The Grand Canyon is aptly named. With the exception of the controversial development projects that seemingly are always in question, what isn’t grand about this incredible ditch and expansive landscape? Inspiration from the quiet and solitude. Inspiration from the far expanses, both horizontal and vertical. Inspiration from the legacy of adventure and ostensibly unimaginable exploration. Inspiration from the changing elements and desert sun. Inspiration from those who came before us and the idea of preserving this special place for generations to come.
Yes, it’s hard not to be inspired by something as grand. Inspiration is unique to the beholder, and fortune is beset on those who can outwardly illustrate such and extend the spark to others. Our personal experiences in the Grand Canyon have armed us with awe and revelation that transfer to our design library. It’s these experiences that fueled the onset of Wild Tribute and have since carried forward our mission.
For anyone who’s traveled, the anticipation from the journey often trumps the reach of the destination. In fact, there’s nothing quite like the American road trip, particularly in the Southwest. Beautifully empty stretches of country, arid blue skies of sunshine, alien landscapes, and red rock that compares to few other places in the world. Upon reaching the end of the road, be it on the South Rim’s winding Desert View Drive, the North Rim’s forested Scenic Drive, or Toroweap’s arduous washboard dirt path, excitement percolates with no escape.
The sight of the Colorado River at long last. The comprehension of a complex, gaping chasm in the earth. The endless panorama, yet limited vantage of the whole picture. The sensation of feeling small. It’s all difficult to calibrate, yet it’s the very reason we’re inspired. Inspired all too often; however, to not stop here. The Grand Canyon from its rim is simply not enough. There’s more to the picture. There’s more to explore.
Dipping below the rim, where you look up equally as much as you look down, is an entirely new experience that introduces new elements of awe. Below the rim, one experiences the sanctitude of quiet that’s only experienced in cathedrals such as the Grand. Below the rim, one encounters a changing landscape of fauna and habitat as your aching steps take you deeper. Below the rim, both the architect and driving force of life in the canyon is of constant thought -- water.
Despite being the same Grand Canyon, every adventure within its depths takes on its own character. The popular Rim to Rim or Kaibab to Bright Angel Loop puts you on the doorstep of famed Phantom Ranch. Follow the footsteps of John Wesley Powell himself from the North Rim on the rugged Nankoweap Trail into the most beautiful reaches of Marble Canyon. The Escalante Route gives one the most encompassing route that follows the river itself without actually catching a ride on a River Trip. That said no bucket list is complete without the notion of rafting from Lee’s Ferry to the headwaters of Lake Mead.
Where there are differences, there are constants.
The prospect of elusive wildlife. Startling an unsuspecting Desert Bighorn only to regroup your own calm and watch the ram’s grandeur. Craning your neck upwards for a California Condor’s soaring wingspan. Keeping a watchful eye after spotting the tracks of a Mountain Lion. And avoiding the shiver of watching a tarantula or scorpion scurry underfoot.
Unpredictable weather. Praying for stable conditions -- not too hot, not too cold. Holding your breath for moderate winds and lack of precipitation for fear of flash flooding and its demise to your unstable surroundings.
Water challenges. Having faith, the perennial water sources are flowing. If refilling from the Colorado, hoping it’s not wrought with silt. Questioning if you miscalculated carrying enough water from one water source to the next. Hoping the cache you arranged is still there.
Demanding trails that show no mercy. Knees and feet respond differently, plunging downhill —the drudgery of climbing back. Crossing your fingers trail magic will strike sharing a beach camp with generous river runners? Wondering how far one must detour to bypass an obstacle.
The word inspiration itself is packed with adjectives that are as wholesome as they are abundant. The Grand Canyon epitomizes the very meaning of inspiration and we do our very best to capture it through our lens that transfers to art and ultimately a product that memorializes an experience worth remembering. Grand Canyon Conservancy (GCC) gives us a platform for such beyond serving as the utmost steward of this sacred beacon of influence and discovery. Become a member of GCC, shop their in-park locations and online store, or simply choose to donate your “wild tribute” to the Grand Canyon next time you make a purchase at www.wildtribute.com.
Grand Canyon Conservancy is the official nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park, raising private funds, operating retail shops within the park, and providing premier educational programs about the natural and cultural history of the region.