One place that I hope to visit one day is the Grand Canyon National Park, located in Arizona. What attracts me most towards this beautiful place is not only the stunning rocky view but the Colorado River that flows between it. The Grand Canyon is 6,000 feet deep, enough to fit FIVE Empire State Buildings on top of one another. The river that flows between the bends and curves of the Grand Canyon is the Colorado River which is 277 miles, but the actual hike is around 750 miles. That is 110 miles short of hiking as much as the length of California. The Colorado River is essentially a lifeline as it supports 40 million people across seven states and two countries.
I knew that I wanted to learn more about it and was aware the Disney+ had some National Geographic films on its platform. Luckily, when I was perusing through films to watch on Disney+, I came across a stunning photo of the beautiful canyon and decided to give it a try!
The second that I hit play, my hands started sweating as I watched a man walk along the literal edge of the Grand Canyon overlooking an intense drop into the Colorado River. This brave soul is named Pete McBride, a photographer whose dream was to someday explore the Grand Canyon on foot after he heard about the controversial project being proposed for increased development. The reason why this project, called the Escapade Development Project, was drawing controversy: it would cover 420 acres of Navajo land, down to the canyon floor. The Navajo people are protesting against the Uranium Landmine development that is taking place within the canyon that could end up in their territory. The Navajo are not the only tribes living in the Grand Canyon; there are two other tribes that nearly share territory with the National Parm, where the larger part of the Colorado River meets the smaller Colorado River called the Confluence. The documentary really places significance on how the Grand Canyon National Park is a hot topic of debate between the Tribes and the developers. Unfortunately, the developers genuinely don’t think they’ll have any impact on the Grand Canyon through their operations there since the best place to find Uranium in the world there. Much of the documentary covers their encounter with the Navajo tribe who continue to fight for the Escapade Development Project to end and the Escapade Bill to be rejected.
Pete McBride was able to convince his good friend Kevin Fedarko to hike the Grand Canyon with him. At first, the two friends tackled the most difficult section of the Canyon. Needless to say, they were ill-prepared and over-packed for their trip and they were barely able to make it through the sweltering heat on the first day. One thing led to the next, and after a few days, they couldn’t finish the hike because they had a sprained ankle or were suffering from dehydration. They went back home and restructured their plan and divided their hike into four sections across one whole year; they even packed lighter and packed better nutrition. This time, McBride and Fedarko were led by Kelly, Mathiew, and Harland who are all guides of the Grand Canyon recommended by their friend Rich Rudow, a Grand Canyon Hiking Veteran. Through the videos and the photographs, it was breathtaking to watch the seasons alter the view of their hike every time they go back.
Their journey really brings to light the advantages that we have as a society. Finding access to water is very much a challenge for them as they scavenged for potholes that had water to fill up their water bottles. Finding uncontaminated water was equally, if not more, challenging because the contamination was caused in part by the development of the proposed Escapade project. This is definitely a reminder of how interconnected this entire landscape is, and how the rest of the eco-system is interconnected. For example, as explained in the documentary, “the water slopes into drainages that feed into the canyon, which feed into the Colorado River, which flows right into Lake Mead, which provides drinking water to 40 million Americans, right? Everything that happens on the rim of the Grand Canyon profoundly affects what happens inside of the Grand Canyon. That will have a profound effect on that matrix of life. Those consequences are enormous.”
From the river to the ledges of the Grand Canyon, from the bare naked rock with no designated hiking trails, to the unmatched beauty of the national park, this NatGeo documentary is worth watching!
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