The Grand Canyon

I can’t really think of a better title than that! After leaving Capitol Reef and the cold weather, I headed to the Grand Canyon. I’d never been there and had no idea what to expect. As it turns out the North Rim access was closed and the only option was to drive 50+ miles of progressively rougher back roads. Perfect!

My trail of choice was the Bill Hall Trail that connects with the historic Thunder River Trail. It was a beautiful route in a vertical world that surely tests your fitness level. But every step you take you are rewarded with ever changing views and light. The trail drops nearly 5000 vertical feet from the car to the Colorado River and my first day brought about 4000 feet of downhill. It was surprisingly tough with the very rocky and steep trail and a full pack. 6 hours later and fully tired, I arrived at my camp below Thunder River.

The next morning I got a casual start and ventured down to the Colorado River. I was expecting an easy, downhill walk and instead was treated to blistering hot, up and down and leg shaking exposure. In about 2 hours I saw the beautiful green glow of the Colorado River. What a magical place. Nearly one vertical mile below life on the rim and yet this canyon was full of life in all forms. I quickly found some shade and took a nap while waiting from some shade to hike back.

The next day was spent doing more of the same, hiking, relaxing and seeking shade. I took my final day to rest, eat and hydrate for the big climb out. I sat by the creek most of the day and it was that evening that I finally found the images I was looking for. The Grand Canyon is an incredibly difficult place to photograph because of the scale. It’s extremely challenging to capture the size and because of its depth, the range of light is dramatic. So how do you get an evenly exposed image that represents the scale? I’m still not sure but there were a few times when the haze made for great B&W’s, the stars and the moon worked together, the sunset and stars fought for space, and the beautiful blue skies perfectly contrasted the gigantic red walls. This was the beautiful part of the whole experience; just waiting to photograph each scene in its best element.

I’d recommend for everyone to visit the Grand Canyon at some point in your life. It is one of those places that make you feel so, so small and reminds you of how alive the world is. It was a great first big backpack of my trip and a tough place to leave. Zion was next and I had much relaxing to get caught up on!

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9 thoughts on “The Grand Canyon

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