Hold Your Tongue

The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail. – John Wesley Powell

Some of our activities this week included: 3 mi. hike under the rim on the south Kaibab trail to Cedar Ridge, 7 mi. hike from Hermits rest to the Bright Angel Trailhead, ranger lead fossil hunt, learning about California condors (and spotting many) and a ranger led rim walk learning about the geology of the canyon. Our wildlife spotting included: mule deer, mules, elk, condors, ravens, turkey vultures,lizards and the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon… the rock squirrel. Seriously, several hundred people have had to get stitches and/or rabies vaccinations due to coming to close and feeding the squirrels. It is against the law to approach or feed wildlife.

Our climb to the summit of Mt. Fuji was awe inspiring and spiritual, our visit to Auschwitz in Poland was humbling and deeply thought provoking and seeing the sunrise from the top of Haleakala in Hawaii evoked thoughts of hope and the wonderful possibilities a new day can bring. As we’ve spent the better part of the week here at the Grand Canyon we’ve come to know many things, but none more than this: there are no words.

The naturalist, preservationist and founder of the Sierra Club, John Muir, wrote of the Grand Canyon in 1902, ‘In a dry, hot, monotonous forested plateau, seemingly boundless, you come suddenly and without warning upon the abrupt edge of a gigantic sunken landscape of the wildest, most multitudinous features, and those features, sharp and angular, are made out of flat beds of limestone and sandstone forming a spiry, jagged, gloriously colored mountain-range countersunk in a level gray plain. But it is impossible to conceive what the canyon is, or what impression it makes, from descriptions or pictures, however good. Naturally it is untellable even to those who have seen something perhaps a little like it on a small scale in this same plateau region. One’s most extravagant expectations are indefinitely surpassed, though on expect much from what is said of it as the biggest chasm on earth.’

While John’s words are not the only ones uttered in reference to the canyon, to me they so eloquently say, that there are not enough adjectives to describe it unless you stand on the edge of this absolute beauty. For those of you who know me well, mark this moment in time as I am speechless!

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