Sunset at the Grand Canyon

Let it be known that if you catch a 5:20 am flight out of Seattle, you can shoot sunset at the Grand Canyon that same day. Even when you have 23 teenagers in tow. That’s what I did last month. I chaperoned a school trip which toured the desert Southwest, including the South Rim.


Airplane sunrises give such a neat range of color. I haven’t color touched any of these, really.

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Rest stop number 327… yeah, you try to coordinate 23 kid bladders. This one had cactuses in bloom and a nice vista, anyway.


Elk showed up at the water spout next to our campground … because it’s the desert, and elk are pretty smart.


And after we pitched tents (for 30 people) we scampered to this overlook and watched.

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As is the way with this school, the kids are keeping a journal which is graded at the end of the trip. The teacher asks them to use word descriptions to describe the feelings of sunset here, overlooking this Wonder of the World. It was made more effective (to teens who might be a tad distracted from their present moment, by the chattering of their peers) when a Muslim man knelt down right at the edge of the precipice in front of them and said 5 minutes of chanted prayers as the kids were writing. Then the teacher (being as awesome as he is) invited the man to come over and describe what he was doing for the kids. I’ll try to summarize his beautiful words: As a Muslim I am required to pray right as the sun does down, wherever I find myself, to be thankful for all the beauty in the world and realize how small I am, you are, as an individual, but how we are all the same, no matter where we come from, and even through our diversity we can work together. It takes work, trust and kindness, but working all together toward peaceful  lives is the way. And that is what I was saying when I prayed in this beautiful place.


It was well taken.