Of the Biting Cold and My Grand Canyon Experience -Samantha Refilwe Pilane

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“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand in the cold.”- Aristotle

Winter break provided me with an opportunity to explore other interesting parts of Arizona at a more relaxed pace. The chance to get out of downtown Phoenix offered a change of scenery and find out how things are like far away from our immediate surroundings.  We set off on a four- hour drive on Route 66 to the Grand Canyon, two days after Christmas Day on what was to become one of my most remarkable road trips ever.

The continuous picturesque view of the mountains with pine forests showing the different geographical zones of the state, was an amazing sight to behold.

Reaching Sedona and fully taking in the reassuring breath of fresh air from a mountain top once again reminded me the significance of small things we take for granted, like being on the outside after a very tricky year of lockdowns, quarantines, and self- isolation. Indisputably there is some calming effect that nature affords. My arrival at the magnificent Grand Canyon left me with no words. Going up Mather Point and seeing the panoramic and enormous depths of the canyon was testimony of its grandeur and why it is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I always held this notion that the greatest sunsets can only be observed in Africa, but viewing the splendidly orange sun set from Mather Point must be in everyone’s bucket list.

Going back from the canyon to Flagstaff via Snowbowl offered me a chance to see snow fall for the first time in my life. At this point my exhilaration knew no bounds, all I wanted was to get out of the car into the biting cold and touch the pure and magical snowflakes, have them fall on my face and try to keep my balance intact on the slippery ground. Barely able to keep myself from slipping, I got out of the car and did what I had set my mind on since I first heard I was coming to the United States, it was a scene akin to a kid in a candy store, filled with so much emotion despite the fleeting snowflakes on my hands. Another reminder of nature and its lessons, the momentary snowflakes extending the value of being fully present in the now. Coming from a country that is mostly a desert with very dry weather, my memorable snowfall experience is one for the books.