In all honesty, my trip to the Grand Canyon West Rim was chaotic. My family simply planned to leave in the morning, arrive at lunch, spend our day there, and head home before it got dark. That didn’t work out as planned. With the dreadfully long, utterly boring, cringe-worthy car ride, we suffered in the minivan for approximately three hours before arriving at our destination. The original two hours was eagerly followed by another hour of driving on unpaved road. My family and I found it to be immensely amusing for a couple of minutes, chattering our teeth and cracking lame jokes as we rolled along the rocky gravel, but we quickly learned to despise it within the first few miles of moving at an incredibly slow speed.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Upon our arrival at the visitor center site of the Hualapai Nation, there were some unexpected delays. Normally, cars aren’t allowed onto the site—people were required to take special busses to set foot on the canyon. But because my father has been in a wheelchair his whole life, there was another twenty minute delay before we were given a special pass to drive our car on the canyon itself. In addition, we paid extra to access the actual Skywalk Bridge that we were dying to set our anxious, nervous feet on.
Despite the horrific trip getting there, the view of the Grand Canyon was amazing. Breathing in the Grand Canyon’s beautiful layers of crimson red, I quickly began snapping pictures of my family, of the canyon, of the Colorado River, of the rocks, and even of other people. My first thought was, “Man, I have to send these to my friends now!” Yet there was no signal.
So I took a peek at my parents, who were both admiring the beauty of the openness while holding each other’s hands for warmth. Embarrassed, I turned my head away, my eyes searching for my brothers and my cousin. They were busily trying to look down the side of the canyon. With my apprehension of heights, I steered clear from them and inched my way slyly towards my parents. I wanted to get on the Skywalk Bridge already.
The process of getting onto the bridge was much more difficult than I had imagined. Four thousand feet in the air, on top of a measly five layers of glass, I was shaking with fear. Looking down was difficult. So was looking straight. My pupils searched for safety and security, but found none. My mom was holding onto the rail for her dear life while my father eagerly whizzed through the bridge. Strangers giggled—I don’t know if that was directed toward my mother’s mortification or my dad’s absurdity, but I was still scared of the Grand Canyon’s natural magnificence and its glorious power over me.
The modest beauty of the Grand Canyon was terrifying. The deep burgundy tones were so pure and divine—even the clearest pictures can’t reveal the history of the canyon. The experience was thrilling and the fun we had was immeasurable. The canyon’s breathtaking past and colorful complexity reminded me of that I didn’t need to stay connected to my friends or my phone all the time. To have fun, all I need are my family and an open mind and heart. For me, it is more important to embrace what great things I have around me now and acknowledge the beauty in everything, whether living or not. I suppose, in retrospect, the car ride there wasn’t so bad after all.
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