My brief visit to the Grand Canyon as an impatient ten-year-old was nothing like the nine-day adventure “below the rim” that Mike Matthews describes in this issue!
We had no air conditioning and it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We had given up asking, “Are we there yet?” after finishing our bologna sandwiches in Flagstaff hours earlier.
When Dad finally shifted our oversize station wagon into park, my little body was sprawled on the rubber floormat behind the big front seat, drenched in sweat. Mom reached over and gently roused me. “Time to wake up and see the Grand Canyon, while there’s still light!”
My little brother Shawn exploded over the back seat from his suitcase fort and tromped on my slobbery cheek.
My older brother was the true athlete among us. Kirk had grabbed his leather baseball mitt and was already throwing his Hank Aaron baseball waaaay up above his head. At every rest area and gas station, he could be seen heaving that ball with all his might, then running to swipe it from the air. I don’t remember him ever dropping it.
Don’t Miss This:
Worms. I discovered from the article on page 24 that I own millions of earthworms. Yes, millions! If you own a house, you may as well.
Of course, we’d been hearing about this place constantly since yesterday at the Tucumcari Holiday Inn. Dad loved our family’s driving vacations and was eager to show us something called the Grand Canyon. He said it would be after the Petrified Forest but before California.
So as I look back today, it’s understandable that Dad was frustrated when we weren’t more excited about that really, really big hole in the ground, and that we spent only a few minutes staring at it.
Finally the light dimmed and it was time to get back in the car, where a hot breeze would make the desert almost bearable. Dad checked his big map for a city with a Holiday Inn and a swimming pool. Disneyland, here we come!
We were prime examples of people who fail to appreciate the awesome devastation of the 6,000-foot-deep Grand Canyon simply by looking down over the edge for 15 minutes (the average time visitors spend looking at the canyon). That’s why Answers sent Mike Matthews and Chris Neville to the bottom of that chasm. Much more than a day’s amusement at Disneyland, it was a life-changing experience. Their special report begins on page 50.