{ Sunday Soliloquy } Operation Grand Canyon

posted in: Sunday Soliloquy, Travel | 2

[ so·lil·o·quy – the act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers ]

I am re-kindling an old feature on Splodz Blogz after those of you who completed my reader survey told me you liked my more personal ramblings. Thanks 🙂 While the rest of Splodz Blogz will hopefully become a bit more focussed from now on, this is my opportunity to go off topic. Posts will be varied, but each week I plan to share something interesting. Feel free to comment at the end of the article with your thoughts.

Did you see the BBC’s two-part documentary film on Dan Snow’s trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon over Christmas? Playing catch-up, I saw the second part a couple of days ago and have to say, found the whole thing absolutely fascinating.

Stood at the top of the Grand Canyon back in the summer, I looked down at the Colorado River one mile below (not really able to comprehend the depth), and thought to myself what an awesome river it must be. From where I was it looked bright blue, a bit green maybe, with some white bits in places – those white bits being the Colorado River’s notorious rapids. Jeff, our tour leader, commented that he’d been offered a one month tour along that very river later in the summer, and I thought he was a bit odd that he said no, but then you can’t ride a motorbike through the gorge can you!

The Grand Canyon from the helicopter

The Grand Canyon from the air, June 2014.

The premise of Operation Grand Canyon was for Dan Snow to follow in the footsteps of adventurer Major John Wesley Powell and row down one of the world’s deepest gorges to see it from the inside. It was a trip for science, with opportunities to study the geology of the Canyon and look in detail at its path. Of course once you are inside the Grand Canyon there is little chance of getting out until the Colorado River spits you out the other end; there is no turning back and paddling up stream. Tackling it is no mean feat, and you could tell that Dan Snow and his team were all incredibly fit and strong and ready for the challenge of rowing those wooden boats through some quite incredible but treacherous scenery. Even if they did fall out with each other on occasion.

I don’t think there are many people like John Wesley Powell any more – the pioneers of exploration. In today’s world there is little chance that you will ever be the first person to discover something; all the land and sea has pretty much been mapped out (and we can probably see it on Google Street View). It takes BBC documentary film makes to remind us what it was like before GPS and outboard motors by re-telling the stories of people who are heroes of discovery.

The Grand Canyon from the helicopter

You can just about make out some rapids in this shot from a helicopter taken on our Wild West trip in June 2014. 

I would absolutely love to be involved in an adventure like that. Really. Okay so the deadly water, snakes and mouldy rations (and disgusting feet thanks to being constantly wet) are a little off-putting. But taking part in a first-of-its-kind trip to hopefully discover something no-one else yet knew about would be quite awesome.

The question is: Would I start along a path knowing that the only way out was to keep going no matter what? Especially if that path was one of the lesser trodden routes and might well be difficult both physically and mentally. Would you?

Life is all about the journey. Is there anything left for us to discover? And if there is… would you go exploring?


2 Responses

  1. Shybiker

    I applaud your desire for adventure. I share that impulse. You’re right that in today’s world, there are few opportunities for exploration but it’s a good aspiration.

    • Splodz

      Thank you. I think having a desire to learn, try and see new things is one of the main things that makes us human. We must choose to follow that desire. I know you do and I love you for that 🙂

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