By Michael Lanza
This is, in a way, a story about addiction. Or a love affair. Or both. Those metaphors best describe how the Grand Canyon constantly lures me back when I’m thinking about spring and fall hiking and backpacking trips.
It is that rare kind of natural environment that exists on a scale of its own, like Alaska or the Himalaya. There’s something soul-stirring and hypnotic about its infinite vistas, the deceptive immensity of the canyon walls and stone towers, and the way the foreground and background continually expand and shrink as you ascend and descend elevation gradients of a vertical mile or more—all of which validates enduring the wilting heat and trails that sometimes seem better suited to bighorn sheep than to bipedal primates.