It is intriguing to note that, even though Teddy Roosevelt traveled the world seeking adventure, one of his greatest experiences occurred in 1903 when he camped with John Muir near Yosemite’s Glacier Point. He was inspired and encouraged by Muir to initiate the American Antiquities Act which led to creating 18 National Monuments preserving over 230,000,000 acres. Together, they formed the foundation of what became the US National Park Service. It is also interesting to note that, regardless of visiting Grand Canyon several times, he overlooked what could have been a life-changing experience of hiking to the bottom of Grand Canyon.
On several occasions, Biodesign students suggested that if conflicting world leaders would only spend one night on top of Yosemite’s Half Dome, world peace would be achievable. Perhaps the same can be said about the same leaders peacefully walking to the bottom of Grand Canyon. About half way down the South Kaibab Trail there is a band of gray sandstone, which is less than ½ an inch thick. The geological guidebook suggests that the band took 10,000 years to form. Walking along the Colorado River, amidst Vishnu Schist (1.8 billion years old), makes the entire human history seem like a fleeting and not too important page of the history of our planet. Somehow, it is comforting to know, that after humans have ceased to live on this precious planet, the Grand Canyon will continue to keep time in million-year seconds. Who knows, maybe in another billion years other visitors will take the same trail down to the Colorado. Meanwhile, I had the awesome privilege of making that trek with 15 high school biology classes. It was a sacred trust to see Grand Canyon through their eyes.