Take Your Pic

Grand Canyon_Canyon View_2

A friend of mine tried to see the Grand Canyon several times, only to be foiled by poor visibility (I think it was fog, most times). She liked to say the Grand Canyon didn’t exist, which always reminded me of that Jamie O’Neal song, “There Is No Arizona.”

There is no Arizona
No painted desert, no Sedona
If there was a Grand Canyon
She could fill it up with the lies he’s told her
But they don’t exist, those dreams he sold her
She’ll wake up and find
There is no Arizona

By the time my friend DID see the Grand Canyon on a clear day, it had a lot of baggage (wasted visits) to overcome just to make her a proponent.

Most of us see the Grand Canyon for the first time and think something along the lines of, “Wow!” Her first reaction was more like, “Oh, so you DO exist.”

I thought of that friend when I recently saw the Grand Canyon from the North Rim for the first time. The difference between north and south rims are like night and day.

The South Rim is desert; the North Rim is comparable to the forests of Canada. Here’s a sample:

Grand Canyon_North Rim_Aspen Trees_1

If you want an explanation, I’m sure there are some science smarties out there who can hook you up, but here are two contributing factors:

  1. Elevation – The North Rim is over 1,000 feet higher in elevation than the South Rim.
  2. Distance to the bottom – From the South, it’s about 3 miles down. From the North, it’s… 7 miles down? I forget. Anyway, that difference makes all the difference. Here’s an example:

Grand Canyon_Canyon View_3

Notice the clouds shadows? The landscape before and after the canyon? Much different perspective than standing on the edge and looking straight down.

So, my advice? Choose the rim to visit based on the experience you are looking for. And check the weather report before you go!

2 thoughts on “Take Your Pic

  1. Good to know!
    I guess I’ve been lucky – been there a couple of times in good weather. I’ve found the view a little “freaky” – almost too much to comprehend – it doesn’t look real – too “cinematic”. One time I took my Dad. We were deep in conversation as we neared the edge. I had to remind him to look up and look around. I’m not sure he was super impressed…….either that or I guess it means that I am super interesting in comparison!!


    • I know what you are saying about the view being both freaky, cinematic, unreal, and not that impressive. Agreed. It’s hard to engage with a big hole in the ground we’ve seen a million times in pictures and movies. Try the North Rim when you can and let me know if you have as different of a response from the South Rim as I’m saying you will.


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