What comes to mind when you hear the word “grand?”
You could be a grand champion, you might sum up a grand total, you might define a grand example, or enjoy a grand time at a grand celebration perhaps in a grand ballroom. We use that word grand to describe something of importance or huge in size, concept, or appearance.
I bet it’s safe to say we’ve all viewed or experienced something grand in our lifetimes and the way we describe those occurrences influences what other people perceive about them.
Grand aspects of life often arrive in threes for Papa and me. I gave birth to three children, who we deem grand in importance to us, and we’ve been blessed with three grandchildren, certainly a grand occurrence.
Today on our Tuesday Tour, I’m sharing three grand sights Papa and I have been fortunate enough to have viewed.
The Grand Canyon in Arizona, of course, is the grandest of all. But we’ve also seen lesser “grand canyons.” Perhaps they pale in comparison to the big one, but we found them to be grand in their own way.
Visiting the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona has always been on our bucket list, and we made it there in March 2020 just as the you know what hit the news.
For much of our visit, that magnificent sight remained veiled behind a curtain of mist and fog but when it appeared in all its glory, we were mesmerized, inspired, and awe-struck at its sheer magnitude and beauty.
This past summer on a trip through upstate New York, we enjoyed traveling through the Adirondack Mountains and stumbled upon the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks, also known as the Ausable Chasm, located west of Lake Champlain near Keeseville, NY.
A unique, sandstone gorge that geologists say is 500 million years old, the vertically-walled canyon is approximately two miles long. The Ausable River flows through the chasm on its way to emptying into Lake Champlain.
Ausable Chasm is touted to be the oldest natural attraction in the United States since it became a tourist spot in 1870. A campground there includes sites with cabins as well as tent sites and RV hookups and amenities.
Visitors can hike and bike along more than five miles of trails, float down river on tubes or with guides on rafts, and rock climb or rappel on the sandstone walls during the summer. In spring and fall, many of those activities are still available with limitations. Even in the winter season, tours can be taken on snowshoe and ice cleats.
While we did not partake in any of the activities at Ausable Chasm, we did enjoy a short walk in an area where we could view portions of the gorge.
The other grand scene we viewed on that same trip occurred in New York’s neighboring state when we stopped at the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Located in the north central part of that state, this 47-mile long gorge, also known as Pine Creek Gorge, was carved by Pine Creek through the Tioga State Forest.
At its deepest point, the canyon is nearly 1500 feet. There are two vistas from which visitors can view this grand canyon: a 585-acre park on its east rim, Leonard Harrison State Park, and Colton Point State Park on the west rim.
We visited the Leonard Harrison park which had a very accessible walkway to view the forested canyon and Pine Creek below, a visitor’s center, and restroom facilities.
We lingered along the walkway captivated by the view and enjoyed briefly chatting with a few visitors there. Then we relished quiet solitude as we ate our picnic lunch nearby.
As beautiful as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania was in the summer, we can only imagine how spectacular it must appear in the fall. We’re hoping to take an autumn trip back there some time.
Having witnessed the tremendous power rushing water carves upon rock resulting in deep canyons, I can’t help but compare that action to life.
Sometimes life is so good, we feel like we are soaring on mountain tops. Yet other times, we find ourselves swept away by ravaging rivers of difficulties which result in sending us to lowlands or valleys of despair.
And if we allow it, we can become overwhelmed by how deep our canyons are.
But a way out, a climb out of the canyon, no matter how grand it may be, is always supplied by the One who provides exactly what we need just when we need it.
That same One created grand sights for us to view, sources of inspiration and beauty which ultimately show us His power and might.
If the God of the universe can create grand canyons, He can lift us out of despair and give us encouragement and hope. We just must reach for His hand.
“Life is supposed to be a series of peaks and valleys. The secret is to keep the valleys from becoming Grand Canyons.” ~ Bernard Williams