Happiness Highlights: The Grand Canyon. Wow.

Every Monday, I start my week by highlighting what makes me happy from the previous week. Why? Because I believe we multiply what we focus on, and that gratitude is the first step in learning how to be happier.

Last week we all worked our butts off on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so that we could enjoy a long weekend at the Grand Canyon. (Good thing we did, too, since it is virtually impossible to get in touch with the outside world, INCLUDING THE INTERNET, from the Grand Canyon. It’s as if they want you to unplug or something.)

So, yeah. The Grand Canyon.

It was on our list of Things We Figured We Should See But Weren’t Overly Excited About.

Like Niagara Falls.

Except that the closer we drove to the Grand Canyon, the more excited we got about seeing it. See, you can’t see it coming. At all. I imagined a vast, sandy desert that would give way to a hole, but the South Rim (the only part that’s accessible during the winter) is actually a hilly, forested area right up to the part where the Earth splits open. It’s like God’s own stage curtain hiding and taunting at the same time, building the sense of anticipation until all of a sudden…


There it is.

And it’s nothing like what you thought it would be, but way, way more, and you can see now why 6 million people a year come to stand in awe of a giant hole in the ground.

Because it’s proof, somehow, that the world is bigger and more amazing than we could possibly imagine.

Because it feels strangely good to feel so small, so childlike that the urge to climb and crawl over those massive rocks is overwhelming.

And that’s what we did. Despite not having the proper gear (we bought clampons for our shoes and rented poles) or having winter coats for everyone (I made do with a tank, t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, cardigan, and hooded sweatshirt), we ventured down into the canyon on Saturday morning. The four of us hike three miles roundtrip and about 1,100 feet below the rim, into another world of vistas, history, and proof that the world spins on just fine without your help.

My kids, by the way, are rock stars and I – well, I survived the hike down and the climb back up. And it was worth every single wheeze and ache.

In other words, go. Make plans, save your cash, and go experience this great, big thing that can only be understood face to rock face. And when you do, don’t be too proud to be humbled by the awesomeness.

May we never be too proud to be awed.

What made me happy this week was being amazed by something that lived up to and surpassed all the hype.

What made you happy?

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  1. Rhea says:

    I took my family to the North Rim two summers ago and it was AMAZING. We hiked only about 1.5 miles down (my boys were only 4) and I vowed to myself that I would go back and do a rim to rim hike. It's on my bucket list! It's absolutely fabulous and everyone really does need to go. I'm glad that you had such an amazing time!

  2. carol anne says:

    My gosh the photos are magnificent. >>> Because it's proof, somehow, that the world is bigger and more amazing than we could possibly imagine. <<<Substitute more infinite for bigger and you have the reason why I love the ocean so much.

  3. Love the pics…I visited the Grand Canyon once, and it definitely lived up to the hype for me also!

  4. Alan Labovitz says:

    Wow! You did what we could never do; you climbed down into the canyon. We were already into our late fifties when we visited and we just weren't up to that kind of physical trip. It must have been wild. I remember the first time we looked down into the canyon from the south rim and looked at the river. It looked like a tiny brook. I knew, of course, that the river was actually fairly wide and that it formed into rapids every so often. We visited the dam and also saw the lake that was formed on the other side. We are originally east coast (Philadelphia) folks and now live in Michigan. Seeing the western part of the country was really great. I hope the rest of your trip is awesome and that you have pictures to show.

  5. the muskrat says:

    What a great experience! My folks weren't very adventurous when they took us as kids, so we did nothing as cool as hiking in or riding mules into the whole, etc. We just stared at it for 3 days (which is better than not seeing it at all, but still).

  6. heidikins says:

    I went to the Grand Canyon a few years ago and had similar feelings of "I should see it, but it's just a big hold in the world." before I arrived. Sadly, that meant I had only planned an hour or so there before I had to get back in the car and drive another 13 hours home.I was blown away. Baffled, awed, humbled. What an amazing place! I am already trying to plan another trip because I still cannot get over how amazing it was.xox

  7. Megan says:

    The trip when we visited the Grand Canyon remains one of my favorites. It still strikes me how unreal it looked, even in person.

  8. Naomi says:

    YAY!!It's on my bucket list! Holi in India may be on YOURS, but the Grand Canyon is on MINE!!

  9. Vicky says:

    I actually planned a trip my my family and parents to the Grand Canyon this June and then to Vegas to see my cousin and his family. It will be an interesting trip as the ages range from an active 8 year old boy to and infirm 63 year old grandma. But we are all excited. I love reading your blog to get ideas where to go to. Austin is now on my list of places to visit!

  10. MrsJennyK says:

    oh your descriptions make me want to go right now! We are definitely planning this trip when the twins are older – maybe 10 or so? I'm not sure of the ideal age for a trip like this. Doing all of the hiking and so forth is one of my husband's a my incentives to get and stay in shape. We want to be ABLE to do the fun stuff and by then we will both be in our early 50s.

  11. martymankins says:

    My daughter and I went to the Grand Canyon in 2009 and it was amazing. So glad you and your family got to experience this.These were my pics from that trip. They also contain when my wife and I went to Arches, which I think is still in your itinerary.http://www.banalleakage.com/2009/09/06/and-roll/

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