The first icon park I fell in love with.

Since the early 1990s, I have crossed the continental U. S. from east to west and back again well over twenty times or more, and many of the places I return to feel like old friends.

My first touring motorcycle was a 1988 Kawasaki Voyager-12, and I attempted to ride in two weeks to the west coast. However, Pikes Peak, 12 miles west of Denver, Colorado, was the furthest I traveled.

No, I did not ride the motorcycle to the top. I turned around at the last switchback, realizing I could see the cars at the top, and I felt I was close enough to the heavens to see the 14,115-foot peak.

I cherished the vivid memories of every US National Park I visit. But, my first time visiting the Majestic Grand Canyon became my favorite iconic park until I toured Glacier National Park. That’s another blog post with poetry from Aug 2018.

Before retirement and this blog, my summer vacations began when I relinquished my duties as father, Boy Scout Leader, and Girl Scout transportation designee, leaving my kids with their grandmothers.

I threw a leg over my Motorcycle, secured my Helmut, and for two or three weeks. I roamed the backroads of America westward beyond the Mississippi River. I was filled with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning witnessing gifts under a tree to be opened.

Before my recent tours of Olympia National Park and Glacier National Park a couple of years ago, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon held the top spot in my memory and heart because of its sheer blissfulness and majestic beauty.

I distinctively remember the silence everyone maintained as we walked from the shuttle with eyes wide open, mouths open in complete awe, standing before the vast nature of the Grand Canyon. With the sounds of silence adding to the beauty, I remember softly mumbling, “this is church.”

My thoughts went to imagine how hundreds of years ago, indigenous peoples from the nearby Hopi and Navajo Nations tried to explain this beauty to others.

North Rim Grand Canyon.

The photos I captured photos from the canyon’s edge, along with waiting for a young couple to take my photo (Selfie) with the canyon in the background, was the highlight of my day

My current visit was filled with extra precautions because of the world pandemic, and although I arrived well before 7:00 am, the lines for the park shuttles were packed 20-30 deep before 8:00 am.

I enjoyed my visit and even considered day hiking a portion of the Bright Angel Trail, but I did not feel safe with so many people in attendance.

The glorious, majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon was the first icon park I fell in love with. She is and feels like an old friend, that will forever maintain a special place within my heart as I continue touring and visiting other iconic National Parks.

I will return my old friend.

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