Grand Canyon National Park at 100: Man goes on long hikes to save him


(CNN) – Pete McBride is worried about the Grand Canyon, so he decided to go through it.


A few years ago, the filmmaker, photographer and adventure writer filmed the Colorado River Road and was amazed to find that the river no longer reaches the ocean.

The river "flooded the sea for six million years and stopped there two decades ago," said McBride, who has traveled to 75 countries for a multitude of publications and publications. projects over the last 20 years.

The trip "made me change my orientation, so now I photograph a lot around conservation, freshwater and public lands".

After traveling Mount Everest and documenting nature in Antarctica, he did not think that the Grand Canyon needed his images to survive.

"I figured the Grand Canyon was one of the most protected landscapes on the planet, so it was not necessary to have another photographer take pictures. "

Learn about the current threats on the canyon has changed in the opinion.

One of the seven natural wonders

One of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Grand Canyon is one of the most photographed landscapes in the world.

The Grand Canyon is about five or six million years old, but the rocks at the bottom of the canyon date back about two billion years ago. Human artifacts dating back nearly 12,000 years, dating back to the Paleo-Indian period, have been discovered and have been continuously occupied today.

The US government was the first to protect the Grand Canyon National Park, which celebrates its centennial in February 1893, when Congress resisted the efforts of US President Theodore Roosevelt to make it a national park, which required Congress approved it as a national monument in 1908, which it could do without their help. It became Grand Canyon National Park on February 26, 1919.
"In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder that has never been compared to the world," said Roosevelt at the time. "I hope you will not have any building, summer cottage, hotel, or anything else, to ruin the splendor, the sublimity, the great loneliness and the beauty the canyon, leave it as it is, you can not improve it. "
For eight hours in one day, McBride captured 263 helicopter flights and 40 boat trips on the southwestern boundary of the Grand Canyon and transformed them into this merged image.

For eight hours in one day, McBride captured 263 helicopter flights and 40 boat trips on the southwestern boundary of the Grand Canyon and transformed them into this merged image.

Peter McBride

Given this illustrious story, McBride was surprised to learn, from people working in and around Grand Canyon National Park, that the canyon was under multiple threats.

They come from increases in the number of helicopters, tramway proposals to the bottom of the canyon, proposed tourism projects and uranium drilling. (The threat of uranium is not a hypothetical question: three buckets of uranium ore have been stored at the park museum for nearly two decades, according to a park employee who was returned February, Federal officials investigate his report.)

Some of the developers who wish to make money outside the park are not native to the area, but some are Native American tribes who have seen others enjoy it for decades.

A park under development

Pete McBride (right) and Kevin Fedarko (left) have decided to walk the Grand Canyon, even though there is no trail for most of the time.

Pete McBride (right) and Kevin Fedarko (left) have decided to walk the Grand Canyon, even though there is no trail for most of the time.

Peter McBride

Most visitors spend only a few minutes on the south shore and only enjoy this famous view of the Grand Canyon National Park, ignoring the role of the canyon as a home for ancient peoples, animals and plants, and threats and economic pressures.

McBride has decided to travel the canyon up and down, a journey of 150 km (a few miles).

There was no track to follow for him. And the hike would include gain and altitude loss of about 100,000 vertical feet, unstable rock and temperatures ranging from 8 to 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

"I do not know why I had the idea to walk on it," he says, there is no trail on a long distance. "I thought it would be a challenge, but I did a lot of things in the backcountry and the wilderness and I thought it might not be that difficult." And oh, how much I I made a mistake."

When McBride and his friend writer Kevin Fedarko started planning their hike, they convinced Rich Randow, an experienced Grand Canyon hiker, to let them participate in his September 2015 hike.

It did not go well.

Loaded with too much photographic equipment and unprepared for the impact of extreme heat on their bodies, the canyon made them sick and disoriented, forcing them out on the sixth day, as Fedarko later wrote in National Geographic.

Back in Flagstaff, Arizona, McBride was diagnosed with hyponatremia, a heat-induced imbalance of salts and minerals that could have killed him.

There would be no hiking.

In fact, McBride and Fedarko planned to quit smoking while they were getting medical care and recovering from their first attempt. But local hikers and environmental advocates of Native Americans convinced them to complete the trip in order to draw attention to this magnificent natural wonder.

Hiking two weeks

It was so cold that McBride placed the batteries in his camera under his armpits to keep them warm.

It was so cold that McBride placed the batteries in his camera under his armpits to keep them warm.

Peter McBride

During the five weeks of October, they planned a hike including two to three week hikes starting from November 2015 to March 2016, often bringing more experienced hikers to the Grand Canyon, traveling about 15 miles a day and 150 -200 miles per trip, completing about 600 miles before the summer.

They skipped hiking during the hot, hot summer months – but still photographed the park – and finished their last two-week stint at the end of October 2016.

