You’ve seen photos of it. The Grand Canyon, a steep-sided canyon that formed about five to six million years ago, as erosion from the Colorado River cut a deep channel through layers of rock.
As someone who likes to lose himself on the less-traveled paths, I had almost lost interest for the Grand Canyon before even getting there. I was worried it would be too accessible and full of tourists.
And I had good reason to worry. The Grand Canyon is a place you can admire from your car. A zero-effort-full-reward experience. Over the years, I’ve visited a number of such places and found them ruined by photographers and influencers — Lago di Braie in the Dolomites, the Crete Senesi in Tuscany, Yuanyang’s rice terraces in Yunnan. Each left me wishing you didn’t have to just drive to those places to admire them.
Yet, the title of this post is “Grandiose” because somehow, the Grand Canyon remains a magical place, where tourists are just a little bit of noise in the middle of something magnificent.
The next day, we set off early and hiked the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails. My Strava friends said it didn’t look real… though it was! The hike down and back up was long but non-technical, and the surroundings made for an Indiana Jones-type exploration.
From a photography standpoint, the Grand Canyon is tricky. Depending on the season, the orientation and the width of the canyon, you might quickly either get too much or not enough light. I faced a similar problem a few days later while in The Narrows in Zion.
Back at the top, we headed back to our car and drove past pinewoods.
As we still had time, we returned to our initial spot for another sunset. Worth being a tourist?
Until next time! 👋