The sun is too radiant for us to stare at directly. But at sunrise and sunset, our eyes can get closer. Yet the beauty of the sun isn’t always in the sun itself, but in that which it reflects off. Our beauty, that rock wall’s beauty is due in part to its innate characteristics, but also how the sun picks up on and makes those characteristics pop. I sit here at sunrise at Yavapai Point and with each passing minute, a new sliver of the canyon is turned on by the rising sun; a curtain being pulled back, a lotto number emerging, a ray landing on a wall; a journey happening millions of miles away yet landing on those precise places, bringing meaning and purpose.
And that Colorado River. I always took the majesty and might of this canyon to be the result of the powerful water. And this is true. But the cliffs themselves play such a role in the formation of canyons, hoodoos, and the fascinating, multicolored, striped walls. Their layers vary in density or the ease with which they can be washed or eroded away. So the denser, firmer rock remains while river and wind erode that which will crumble, often leaving unique formations where a heavy, wide top balances precariously on a thin base. The points of durability and the points of vulnerability interplay. We stand firm, we bend, we break. Are these inflection points? The space for vulnerability and the places we have been weak and worn down create beauty. They intensify the beauty of the places we have been strong.
- We stayed: Trailer Village RV Park (within the national park)
- We explored: Though confined to the south rim due to the season, we found it to be relatively flat and great for biking. So in addition to biking to the various look-out points (Mather Point, Yavapai Point and the Geology Museum), we also rode the free shuttle to Hermit’s Rest, hopping out at a variety of the look-out points along the way. On our way out of the park, we drove Desert View Drive to the Desert View Watchtower. Sunrises and sunsets were particularly sweet times to prioritize being at one of these spots.
- We hiked: Hikes are fairly limited – you can hike down into the canyon via Bright Angel or South Kaibab. We opted for Bright Angel Trail which was a really special experience for our family. Kids left saying they wanted to make it to Indian Garden, if not the entire Rim to Rim Trail. I’m convinced the magic of the look-outs must be balanced with experiences in the canyon, rather a half mile in or beside the Colorado River. Perhaps we will make it to Phantom Ranch one day. We also hiked Shoshone Point Trail which was flat, easy, led to yet another amazing look-out, and was relatively without crowds.
- We intended to read: The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons and perhaps I might have gotten further if I had instead read Beyond the Hundredth Meridian
- Next time: Hike to Indian Garden, backpack to Phantom Ranch, explore more of the North Rim