"There is no trail for 70 to 80% of it, so you have to find your way and learn to find water.You must make sure that you do not get stuck on a cliff, stay alive, "said McBride. "It's a great lesson of humility and self-reliance and bringing harmony with our natural world."

McBride crossed eight pairs of shoes in 13 months, crossed four sprained ankles, two broken fingers, this case of hyponatremia, lost two friends and even upset her heart, requiring an operation of the heart.

The lessons he has learned, the wisdom he has acquired, the humility he has acquired – all this, plus a rigorous selection of his images, have been more than enough to fill his book.

Here are some of his discoveries during his journey, in his own words and adapted from his book:

It can be seen from the space

The canyon takes on a different beauty at night.

The canyon takes on a different beauty at night.

Peter McBride

"Despite my fatigue, I often stayed awake at night: sometimes too hip and worried about finding water and sometimes bewitched by the star spray above us." Kevin (Fedarko) describes this sweeping Heavenly as a second river – one that reflects Colorado's mainland below us.

"Being inside the planet's only visible canyon of the planet gives you the impression of being tiny. And when you look at the sky, you realize that one of the Unspoken wonders of this landscape is the clarity of its night sky – one of the few landscapes of America Without a layer of light pollution, I am lost in the space above and in the thought that Mother Nature is still queen in some areas.

"When I go to sleep, I hear Kevin taking audio notes (easier than writing when he's tired), a hundred feet away from me.It's so quiet that I think that He is five feet away and describes these moments "under the river of stars" as if "the canyon holds us in the palm of his hand".

A silence so deep

It was so quiet at night.

It was so quiet at night.

Peter McBride

"When you get past the roar of the river inside the canyon, the silence is so deep and so old that it escapes description." Sometimes my ears ring out because I'm not sure. try to listen so loud to something that does not exist. " At other times, the void is so deep that I wonder if it belongs to another world – a world we have long forgotten.

"In the evening or early in the morning, Kevin and I can converse in a low voice and tired, even if we are at the end of a football field.

"The same thing happens when we walk, but if a single rocky coast separates us, we will not hear ourselves screaming loudly, as if sometimes our voices can not pierce the blanket of silence that envelops us. "

The unfiltered night sky

The overlapping colors are magical.

The overlapping colors are magical.

Peter McBride

"The clarity of Kevin's" river of stars "is encircled by the distant glow of Las Vegas and St. George, Utah, otherwise through the sweeping of erosion, rock and In the meantime, there is no sign of civilization before. Of course, we see flashing jets above, mostly to Los Angeles, but they go out after midnight.

"It's so quiet that you can lie in the morning, and you can hear the distant brush of the bat wings as they go out looking for insects, and you can hear the little clatter of sheep's clogs. on a layer of rock that could be 1,000 feet below you.

"We just do not have such a deep silence … it made me understand how magical it is and what noisy world we live in."

"I think it was part of the magic where it has changed to a certain extent, and I am now very aware of the noise and the silence.This is not a silence without sounds.C & # 39; is a silence without the chaotic sound of human sounds.This is a silence those sounds of rich wildlife that we have forgotten or our senses are not used to hearing. "

You too can go further in the canyon

You do not need to rappel into the canyon to explore it more deeply.

You do not need to rappel into the canyon to explore it further.

Peter McBride

While many visitors visit only the south shore or take a short (and noisy) helicopter ride to see the canyon, McBride says there is a better way to enjoy this beautiful national park without risking its live in a one year adventure.

Bring a hat, good hiking shoes and plenty of water and choose to spend the day at the canyon beyond a few minutes on the south shore. "Make the experience away from vehicles, you can do it in different ways."

Visitors can hike the canyon, remembering that hiking is twice as difficult. Visitors can also mule down the canyon or make a round trip and hike in the other direction.

Bicycle enthusiasts can rent bicycles and take the bike path along the south shore or mountain bike on the north shore trail (open seasonally). Wheelchair users will find accessible trails, including the Time Trail and parts of the Rim Trail.

The more rustic can take two-thirds of the route in the canyon (with all your equipment) and camp at the Indian Garden campsite, where drinking water is available. There are also rafting trips for each skill level.

Listen to the sounds

Look and listen to beauty.

Look and listen to beauty.

Peter McBride

If you take the time to listen to the sounds of the canyon, McBride tells you that it could change you.

"The silence of this natural wonder contrasts with the noise we make everywhere, even as the canyon invites us to carry some of that silence within us as we return to the world beyond boundaries," writes McBride.

"While I was wondering if some of my images had captured this, I asked myself an even deeper question: Is it possible that this foot trip, combined with the photographic recordings that it has rendered, helps to illuminate and to emphasize what we all share – and what we risk losing – if we fail to protect this vast abyss by renouncing the urge to transform its beauty into money and simply leaving it as such what is it?

"Although the answer to this question lies with others, I know one thing: After spending so many months in the silence and magic of the seventh natural wonder of the world, I know that there is only one place that looks and sounds like that. "

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