After visiting my brother and his family in Tucson, my sister and I drove to the Grand Canyon. Seeing this remarkable natural wonder was on my bucket list, the only item in fact. This morning when I prayed in Psalm 95, “He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well,” scenes of the Grand Canyon came to mind. The views from the different lookout points were awesome: craggy mountains layer upon layer fading into the horizon, strange structures carved into red rock, and now and then a glimpse of the Colorado River that was responsible for the artwork.
If earth holds such beauty, what must heaven be like? Some theologians think that the world will not be destroyed, but serve as a park for us to visit in the afterlife! The Canyon was impressive, but so too was the planning of the US government that made it accessible to all. Free shuttles take people along the eastern half of the South Rim, stopping at various points. Although the entrance fee is $25.00, people 62 and older can purchase a senior pass for $10.00 that allows a vehicle to enter any national park for free for a year. Rangers are available to explain things like the endangered condors who have a nest in one of the caves. You can see the cave on the steep side of a cliff through a telescope. But when the park ranger tells you that the white thing at the opening is a pillow they placed there for the little birds, don’t believe him!
We also drove to the petrified forest, which is also a national park, and the painted desert, where mountains are striped with colors. Coming home, we passed through Sedona, another spectacular site. Our winding road took us up 7,500 feet, sometimes alongside sheer cliffs, and then down again. The breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains were worth the risk to our rented car and our lives.
Something I learned: When you are stranded overnight at O’Hare Airport, you are given a blanket and a pillow and can join the many others sleeping on cots in a long hall. At 4:00 A.M. a man walks down the hall saying, “Good morning,” to wake everyone. As you leave, you are handed a kit containing a toothbrush, lotion, kleenex, etc.
My three favorite spots in the world are a ski resort in Vancouver overlooking the ocean, the back porch of Mount Vernon where you can see the Potomac River from a rocking chair, and now the Grand Canyon.
What is your favorite place in the world?