The Grand Canyon Is Both Humbling And Inspiring

(Grand Canyon at South Rim – larger image)

The Grand Canyon is one of the Earth’s most powerful, inspiring landscapes and overwhelms our senses when standing there at the rim.

While a picture of the Grand Canyon might itself appear remarkable (I snapped the image above during yesterday’s visit), when you physically stand there looking out across miles and miles of layered colored rock and jutting pinnacles in various stages of massive erosion – with the Colorado River doing its thing down at the bottom, the initial reaction can be overwhelming to the senses. Especially the first time (which it was for Mrs.J).

The sheer magnitude of what you’re looking at, almost “does not compute”. It’s an interesting phenomenon actually, and one can draw parallels to other BIG and unusual experiences that one might suddenly encounter in life.


The Grand Canyon is actually 277 miles long. It is up to 18 miles across, and a mile deep!

It is humbling in how it reminds us how extremely small we are.
It is inspiring in how its grandeur touches the soul.

So how does this relate to preparedness?

One thing that I took away from the experience was this…

Despite all of our problems as humans on this planet, long after we’re all gone the Grand Canyon will still be there. We are just specks on the geological timeline of earth.

Take the time to look beyond our human problems and appreciate all that is around us in nature. If you’re a city dweller, get out once in a while. If you’re a suburbanite, take a weekend road-trip somewhere and get off the concrete. If you’re a rural dweller, go out for a change of scenery – travel over that next mountain and have a look…

Even if we humans manage to extinct ourselves, the sun will still rise in the morning, whether we’re here or whether we are not.

Perspective. Be prepared, but take the time to smell the roses too.


  1. The Grand Canyon is truly a magnificent gift…
    The views from the North Rim are fantastic. As a photo-bug, I took many wonderful photos but none do the Canyon justice.

    One year, we took a “canyon trip” and went via Texas into Palo Duro, then headed west to Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon. It was our favorite cross-country trip.

    Ken, I hope that you get to Bryce Canyon during your travels. You will drop to your knees…

    1. Even as a kid, I never bought the theory of millions of years of erosion. Features are too sharp.

    1. When Gene and I visited the Canyon, we knew nothing about the helicopter or donkey tour. What a waste as we discovered these when we returned home.
      My pictures I took there are as good as any magazine–those little ‘stop and grab’ cameras’ quality surprised me.
      With my bladder problem at the time, I couldn’t have take the donkey tour, but helicopter ride another matter.
      Well worth the trip to see this nature wonder if opportunity arises.

  2. Ken,
    The National Parks Passport would be fun for you to get and collect cancellation stamps at the visitor centers. I got mine in 2005 while visiting Acadia NP. I don’t do the “postage stamps” that are sold to go into the passport. Instead I use that space for the cancellations. It is nice to go back and see the cancellations and remember the parks we’ve been to and what we experienced there.

    Here is a link to the passport, I got the first one shown, it measures 6″ X 3″. I see it is now available as an app. Some things aren’t sacred anymore!

  3. I Hiked to the bottom as a young boy in the 60’s and spent the night. I was also taken with its beauty and saw my first scorpion that night, wow. It also was one of the times that showed me I need to be prepared for what I was doing. On the way down to the bottom I met a fellow hiking up that was about to pass out from the heat and direct sun, he also had “no water” I shared some of my water with him and moved on. I thought to myself this fellow was depending on the parks system to supply him with drinking water and took no responsibility for himself. I’ve been back many times and it still empresses me.

  4. Ken,

    How far west are you coming? We could drink beer and post stuff to NRP about how much fun you are having in California… Also, I’d like the ‘Pope of Prep’ to bless my shed.

    1. @ McGyver

      I believe Ken is heading to “Hotel California” HAHAHA more Eagles ya know :-)


  5. I was born in IL and headed out west, all the way to Alaska, at 19 and never looked back. I have been to the canyon several times but my favorite is still Bryce, although I still love the site of half done in Yosemite. I remember when they did the fire fall every night off glacier point. But Bryce is spectacular and I always stay in Red Canyon Campground amid the spires. Zion is also majestic as you are surrounded by those beautiful mountains. May I also suggest Capital Reef. You can drive regular vehicles on the dirt roads and the canyons are so narrow, if you have a sun roof you can see the tops of the mountains. A hidden surprise in that area is Kolob Canyon off the freeway near Cedar City. I think that is what heaven looks like.

