Misguided Travel Guides: The Grand Canyon

From the way everyone talks about the Grand Canyon, I was expecting some deeply moving, life-changing experience. Which, of course, is always the first mistake. Instead I could never quite shake the sensation that I was at Disney world. True, there was much less waiting in line and touristy souvenirs to waste money on (at the actual park, anyway; the Denny’s we stopped at for lunch 30 miles away had a gift shop with “Grand Canyon” hats and snow globes). But the hordes of people, the system of shuttles and the countless colorful displays showing different parts of the canyon and cajoling passers to “Choose Your Grand Canyon Experience!” just seemed too commercialized, too fake. The canyon itself is, of course, huge and gorgeous–so big that it’s almost hard to believe it’s not a painted backdrop or a special effect off in the distance, which only added to the sensation of being in some kind of corporate-constructed microcosm. Naturally being surrounded by thousands of people trying to photograph themselves with the canyon at every angle didn’t help. Or the hundreds of people making exactly the same kinds of home videos, just in a variety of different languages: “Look! It’s me at the Grand Canyon!”

In conclusion, the Grand Canyon was probably a great experience once. I think I would have been overwhelmed if I could have seen it alone, so vast and silent. But being surrounded by tourists pretty much dampened any great emotions I may have had. So, not wanting to add to the problem, I took no pictures or documentary videos (sorry for the graphic-less post–clearly this will give Bova further ammunition for her blog war campaign). Instead I walked down and away, as far as time would allow, to sit on a rock on the edge and watch gigantic ravens flying thousands of feet above the ground, but still far below me.

5 responses to “Misguided Travel Guides: The Grand Canyon”

  1. Rob says:

    I was going to post so emo right now, until I saw that it was already tagged that lol!

    • pladd says:

      Yeah, I couldn’t NOT write about the Grand Canyon, but I don’t have anything very funny to say about it so it was a strange post to make. Hopefully the “so emo right now” tag will be little-used.

  2. So all those majestic pictures of the Grand Canyon would have included a giant throng of tourists and a system of shuttles if the photographer had stepped back a few feet? LAME.

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