Man, I am so behind on my writing. Trying to balance my experiences with my time spent driving, writing in between the two, and after that trying to eat healthy, sleep enough, be active, be mindful, and see and meet all the special people along the way. Seeing, experiencing, thinking and trying to comprehend so much can easily be overwhelming, so I begin every day with a clear slate to encourage my fullest potential awareness.
It’s been four days already since I’ve seen the Grand Canyon and in that little time so much has escaped my memory, I’m sure. I’ll begin with the expected in saying that the Grand Canyon is something you have to experience for yourself. It truly is. I won’t say that words can’t describe the Grand Canyon, I’m sure they have and I’m sure they can, but I find it very overwhelming. At every vista your eyes are drawn to different cliffs, each with a face of its own; at every break in the trees new and captivating geological grandeur is revealed to you. For whatever reason, I wasn’t expected to be so taken by the Grand Canyon and for the greater part of the day I honestly wasn’t. Checking out the different overlooks was interesting and engaging, but it wasn’t until I reached the end of Desert View Drive at the watchtower that I shared a magnificent moment with the canyon. The day had nearly reached its end, again the clouds hadn’t cooperated, but I didn’t necessarily care. The interaction of the sun, its light, the clouds and the space within the canyon was astounding. There is one point beyond the watch tower, a sort of titanic point, where for a moment you are alone and suspended in the magnificence of this very Grand Canyon. The foreign languages of other travelers silence, all traces of civilization can be ignored; it’s an intimate experience with you and the wild and beautiful world that you live in. After that I sat speechless and enamored at the sight in front of me. At some point I decided I’d stay another afternoon.
I found a campsite and made macaroni and cheese on my camp stove. I felt the clatter of my cooking was so loud in the quiet campground and crashed as soon as I lay down. The next morning I awoke and left the park only to return and this time acquire an Access Permit which requires anyone deemed permanently disabled with access to a few restricted roads. I’m quite honestly over the handicapped and disability stigmas and am willing to go to whatever length to increase the accessibility of my adventures. I really appreciate such consideration and while for the most part it was just the ability to drive on shuttle roads, it eventually lead me to a pretty cool place. I was able to drive down Hermit’s Road where at the end there is Hermit’s Rest. The Rest is nothing special, but there is a narrow, but paved walking trail up there, totally accessible to traverse. I did so for at least a mile and would have continued if it weren’t so stifling hot. At such elevation it seems the souls of trees, the struggling Pinon Pines especially, are twisted by such close exposure to the sun, yet they manage to survive. I encountered enormous dragonflies up there on the trail and sat with them for about a half an hour. I admired their weightlessness, their flight and interaction with the wind set against the Canyon in the distance. Like fairies, they were camera shy.
So it happened, I was captivated by the Canyon and felt ready to carry on. I thought I’d really contrast this experience with that of Las Vegas.
I didn’t get into Vegas until late, but the light pollution is unmistakable. Starving, I ventured out and enjoyed really delicious Thai food and admired their origami collection tacked to the wall. The chicken Pad Thai that I ordered was fantastic, but I feel like as far as the heat of my meal, regardless whether I say 1-5, my mouth is always on fire. After winding up in a primarily hipster bar, unimpressed, I retreated back to my very seedy hostel, where at least the bed was comfortable. While waiting for my pizza, a guy approached me who had pretty awesome blue eyes and blonde curls. We talked about tattoos and mentioned that his, which covered his body were from prison. Went on to tell me he was in jail for stealing cars and selling drugs. While he was sweet I was relieved when my food was ready. I spent the next hour trying to seek out a decent café to go catch up on my writing, with absolutely no success. This lead me to the Library of Las Vegas, I know, what a loser, haha. Architecturally, I thought it was the coolest building that I’d seen. Where I expected such a place to be empty, it was interestingly packed with mainly men, many of whom were definitely homeless. Whatever, it was a quiet place, devoid of distraction and the disgusting heat of the city. If you can’t tell already, of Las Vegas I am unmoved. It just strikes me as a city of excess in the middle of the desert. It’s a place where it takes you a moment to realize that the person in line before you with the long hair and in the floral mini skirt is not a woman and where the homeless man that you kindly hand your apple to looks at you confused.