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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona USA

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Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona USA
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eliza24



Registered: April 2021
City/Town/Province: Flagstaff
Posts: 1
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Everything was in slow motion, my senses heightened to each sensation. I could feel my sun-warmed cheeks, flecked with frigid spray of whitewater. The frantic shouts of guides were barely audible above the furious roar of the river. As my eyes focused up ahead, everything seemed to fade into the background. Suddenly, the only thing I was aware of was the endless wall of water which stood, impenetrable, right in line with the tiny rubber bow of our boat. The current took control, smashing our raft and her passengers helplessly into the height of the rapid. Now, time slowed down as the distance between myself and the water grew closer. My gut clenched as I noted the way the current bashed water about unforgivingly, realizing I would be thrown in the middle of this chaos in mere seconds. Finally, gravity prevailed, and my fingers slipped from the boat line as I fell into the outstretched palm of the Colorado River. Freezing water drowned out all other senses; getting to oxygen was the sole focus as my body was tossed like a ragdoll underneath the waves, completely devoid of control. There was nothing I could do but hold my breath and wait for the river to spit me to the surface. Finally, sunlight flooded my vision, my lungs overwhelmed with a new appreciation for air. Now I took in the scene: our seemingly reliable boat had been completely overturned without a second’s hesitation from this mighty river.
That night I sat at our makeshift camp, looking up at the walls of the canyon, still worried about my baseball hat and Nalgene water bottle, which the river had claimed for herself that day. As I ran my hands through the warm sand, I came to a realization. This powerful river had humbled me like nothing before. She had given me the perspective to realize my true insignificance. I had embarked on this adventure willingly, and as a result, I now had a beautiful intimacy with this legendary place in a way almost no one else would ever get, but I had been too focused on the loss of my material possessions to truly appreciate this experience. The rocks in this canyon are over 1.75 billion years old, here since the formative years of our planet, but all I could think about was a 20-dollar, plastic water bottle.
As humans, we paint the false illusion of control; we build dams, cut down forests and create cities, all for our personal convenience and gain. But while a pair of oars and an 18 foot rubber raft may let us feel as though we are the ones making the decisions, we are a sliver of time in this Earth’s existence, truly insignificant in every aspect. Rivers will continue to rage, volcanoes will continue to erupt, trees will continue to grow, long after we’re gone, just like they did before we were here. My experience in the canyon pushed me beyond the limits of my comfort zone, but I emerged with a new-found wisdom and a perspective of the world that can only be obtained through such a transformative event. Crystal Rapid proved that no matter what we do to control our surroundings, each and every one of us is at the mercy of our own, unpredictable river of life, and we need to learn to respect the rapids, even if we end up swimming.
· Date: April 6, 2021 · Views: 701 · File size: 20.7kb, 743.5kb · : 1862 x 1396 ·
Hours Volunteered: 10
Volunteers: 12
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15 & 14 to 19
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