A Canyon So Grand

Enjoying the Golden Hour Photographers of ever skill level from DSLR to smart phone, soaked in the splendor of the South Rim. All those cameras and not a single selfie was taken! Yet as the Golden light faded the dreaded bus loads of tourist arrived.
Like a cloud of locusts consuming all in their sight the masses grew. And with this plague arose self-righteous egocentric behaviors. Adults cutting in line, pushing, throwing trash on the ground, feeding wildlife.DSC_9494-2

To me Nature and our Parks are like a sanctuary or chapel. Those seeking solitude were quickly surrounded by droves of Selfi Stick wielding tourist. Is there a better way to enjoy the majesty of the Grand Canyon than to speed through it with a knock off GoPro on a dollar star Selfi Stick hanging from your window? Who cares about the history, ecology, vast splendor, or awe-inspiring views when you have two followers on snap chat! (YOU’RE A KING AMONG MEN)
DSC_6973The white-noise endless banter sounded as an air horn in the middle of a symphony. I found myself hating these people. These ignorant, selfish, consumers. Like sheep flocking from viewing point to visitor center, leaving waste and refuse in their wake. I don’t use the word hate liberally, but with every rock thrown into the canyon, or piece of trash on the ground by blood boiled. Another moron pushed through the crowded  narrating a low quality You Tube video. Lauren and I joked, “Ken Burns watch out. This year’s best documentary goes to (THAT MOUTH BREATHER WITH A SMART PHONE)”DSC_7144
DSC_7164-2The best part of the Grand Canyon, as the name implies, is it’s Grand. The lazy “tourist” wouldn’t walk more than a mile down the rim trail, thus leaving long stretches between shuttle stops and viewing areas unspoiled. In these quiet spans, I calmed down. Believing National Parks are places for all people to experience the awe inspiring grandeur of nature, I was really struggling to find my happy place!DSC_6870-2
We’re all looking at the world through a key hole. Some however, have a very small pin hole view. Within such a limited perspective, the world exists solely for their entertainment. This doesn’t make them bad, evil, or stupid, just ignorant. Life’s about growing, learning, developing, expanding ones “keyhole”. As such I spent the rest of the day asking myself a series of questions, while gazing into the vast expanses of the Grand Canyon. Questions regarding how we use our parks, resources, and nature.DSC_9310
Does sustainable hunting on Federal Lands anger me? This will probably make some people mad, but legal, hunting doesn’t bother me. I don’t enjoy the ideal of killing an animal, but doing so is the reality of eating meat! There’s not a corndog plant, although I’ve often tried to convince people cattails are natural, all organic, corndogs!DSC_6883-2
Does logging National Forestry bother me? Not if it’s down wisely, replanted, and sustainable. Most structures are built with lumbar. Paper is a major part of our daily life. Do I hate seeing trees cut down, of course, but I also used lumbar to plank out our campervan.  If you want to cold turkey toilet paper be my guest!DSC_1144
Do I love the ideal of oil fields on public lands? Not really, but I also use gas, own a plastic kayak, and I’m currently using a plastic laptop. You can’t say the oil industry should be shutdown unless your riding a bike everywhere and lubing the chain with organic hand pressed sunflower oil. DSC_6941-2

Do I love man made reservoirs and damns? Of course not, and may I add some of them are very impractical. However, if you have a house connected to grid power your more than likely using power created by hydroelectric. Not to mention flood control.

I understand that speaking openly will probably cost me followers, I can only quote Clark Gable from (Gone With The Wind) “frankly my dear I don’t give a dam”. Because,  this experience of  living out of a van, has widened my “keyhole”.  Clicks, follows, shares, or emoji comments aren’t what’s important . Telling the truth is.DSC_7136
The truth is Lauren and I started out collecting fridge magnets and taking selfies with a point and shoot camera. We still collect fridge magnets, and sometimes still take selfies just with way more expensive cameras. We once looked at nature through a pin hole. It was time in the wild, life experiences, and adventure that gradually widened our perspective. The final lesson I walked away with is, were all learning. Progress is progressive. Just try to be a little better tomorrow than you are today. Use less, try not to waste, say a kind word, feed a hungry person, be patient in line, and enjoy everyday…

Collection of a few favorites. Click on any tiled image to see full size!

18 thoughts on “A Canyon So Grand

  • I fully agree with this post. The Grand Canyon is one of those places where you have to find YOUR reason and shut out all the stupid people that you see. The idea that “they aren’t really seeing or appreciating the park” isn’t true. They are just seeing it differently than you. All that truly matters is that everyone does in fact appreciate the nature around us and is willing to be responsible about it.

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  • I can totally relate. I’m currently in Rocky Mountain National Park. A stunning place but ruined by tourists. But if you’re willing to get up early you can beat the crowds and see nature at its finest.

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  • Great photos of an icon so difficult to capture and you have expressed your sentiments with fairness and balance. You have not lost me as a follower. I love seeing our national treasures but this year has been especially challenging dealing with crowds, rude people, noise, and finding RV space. I think we’ll leave the more popular sights for spring and fall in the future.

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  • Absolutely, totally with you on this. The nature on our planet never ceases to amaze me, whether it’s standing in disbelief at the Grand Canyon, similarly standing on top of a mountain or just appreciating a tree, flower or the wonders of the animal world. What really annoys, embarrasses or even frightens me is the human race in general. If people could just stand back, breathe and ‘respect’ more then…well, I could go on… Good post & photographs as always.

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  • I like the post – the attitude of “the masses” is something I struggle with. On the one hand, the disrespect that many show, treating a fantastic place as if it existed for their amusement and nothing more, is extremely frustrating (infuriating). The intrusions can be hard to deal with – but of course that’s why we get away from the trailheads and parking lots. I can certainly be accused of being one of those selfie-types – I have a GoPro strapped to a trekking pole and use it a lot: the pole makes a great counterweight for stable pans across a landscape, I can reach with it and shot things I can’t get to with a handheld, and sometimes narration helps me relive the experience later (most of my backpacking/hiking is solo). I like to think I’m being unobtrusive, but to some degree we’re all there with cameras.

    On the other hand, these people are at least THERE, as opposed to sitting at home looking at the pictures we take. I like to believe that among the people who make the effort, there’s some good in there somewhere – the kids, particularly, that get dragged unwittingly by parents doing the “tourist thing”, there’s hope that the wilderness will light a spark, and since they’ve taken the first step, they’ll now take another and learn how to be a part of the wild and not just a spectator… so yeah, I’m torn. I want to see as many people get out there as possible, and learn to reconnect and appreciate, while at the same time I want to be selective about who gets the invite.

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