More Than A Bunch of Rocks

Grand Canyon. One of Earth’s most powerful and awe-inspiring landscapes. Considered among the seven natural wonders of the world. Expanding 277 miles long and 18 miles wide and with a depth of about 5000 feet, it was said that it was carved by the Colorado River, and formed by time. For me, it was a handiwork of the Creator.


There are many ways to see the canyon. You can view it from the bottom, when you hike down to the floor of the canyon, which I consider a serious hike, or even do rafting through the rapids of the Colorado River. That we didn’t do.

Or you can also view it from the top by hiking or just driving around the park – whether by jeep tours, or the official park bus, or by your own car (what we did most). There’s even a train ride from the nearby town to the Great Canyon.

For me though, seeing this creation wonder, has a more personal meaning.


Back in my youth, when I was still in Manila, Philippines, I had a poster in my bedroom’s wall of the Grand Canyon. In that picture was a man – gliding and soaring, in the middle of the canyon. On the poster was these words: “You are only limited by the boundaries of your mind.” That became my life’s challenge.


Though it took me only 15 minutes to climb to that rock, it took me a lifetime to have the chance to sit on that ledge.

So it was fitting that when I see the Grand Canyon, I need to soar above it. Which by the way, is another way to see it – by flying over it.

No, I did not do hang gliding. Hang gliding is restricted in the Grand Canyon. Though in 1976, the US National Park Service permitted a hang gliding feasibility test, and that maybe where the picture in my poster came from. Plus, my wife would not allow me to do it anyway, as she rather have me than collect my Life Insurance.

So I settled for a helicopter ride instead. My whole family flew above the Grand Canyon, and got a bird’s-eye view of this wonderful landscape.


I have heard people who have visited the Grand Canyon and all they said was, they were just a “bunch of rocks.” That maybe true. But I think they did not see it with awful wonder. Or maybe because they just saw it in the middle of the day.

We were told that the best way to appreciate these “bunch of rocks” is during sunrise and sunset where the interplay of light and shadows will transform them into different colors. And so we did.

Below are some photos we took at sunset time. From hues of blue…..


To fiery red.


Here’s another shot of the sunset.


The sunset was easy to see. The sunrise was a different story.

Since the sunrise is around 5:30 AM, we have to wake up at 4 o’clock to witness it. Even though we stayed at a hotel a few minutes away at the National Park entrance, the drive was still 30-40 minutes to where we wanted to witness the sunrise. I heard my wife, who is not a morning person, blurted again, “I hate fishing” (see previous post).

But seeing the sunrise on these glorious place was well worth it.


Above is my family waiting for the sunrise. It didn’t matter if we have bed hair, or if my son was still in pajamas. It was really beautiful.


Me and the sunrise

Even though we mostly drove around to the view points, my son and I took some minor hikes, where we went down beyond the paved pathways and climbed some rocks.

Below is my son and I with our Kung-Fu pose, celebrating our success, after a 15-minutes climb to the top of this ledge.


Below is another one of that Kung-Fu pose.


The photos may look grand, but they do not really give justice to the majesty of this place. As all people who visit this place were lugging cameras – from the professionals to the amateur photographers, with thousands-of-dollar cameras to simple camera phones – they were all busy clicking away pictures. And it may included me.

But perhaps the best way to see this grandiose place is to put down the camera, be still, and just take it all in.

As I silently stood (or sat) in awe, I finally came to the place that gave me so much inspiration all these years. Truly, there was no limits. Where boundaries exist only in our minds.


(*most photos taken by my wife)


Look Up, Down, and Beyond

During our recent summer road trip, we did lots of looking up and looking down. Here’s a sample of them.


Look up. What are you looking at? (Vail, Colorado)


Look up. Don’t look down! (Copper Mountain, Colorado)


Look up Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote is going to push down that rock! (Arches National Park, Utah)


Look down. I also need to pee, can I do it here? (Grand Canyon, Arizona)


Look beyond. (Grand Canyon, Arizona)