  6. Like old lady, I left “back-east” Ohio, at the crazy old age of 17, did a 10 years stay in San Diego when Calif was still a very wonderful place, than found Heaven here in the Four Corners area. The Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Grand Tetons, Mesa Verde and many many more all within a stone’s throw, and are visited quite often.

    My friends there is nada more wonderful that spending a few days in a canoe sitting on Yellowstone or floating the Green River into the Colorado heading for the Canyon. Or maybe a 5 day 4-wheeling trip in the Rocky and San Juan mountains, just don’t try to take that F-350 over Black-Bear-Pass Ken…. LOLOL it WON’T fit; guaranteed. Even better; waking up on a crisp morning with a new layer of snow on the ground in Arches National Park and setting the old tea kettle on an open campfire.

    “I remember when they did the fire fall every night off glacier point.” I don’t believe they do that anymore do they? Was truly a spectacular sight for sure….

    Ahhhhhh man, time to start planning this coming first trip of the season…. And I have to agree with Ken, Those Roses smell mighty good these days.


    1. they don’t do the firefall anymore because it wasn’t natural. Right.
      One of the best canoe trips I had was going to Talketna, AK then backtacking 4 miles to a side road then you took that to the river. I think it was the Yenta. Anyway it was 11pm,the sun was up and a new hatch on the river, but we took off fishing for salmon never knowing what was around the next bend. Sometimes we would see a bear footprint filling up with water, but just in case I had the sawed off shotgun in the bow. We camped on the shore and ate salmon everyday and caught enough for months.
      The other time was on String Lake in the Tetons,sitting in front of Mt Moran drinking a glass of wine, doesn’t get any better then that!

    2. I grew up going to Yosemite, I remember the fire fall very well. Sequoia redwoods, Zion, Bryce, Lake Powell… all amazing childhood memories for me. Mirror Lake was truly a mirror then, and there were far fewer people. One summer we (including extended family) blew up rafts and floated a bit down the Merced, not sure we could get away with that now, but it was great fun 40 years ago… the water was really cold, but what an adventure it was!

  7. When I saw the Grand Canyon, I was awestruck. I walked half way down and hiked back when my water jug was half empty. I then realized how important water was, and some did not heed the water warning signs and I ended up sharing my water as well to a few who were coming back up the trail.

    What it reminded me of was the dawn of the prehistoric age. When the sun set, hundreds of people sitting around the rim to watch it sang, “America the Beautiful”. Very touching to have been blessed with such a monument well preserved.

    It was reported on the news this morning a woman was driving to Havasupai falls near the Grand Canyon and got lost in the dessert for 5 days and was rescued. She prepared herself with food and water and left notes along the way where she left her car and direction she went walking. The rescue found her just about out of water.

    She said her GPS gave the wrong coordinates to a road that went nowhere and she ran out of gas. Something to think about depending on technology and I see why. I have told the UFSF their maps in my area were wrong on some roads and trails 7 years ago and could not navigate with their map. They won’t correct them, so I wonder if GPS uses their incorrect maps for trails and roads.

    1. Stardust
      In reference to the maps, they probable due use the GPS systems. We have a Garmin but I still carry and prefer to use the old fashion USA map system. Along with the state maps from visitors centers more detailed information.

  8. Thing i would love to see but most likely never will,,, oh well, get to see them through other peoples eyes and pictures

      1. Yup,,,,
        Thats most likely why i will never go anywhere,,, when i get a moment to do my own thing i just love going out in the fields and poking around or fool around in my shop, or just sit and do nothing at all,
        Going to drain our pond and clean it out n put fresh water in it for the summer, have a 95,000 gallon pond we run a pool pump in, keep it chlorinated and filtered, sure is nice to sit invthe gazebo down by it or on a lounge chair and soak up some sun then take a swim, is just long enough to get decent laps in, so ya, not grumbling,,,,

  9. @ Ken

    Despite all of our problems as humans on this planet, long after we’re all gone the Grand Canyon will still be there. We are just specks on the geological timeline of earth.

    Very true statement. We as humans assume we will always be here but mother nature may decide different. Dinosaurs were here for what, 20 million years or so? We have been on this earth for a blink compared to that. We could just be an experiment from nature that didn’t work. Look at alligators and sharks,they have made it 30 million years. I figure when we get there its time to brag

    1. The dinosaur age lasted about 160 million years as a dominant species group.

      Modern Humans came on the scene about 200,000 years ago, civilization as a whole began 6,000 years ago, and the industrial age a little over 200 years ago. You are right, we have a long way to go to brag if we don’t annihilate ourselves first, but if we do, those cockroaches and alligators will probably inherit the earth…, again.

