As we crossed the border of Nevada and Arizona, I saw one clock saying it was 8:32 AM and another just about fifty feet away from it saying it was 9:32 AM. I viewed the Western mountainous terrain through the window of the All Grand Canyon Tours double decker bus and marveled about how different it was from the mountains of the Eastern United States. I come from North Carolina and the scenery of the West did not seem to be in a place only a matter of a five hour plane ride away from home. It did not even seem as part of the same America that I grew up in and knew so well.
An hour later, we stopped at a small shop for a restroom and snack break. I squinted my eyes as I stepped out into the dry heat. My hair didn’t frizz as it normally did back home because there was no humidity to be found in the west – another otherworldly difference. We then had to split our tour group onto two normal buses, because the double decker was not going to be able to handle the rickety ride down to the welcome area of the Grand Canyon. As we bumped down the rocky road, I snapped shots of the dry and stony mountains, so very different from the vegetated mountains of the East.
We then arrived at the large white, tent-like building that housed the gift shop. After going through it to the other side, we were taken to another building where we checked in to the Papillon Helicopter’s office so that we could take a helicopter down to the Colorado River inside the Canyon. Soon after, a shuttle came to take us to the helicopter landing pad area. Fortunately, I got to sit next to the pilot and the views I saw were like none that I had seen before. The serenity and peacefulness of the rocky terrain threw me into the shoes of an alien seeing the earth for the first time. Though I had seen the Grand Canyon in pictures before, the real natural wonder could not compare to mere man-made photographs.
As we made our descent, my heart skipped a beat just as it did when I zoomed through roller coasters. The thrill and adrenaline of an amusement park ride along with the awe of seeing a natural beauty that must have been from another planet complimented each other, stamping a smile on my face. After the fifteen minute helicopter ride, we landed near the bottom of the canyon through which the Colorado River ran. To get to the dock, we had to take several steps down to the center of the Canyon. The beginning half of the way was made up of rocks that conveniently existed so that humans could use them as a natural staircase.
After a few yards of dusty trail, we reached the dock area. While waiting for the next boat to take us through the river, my parents and I continued to thank God for putting such a masterpiece on Earth and giving us working eyes to see it with. Not only was the Canyon shouting out to our natural aesthetic appreciating perspectives, but also the sky, clouds and trees gleamed with beauty, their shadows adding to the magic.