NEWS   |   BBS |  GEAR  |  HIKING   |   CYCLING   |   CLIMBING   |   PHOTOGRAPH  |   360 Club
SPACE |  BBS |   360CLUB
Home News Event BBS Recommendation Traveler in China Notes Guide Tea-Horse Road Chinese Tradition Photo Gallery
Walking Into the Earth’s Heart: The Grand Canyon
TIME: 10:47AM Thursday December 03,2009

“I HAVE heard rumors of visitors who were disappointed,” J. B. Priestley once said of the Grand Canyon. “The same people will be disappointed at the Day of Judgment.”

I have to confess I was disappointed on my first visit to the canyon more than a decade ago. One July, on our way to Los Angeles, my family and I swung off the highway and made the 60-mile detour to the South Rim, and found ourselves caught in a long traffic jam. When we eventually managed to park, and walked to the rim, the scale of the sight off the edge was so great it was hard to muster a response. It was so vast, and so familiar from innumerable pictures, it might just as well have been a picture. What impressed me most was the Babel of languages audible among the files of visitors pouring off the tour buses. It sounded like Times Square on a Saturday night, with every continent represented in the hubbub.

At this magnitude, scale is deceptive. Pedro de Castañeda, a Spaniard on the Coronado expedition of 1540, whose members were among the first Europeans ever to see the canyon, reported that a group of them scrambled some way down, and found that boulders they’d seen from the rim were not as they’d thought, the height of a man, but “taller than the great tower in Seville” (presumably the Giralda Tower, more than 300 feet high).

We only stayed an hour or two. But before we left, from the rim I saw a trail, pale as chalk, winding down a huge slope beneath a cliff. There’s something about a trail seen from far away. That thread snaking over the landscape — where does it go, who uses it, why does it seem so intimate with the land? And why does it arouse such an intense longing to follow it? An unknown path seems almost necessarily a metaphor. We like to conceive of life as a thread, after all, a path crossing unexpected terrain on its journey to another element. When the trail winds across empty desert, up and down huge hillsides — as in the Grand Canyon — it’s all the more insistently allegorical.

There wasn’t time to follow it, and I left with a nagging sense of opportunity lost, and that pale thread of a path still pulling at me.

Outdoor Site
Travel Site
Outdoor Club
About Us | Legal | Jobs | Advertise | Customer Service | Disclaimer | Site Map | Contact Us | Outdoor Alliance
Powered by 中国户外网 © 2001-2009