GRAND CANYON: HERMIT’S REST RIDGE TRAIL

Friday, August 9, 2013

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Ryan had to work in the afternoon, so I set off on the Hermit’s Rest Ridge Trail by myself.  The trail covers 7.8 miles between Grand Canyon Village and Hermit’s Rest.  A park bus operates in parallel with the trail and stops at 8 of the trail’s scenic overlooks before making a final stop at Hermit’s Rest.  I walked along the trail until a light rain started to fall.  Without anything to cover my camera, I hopped on the bus and rode the rest of the way.

At several of the scenic overlooks, you can look ahead and see the next overlook.  It was nice to be able to see where I was heading since I was alone.  The trail was paved for most of the way and very clearly marked.  I took my time and walked from one stop to the next.  I must’ve been walking at the same speed the bus was traveling because at each overlook two couples with midwestern accents, chattering constantly would descend from the bus at the exact moment I would arrive by foot.

The Grand Canyon can feel somewhat monolithic — big and red and unknowable.  Perhaps this is why people come, see it and leave.  A long walk is the perfect antidote to the experience of “There it is.  It is big.  Now, let’s go.”  A long walk allows one to experience nuance, differentiating details.  The rock colors change and the formations’ shapes shift as the trail meanders and the sun moves across the sky.  The Colorado River comes into view a few miles in, and with it the discovery of the floor of the canyon.  No longer vast and unknowable, I could see the bottom of this canyon and I could see the top.

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