This spring break I joined my family on a five day backpacking trip on the Hermit/Boucher trail in the Grand Canyon. We started a day late due to a snowstorm, but seeing the canyon decorated in white was worth the wait.
Backpacking in the wilderness is magical because it transforms your perspective of space and time. Instead of flying or driving to get from point A to point B, you walk, which makes distances more real. Without a schedule or deadlines to meet, and no watch, you wake up with the sun and sleep with the stars, you eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re tired.
The Grand Canyon leaves an even greater impact on me because of the vastness of the landscape and time it took to create the gorge in the earth. It makes my individual life feel so insignificant when I compare myself to the expanse of time and space that the canyon takes up. But then again, on the trail, I met other students from Western Washington University, which made the world seem so connected and small.
Below are some photos from the trek that caught my eye.
We made the first tracks on the Hermit-Boucher trail on March 19, 2012 where tufts of snow rested on branches of desert foliage.
As we descended deeper in the canyon it became warmer and the ice that had formed on twigs began to melt. The crinkling sound of melting ice was so similar to the sound of Rice Crispies popping in milk that my mom called it "ice crispies."
There's nothing better than to drink crisp cool water straight from a spring. At Dripping Springs we filled up on water that fell from an opening in the cliff. Water is an essential resource while backpacking, especially in the desert landscape of the Grand Canyon, so it's important to fill up at every opportunity.
The Colorado River flows green at the bottom of the canyon. Sometimes the sediment in the river colors it reddish-brown to match the canyon walls.
A camp on a plateau near Whites Butte offers a view across the canyon.
Morning light shines near a camp by Whites Butte.
The redwall section of the Grand Canyon is decorated with mazes of caves within its walls.
Agaves, a succulent plant, thrive in the desert landscape.