I need to get to writing my next post. You know how you sometimes go on a vacation and forget how to get back into the groove of things when you get back? That's what I'm experiencing right now. I had this big, long post planned about the Geological History of the Grand Canyon. I was then going to follow it up with information about the history of the Grand Canyon as part of the United States National Park System. I thought that would be appropriate to compliment my recent trip to the Grand Canyon. However, having now visited the park, I think I need to just start with a post just to describe the experience.
Let's call this post:
Grand Canyon: Family History
This visit to the Grand Canyon was my first. I would say that this visit qualifies as a bit of family history in the making. My wife, Chris, was there with me. So was my Dad and my brother, Vince. My Dad and Vince flew into the Phoenix airport. Following a night chasing them around at a Wild West Octoberfest Themed Event at a place called Rawhide, we set off for a 4 hour drive to the Canyon. It was a loud ride there. If there is one thing my family knows how to do, it's raising their voices.
The entire ride there was debate and cross-examination, which on its own, could take a few months of writing to describe in full. My Dad is usually right on whatever topic he is discussing. My Brother is also right. Usually, they were taking opposite sides on most issues, with my Wife and I caught in-between. Of course, my GPS unit took us the long, wrong way to our hotel near the Canyon, so the ride took an hour longer than it needed to be. The family bickering went on, even once we arrived at the Grand Canyon.
However, as my Brother and Dad debated, I was able to pull away little genealogical facts from their conversations. Information about how and where my Dad grew up - Stuff that I didn't know about my Grandfather. I found out about how my Grandfather did a little motorcycle racing when he was younger and also about the accident that ended his amateur racing. These are all of the little things that build a more complete picture about who they are and how they got to be the way they are now. When putting together genealogical profiles to pass on someday in the distant future, these are the kinds of little facts that might be of interest to your descendants.
We finally made it to the Canyon. The sun began to rise; colors flared as the sun shifted shadows about the rocky outcroppings. Around the top of the South Rim, there were a couple of tourist spots like the Watch Tower. When we stopped at those spots, I made sure to pick up a bunch of maps and brochures. I thought that they could help us from getting lost and would be great ephemera to include in my collection with the various photos and stories I collected on the trip.
We spent about two and a half hours getting down the Bright Angel Trail into the Canyon; a dusty, windy path down the rock face. Well-worn and well-travelled, it was relatively easy going and we made it to the mile and a half marker. However, with my Dad’s age and condition, we decided it would be safest to go turn around rather than try to keep going. It took us nearly 5 hours to get back up out of the Canyon. Boy, were my calves stiff.
The Grand Canyon was epic and memorable. However, the time that I experienced with my family will be what I remember most. If I ever have kids, that will be the story that I will tell them; that will be the story I hope they tell to their kids. Your current living history is part of the genealogical record too. Listen. Live. Don’t just be an observer, be involved in your own family history.