Easin’ on down the road (cue Diana Ross), next stop – The GRAND Canyon! Also referred to upon our arrival as “The Granddaddy Hole” and “The Hole to End All Holes”. Though our preferred names for this world re-known attraction may not be as widely known I’m certain that they are equally documented terms for this impressive, unique, and potentially dangerous destination. That said, in this “Bennifer” and “Brangelina” world perhaps “G-Can” is better suited now. Call it what you will, the weather greeted us with double dose of beauty and calm, clear skies as we eased into our parking spot to embrace & appreciate our introduction to this natural wonder.
When we first arrived we were appropriately awestruck. Numerous, defined sunbeams provided special lighting appropriate to such a spectacular stage. If ever you wish to feel humbled regarding your individual existence you need only go to the Grand Canyon. One cannot stand before it and not gain new and appreciative understanding of how vast & spectacular our world truly is.
We arrived just an hour or so before sunset. Perfect, actually, as our research had emphasized that this Grand Canyon Goodnight Kiss was a spectacle not to be missed. Mother Nature, however, was ready to test our commitment.
Fast forward about 30 minutes with darkening skies and scattering tourists.
Nope. We’re not going anywhere. You can’t scare us, Mother Nature! Well, maybe a little bit…but we’re still not leaving!
As long as there was some sun to be seen, by God, we were going to see it set! That determination fully in check, we did logically opt to wait in the car as the drizzle converted to rain and the rain converted to a wind-whipped downpour. Fortunately, we’d had the foresight to have ponchos handy for our Wild West adventure so it was just a matter of biding our time until the spectacle deemed worthy of donning our unfashionable but functional rain gear. As we passed the time in the dry confines of our rental car we listened to the local, a.m., information station for the state park. As Mother Nature seemed to be embracing and exhibiting ever escalating PMS (Potentially Massive Storm with accompanying behavior suitable to the more commonly know definition of this acronym) there was little comfort to be had by listening to our radio station of choice. Tales and warnings of Tourist’s Last Stands taken place over the past 24 hours were seriously conveyed, caution & warning emphasized. Particular reports of note included the visitor who chose to disregard the restricted areas, subsequently resuting in a memorable departure from this earth via a long fall into the canyon, and another party who had a tree fall on their tent the night before. FYI – the fact that we were tent camping for the first time on our trip that night and that the wind had picked up to kite shredding levels was not lost on us. (Note to selves: If our assigned tent site is near a giant tree we are sleeping in the car.) Still we listened to the voices and the rain, mixing together into our mental cauldron of concern, dismay, intrigue, and defiance.
Should we leave? YES!
Were we going to leave? NO!
We were at The Granddaddy Hole and our mamas didn’t raise no wimps (though I’m fairly certain that they would not have sanctioned this choice).
Okay, here it is – the time is NOW! Sunset has taken the stage, the headline performer. Suiting up in what is best described as blue, human tents with armholes, we burst open the car doors with determination and headed once again to the unobstructed and thinly railed lookout point, this time in gale force winds and blinding rain, plenty of elbow room now available on the previously crowded lookout as everyone with common sense had left.
So you know when there’s a massive hurricane hitting somewhere and the “low reporter on the totem pole” is standing out in death defying winds & rain (hopefully with hazard pay) to let us know how crappy & dangerous the weather there truly is (serving as a human exclamation point)? Yep – like that. But we saw the sunset, dammit, and it was STUNNING!
Mother Nature may have had PMS but so did we. Our PMS stood for Pre-determined Mission Success. We’ll never forget it….
AND we LIVED TO TELL!