The Grand Canyon is aptly named, but beyond the depth and breadth of the span, there is a stillness and quiet found on the trails that can’t be captured in photos. Edward Abbey introduced me to the notion in Desert Solitaire in which he reflects on a summer in Arches National Park. Southwest heat brings time to a crawl. When the sun is high the critters sleep with no movement save for the occasional crow or vulture half dozing on rising thermals. The feeling is exacerbated when stumbling across a rusty steel wheelbarrow brought to the canyon for copper mining in 1893, but long since abandoned to the dust. Such a reticent world is so foreign and rare it feels almost uncanny, and thus such a respite to level the keel is all the more welcome.
And for photographers there is a depth like no where else. As the sun begins to set the harsh light transitions into a warm glow revealing a gradient of discrete, jagged layers of earth created by the repeating buttes and mesas formed by the wandering Colorado. The palette stretches from depths already black in shadow, swatch by swatch, to the raw intensity of the sun before repeating, softly mirrored in the clouds.
Photos were taken from the Desert View Outlook, Grandview Trail, and Page Spring Spur off Redwall Trail. It’s recommended to begin at first light to avoid the worst of the midday heat. Learn more at nps.gov