still think about that trip nearly every day.

Bone - I should make that my motto in life!

warren said...

I so much want to see the Grand Canyon with the kids. There are so many places around the country but this one seems like the place to start. I'd like to see it top to bottom really!