Outbound Collective logo

In the Shadows of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park

By: Jordan Tarver + Save to a List

Finding the right words to describe the Grand Canyon is like dropping a leaf and hearing the echo when it hits the canyon floor. I believe that anyone who sees the Grand Canyon in person will realize that we as a human race need to do everything in our power to protect it for the future.

Not only this canyon but all canyons. If there is one lesson we all can take away from this national park, it’s appreciating the rock we live on and all of our surroundings. I challenge you to see this formation as a miracle because it’s nothing less than that.

As we drove into the park for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. Winding down the roads, I began to feel anxious. I didn’t want to look out the window of my van because I wanted to take it in properly. We pulled up to the rim, threw the van in park, and hustled near the edge.

And, there she was.

A Teacher With No Words

The sun hit the sides of the rock creating shadows that swallowed the canyon floor. Everything fell silent and we tried our best to process what was in front of us. It felt surreal. I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around what was before me.

Looking left and right, over and over again, I took a deep breath to appreciate where we were. Yeah, I had a vision of what I thought it was going to be like. But let me tell you, that was nowhere near how it felt and looked in person. It was quite overwhelming to be fair.

There are certain places in this world that have the energetic power to serve as a teacher. I believe the Grand Canyon is exactly that. It’s a place that requires no words but can provide untold lessons. It’s a place that will challenge your perspective without asking anything from you. I encourage you to adventure with the purpose of looking beyond the scenery and into the deeper reasons why these types of places exist.

Because Sometimes Easy is Better

The Grand Canyon was the last stop of our 10-day road trip. Prior to this, we had made our way through SedonaBryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park. We were exhausted, to say the least. In the beginning, we felt we had to cram everything in to see as much as we could. However, we learned that was the wrong approach. We eventually came to the conclusion that we needed to slow down.

If we actually did less, we could, in turn, appreciate more.

From countless hikes and restless nights, our energy was definitely fading on the back end of the trip. We wanted to take the Grand Canyon easy with hopes to absorb all of our surroundings. We scratched all the potential hikes and decided to spend the 2 short days there around the South Rim.

Honestly, I don’t regret this decision at all. Initially, I wanted to hike down into the canyon, but I’m sure as hell glad I strayed from that desire. One because good grief it’s far and two because it gave us the opportunity to spend hours above it all.

Yeah, you could look over the rim for 30 minutes and call it a day. But will that really suffice? In my mind, no. There’s so many “nooks and crannies” down in the canyon that you could spend hours around the rim. That’s exactly what we did.

When the Sun Dips Below the Horizon

The day slowly passed, the air got cooler, the clouds afar grew gray, and we found ourselves sitting at the edge of Mohave Point waiting for the sun to set. On the way up, the bus drive tuned in to his microphone and told us something that I held on to.

He said, “Don’t leave until the sun dips below the horizon, that’s when the real show starts.” So, I noted this in the back of my mind. It’s common we all get excited about the sunset and its immediate beauty; we tend to leave just as it hits the horizon. I know I do.

But keeping the bus drivers suggestion in mind, we watched the sun slowly lower to the other side of Earth and the clouds begin to change colors. Ravens began to delicately soar in the canyon below, giving off a feeling of lightness. They were gracefully putting on a show for us.

But, it was what happened after this that made me rethink what our bus driver told us. As the sun passed the horizon, we held our ground and waited. Looking below us, the Colorado River began to illuminate with color reflecting off the orange-lit clouds above.

It was quite amazing to see what was once a dull, gray river change into something effortlessly beautiful.

I appreciated the color of the river more than the hues in the sky because of what I learned on the way to this part of the canyon. Not only was what the bus driver said a veteran’s tip, but I found that it was a lesson waiting to be uncovered. For those that were willing to seek for more meaning would reap its benefits.

It was a lesson of patience that reminded me that all great things take time.

Overall, the Grand Canyon is vast, immaculate, and overwhelming. It can open doors in your mind you didn’t know were previously there. It will twist your mind as you try to understand how it formed. It’s a puzzling landscape that everyone deserves to visit.

And to the person who was the first to walk upon this insane canyon, I envy you.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


10 Things you need to do in Baja

wyld honeys

Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

Samuel Brockway

Hiking in comfort: a review of Danner Mountain 600 Evo boots

Meghan White

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold