I am often asked whether certain destinations become old or boring to me after visiting them so many times. Take, for instance, the Grand Canyon.
This next trip will mark my 17th visit to this natural wonder of the world. I've seen it from dozens of viewpoints. I've hiked any trail that my passengers weren't on (since as guides it's against the rules to hike with our passengers in this park.) I've been flown over the canyon in a helicopter as well, which (if you can afford it) is an absolutely unbeatable experience. So at this point, I'm pretty accustomed to the goosebumps that I get every time I see it. However, it is still without a doubt one of my favorite places to take a group.
My personal style of showing the canyon to my group begins with having them design and construct blindfolds for themselves. They can get a big brown bag and color a crazy face on it to put over their heads, they can design a paper plate which we will tie around their face, or they can just cut up some sheets and pillowcases to tie around their faces. I get creative as far as finding ways to blindfold them, but I hope to have each of them blindfolded in some way. Then, we get to the canyon, they line up and put their hands on each others shoulders, and blindly follow me.
Me and my group at the Grand Canyon – before the big reveal
En route from van to canyon, while the group shrieks and laughs at themselves, loads of other tourists are laughing at us and snapping pictures of the spectacle that we've made of ourselves, until I finally manage to get them all lined up along the rim, ready for the big reveal. Here comes my favorite part... telling them all to take off their blindfolds and just try to soak in the vast, beautiful masterpiece in front of them. Seeing the looks on their faces as they witness something so beautiful and knowing that I made that experience just a little more special for them... that's something I don't think I'll ever get sick of.