Every time I think about the Grand Canyon, my mind is flooded with intense photographic memories from my first and only visit to the destination.
I was touring with my now defunct band in the summer of 2006. As you likely know, it’s tough to make it as a musician–particularly if you’re on the road (read Emily Zemler’s newest piece on Alternative Press, No Money, Mo’ Problems: Why even successful bands struggle financially). When I use the phrase ‘make it’, what I’m referring to is making enough money to pay for gas to the next city; making enough money to buy peanut butter and bread. We were a band just breaking even at our best, which is actually kind of a feat in itself. But our budget wasn’t flexible and it certainly didn’t leave much room for excursions to places like the Grand Canyon. Our final decision to skip a few meals and just see the damn thing turned out to be one of our best decisions that summer.
The decision to visit the Grand Canyon took so required so much contemplative deliberation from us because it was $25 per car to enter (and still is). $25 goes a long way when you’re living off of oatmeal packets and boiling water from gas stations. But the Grand Canyon joined other national parks this past weekend, Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, in offering a free weekend.
How cool is that?
This national park is one that gets such overwhelming coverage for a reason: it’s simply amazing. If you missed out on the free weekend, let me assure you… the visit is worth the price, even if you find yourself collecting change from beneath the van seats just to get through.
[photo by Elizabeth Seward]