Yesterday I spent a blissful few hours slowly riding a bit over forty miles, including every mapped bicycle trail extending from the main visitor center at Grand Canyon National Park, twice. I expected to avoid the legendary crowds because I reasoned: 1) summer is over and the kids are back in school, 2) it is a very early weekday morning, 3) the temperature is 38 degrees, not including the wind effect. Well... at the entrance gate, past the IMAX and the six tourist helicopters warming up, I came to this:
When I think of endangered landscapes in America, I default to remote places like New Mexico's Otero Mesa or Utah's Bear's Ears. I realized that is not wrong, just incomplete. Endangered landscapes also include those that we have "saved".
OK, maybe it is more complex than that. On the entrance road's parallel bikeway to Tusayan, fourteen miles roundtrip, I was the only human. Is that a travesty or ... an opportunity? Behind the windshield, you don't know the sound of elk chewing on browse or that the pines here smell like butterscotch. But you could.