To celebrate my 300th post, first, I want to say thank you to all of my followers. Thank you to those who subscribe and receive my posts in your email. Thanks for letting my thoughts and pictures claim a little space in your inboxes and a little time of your adventurous lives.
I decided to postpone the final post from my northern Arizona adventure about the three National Monuments I visited that weekend, and instead, I wanted to do one more on the Grand Canyon. In preparing to go and while watching the Ken Burns documentary, I came across several enlightening remarks about the canyon and national parks in general, and I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.
This first one is a bit ironic since I’ve shared more than 2,000 words with you now about my two-days of visiting the canyon.
“Nearly everybody, on taking a first look at the Grand Canyon, comes right out and admits its wonders are absolutely indescribable, and then proceeds to write anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 words giving the full details . . . When the Creator made it, He failed to make a word to cover it.” – Irvin S. Cobb
Unfortunately, this charge from President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the natural wonder went unheeded for several decades as hotels, lodges and other buildings were built on the canyon’s rim. Some are beautiful themselves, but most really do distract. I only hope we prevent any more marring by allowing any interest to do more that will scar the timeless beauty.
“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
A couple more along the same vein.
“It is a better world with some buffalo in it, a richer world with some gorgeous canyons unmarred with sign boards, hot dog stands, or superhighways. If we preserve as parks only those places that have no economic possibilities, we will have no parks. And in the future it will not only be the buffalo and trumpeter swan who need sanctuaries. Our own species is going to need them too. It needs them now.” – Wallace Stegner
“… let us be guardians rather than gardeners.” – Adolph Murie
And one more, someone who could paint a beautiful image of the place and state how it should influence us.
“It is the world’s supreme example of erosion. But this is not what it really is. It is, I repeat, a revelation. The Colorado River made it, but you feel when you are there that God gave the Colorado River its instructions. It is all Beethoven’s nine symphonies in stone and magic light. Even to remember that it is still there lifts up the heart. If I were an American, I should make my remembrance of it the final test of men, art, and policies. I should ask myself: Is this good enough to exist in the same country as the Canyon? How would I feel about this man, this kind of art, these political measures, if I were near that rim? Every member or officer of the Federal Government ought to remind himself, with triumphant pride, that he is on the staff of the Grand Canyon.” – J.B. Priestly
Lastly, I wanted to make the observation that America’s National Parks are respecters of no persons. They are the world’s parks and the best representation to the world of what America is. Every time I’ve been to a National Park in the last several years I’ve been deeply impacted at how many of my trail companions and fellow sojourners are from other parts of the world. It is in the magnificent beauties of creation that have been preserved for all people that we can forget that we come from different places and occupations, that we may have different political or social views, and that we may be rich or poor.
The Grand Canyon is an excellent example of this equality of mankind. I heard dozens of languages spoken, saw people of all colors, witnessed the entire spectrum of age, and observed people of all ability enjoy this National Park. It has something for everyone, and no one is left out from enjoying, gazing upon, being transformed by, and witnessing supreme majesty in the Grand Canyon.
Even the names of rock formations echo this diverse unity. There are buttes named for Hindu gods, Roman gods and a Persian prophet. There are mesas called after Christian symbols, ancient pagan deities, and Native American lore. And there are points named for emotional ideas, mundane ephemera and a philosopher.
Robert Sterling Yard, an American writer and journalist, said it best back when the National Parks were still in the infancy after visiting the world’s first National Park.
“Nowhere else do people from all the states mingle in quite the same spirit as they do in their national parks. One sits at dinner, say, between a Missouri farmer and an Idaho miner, and at supper between a New York artist and an Oregon shopkeeper. One climbs mountains with a chance crowd from Vermont, Louisiana, and Texas and sits around the evening campfire with a California grape grower, a locomotive engineer from Massachusetts, and a banker from Michigan. Here the social differences so insisted on at home just don’t exist. Perhaps for the first time, one realizes the common America and loves it. In the national parks, all are just Americans.” – Robert Sterling Yard
On a final Grand Canyon note, John Muir’s description of sunset.
“In the supreme flaming glory of sunset the whole canyon is transfigured as if the life and light of centuries of sunshine stored up in the rocks was now being poured forth as from one glorious fountain, flooding both earth and sky.” – John Muir
Again, thank you for following me and indulging my adventures. Please feel free to like, share, comment and invite your friends to join us for the next 300 adventures.