  10. Just imagine in your mind the magnitude of the floods that created that canyon over the eons,

    1. Hubby and I were at the Canyon in 2010. I thought then that if you could drain the Pacific Ocean the Mariana Trench would look something like the Canyon.

      There are no words to describe the beauty of the Grand Canyon or The Arches or Bryce Canyon or Petrified Forest or Meteor Crater. Amazing places. Loved every minute I was there.

      Planning our trip to Yellowstone for this year.

  11. This is on my bucket list. Believe it or not….I haven’t been out of Texas too much.(shocker) First time I went out of Texas was when I was in my 30s on a mission trip to South America! hahaha. I finally did go to Colorado. Nice place, to visit. New Mexico was pretty to drive through. So we are planning, maybe going on a roadtrip in a few years depending on how things are going. There are a few things in this great country I would love to see. The Grand Canyon is def top of the list.

  12. Ken
    Ops, wrong town according to dh.

    Sorry, YOU need to stop in *Holbrook AZ*, the gallery is off the road going to the petrified forest & painted desert. It is to the east of Holbrook, and the gallery is on the south side of the freeway(IF)it is still there.

    Should the opportunity arise take a look at Gary Lee’s(aka Blue Horse)sand painting. If you see something you like, but not the price, make an offer to see if it will be accepted by the artist. That is how we picked up a painting.

  13. Havasupai Falls would be a very worthwhile stop if you have the time. It is a long hike in but horses or donkeys can be rented to get in.
    I have spent many years elk hunting Arizona unit 10, (Williams Az. To the canyon), the Hualapai Indian reservation, and the Boceus Ranch. All on the south side of the canyon. Some of the best sites are actually away from the developed part of the National park. You can sit at the edge of the canyon and just let your imagination run wild. Another favorite area was where the cliff dwellers actually carved their homes in the side of the canyon walls.

  14. I have never been and have always wanted to see it. I am finally going on a trip there and Sedona in October.

    1. GhostofBelleStarr
      If you go to Sedona, go up to the mining town of Jermone. Walk the cobble streets, take time to enjoy the old homes up in there. If you have time go to the old cave dwellings. Sedona is very pretty & very expensive, on the pocket book. Visit the old chapel you will have to hike up the hill but it is so worth it.

      If you plan on staying in Sedona, make reservations ahead of schedule after April those places are booked & prices go way up. Most come up from Phoenix it is cooler up there, that is why it books up so quickly. They have time shares you can rent, so you can skip eating out & fix a meal in the room.

      Check out the old train station & rail cars in Williams & book a trip on the train which will take you to the Grand Canyon, again schedule ahead for better prices. Have a great time

  15. The Grand Canyon is truly amazing, and even the best pictures can’t match seeing it in person. Many years ago DH and 3 friends did a two week river rafting trip through part of the canyon, he tells me it is even more amazing looking up as you raft through it. Nearly 30 years later, and he still talks about it as one of the best trips he’s ever taken. Truly awe-inspiring!

  16. 10 years back Wife Son & I did a guided 3 day hike down to Phantom Ranch from the south rim. Our guide carried most of the food while we carried our essentials. Weight Weight Weight. Learned on that hike to weed out what aint important. The views were continual, the drop-offs sometimes scary, the swichbacks steep & the trail was narrow. I thought I was in “shape”. It was painful.
    Met a few pack trains with people on mules. When they come along you pull to the inside of the trail & hug the wall. The trail is only 5 feet wide & here are these people sitting on these mules trusting them with a 300 foot drop right below their outside foot.
    That hike was the foundation for our Son who 3 years back hikes the AT from Georgia To Maine. Weight weight Weight. He learned a lot.
    Tough to live out of a back pack for any extended period of time withhout constant resupply.

  17. Enjoy the Canyon Ken!

    If you go to Havasupai reservation, obtain your water from the feeder springs at the campgrounds, do not obtain your water from the havasu river/stream. The water is heavily laced with mineral deposits that will clog your filters and taste bad even after boiling. (People of the blue-green water)

    Same with water from the mighty Colorado which was always the color of tea or chocolate in addition to the fact that is is a high traffic zone.

    I have also found that many streams within Rocky Mountain NP have a lot of sulphur in the water in my travels. Check with the ranger station prior to going out. Some of us get out of the station and hike the trails and drink the water (after filtering of course)

  18. On your journeys west did you find anywhere a place that was known as the land of the free. It was called America.

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