The Grand Canyon: A Place so Quiet yet Speaks a Lot!

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When I was selected for Humphrey Fellowship Program at ASU, I already knew that I had to go to the Grand Canyon. Who wouldn’t want to go to the Grand Canyon if they were in Arizona? In fact, people who don’t live in Arizona should plan to come here, just to go to the Grand Canyon. I was very excited to visit this place. In September, all Humphrey Fellows at ASU were finally going to visit one of the greatest wonders of the world. We took the train and settled in a dome-like section that had a glass ceiling—these were the best seats on the train. We could see beautiful views during the journey, not knowing that the destination had a more incredible sight to see.

My group and I had lunch together at the Grand Canyon before hiking along the trail. To note, if you are a vegetarian, you will find few to no options. I found something to eat, even though I didn’t like it, but I ate it to prepare myself for hiking. When I was preparing for this trip, I thought it was going to be cold so I brought my jacket with me. However, the weather was extremely hot, so I decided to leave my jacket on our bus. I separated from my group, and I walked to the bus. When I finally got to it, it passed by me and didn’t stop as parking wasn’t allowed at that place. I walked to follow the bus, however, I lost sight of it. I waited for a while but couldn’t find it, and then I decided to go back to my group for hiking. I walked up to the Hopi village where we were supposed to start our hike. I tried to find my group but couldn’t find anyone. In addition, my phone didn’t have any network signals to make a call to anyone. I tried to find free Wifi to make a call on Whatsapp but couldn’t connect to it. I asked a few people who were visitors if they had any network signals, but it turned that they also didn’t have any. Now, it was me, the jacket that started the whole situation, and my phone with no signal. I had to decide what to do: either wait for the group or start the hike, as we had limited time. I was looking forward to this trip for a long time and I didn’t want to waste it sitting, waiting, and doing nothing. So, I found myself going to see one of the seven natural wonders of the world all alone–without mobile network, internet, and any company or friend. Fortunately, I had the map of the Grand Canyon that was provided to us in the train. Although I am not good with maps, I thought it will help me, and it did.

As I had no company, friend, or group, I was not talking, but seeing, observing, and thinking deeper. It was such a beautiful sight to see. No words and no pictures could justify the beauty of the Grand Canyon. On my way along the trail, I found some visitors taking pictures of each other. On the right side, there were people talking and laughing, and on my left side, was the wonderful sight of the Grand Canyon–a place seemed so quiet yet, had so much to say. I paid attention and tried to listen to it. It was telling me stories about volcanoes erupting 200,000 years ago. The Grand Canyon’s rocks are incredibly old. Its oldest known rock is called the Elves Chasm Gneiss, and it is 1840 million years old. I could touch the oldest rock which came from bottom of the Canyon. Different colors of the layers of the rocks can lead you millions of years back.

Along the trail, I met friendly strangers, asked them to take pictures for me and I also took pictures for them. On the way, I saw a cute elk sitting under a tree, oblivious of the surroundings. I made sure she was unaware about my presence. I am not sure about the age of the elk but animal life at Grand Canyon appeared 630 million years ago, and there are other kinds of animals, may be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I completed the hike and, in the end, I asked a few visitors again if there was any network on their phone, someone had one signal and I could make a call to connect with my group; it was how I finally met with my colleagues in the parking lot. After I got out of those mesmerizing scenes of the Grand Canyon, I realized that I needed to change my mobile network.

I came back with many lessons and an urge to visit the Grand Canyon once again!

About Anum Hanif

Anum Hanif is a journalist in Pakistan with more than eight years of experience in media. She has been working as a senior associate producer at Express News in Pakistan, covering political and social issues. She has previously worked at Neo News and Daily Jang. Hanif holds a master’s in philosophy degree in mass communication from Institute of Communication Studies University of the Punjab. As a Humphrey Fellow, Hanif hopes to learn about leadership, innovation in digital journalism and documentary production. She also hopes to expand her understanding of media practices in other countries through interaction with the other Fellows.

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