June 14, 2013


Canyons are a bad idea.

As my family and I roadtripped around the American Southwest at the end of May, we saw a lot of them. They're fissures in the earth, weird yawning abysses. I thought of Dante's Inferno or C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce. In fact, it looks like I wasn't the only one:

A sign from the Grand Canyon shuttle route
Canyon hiking is an especially bad idea. Besides the abnormal elevation at the rim, the increasing temperature as you descend, the arid landscape that sucks out your body moisture, the sheer drops at every turn, the risk of poisonous snakes and scorpions, possible claustrophobia, and rapidly changing weather conditions, you have to deal with this fact:

Down is optional, up is mandatory
Unlike with mountain hiking, in a canyon you hike downhill first, while you're fresh. But you'd better hike to only about 1/3 of your energy--because then it's twice as hard to come back up. When you're already tired.

So canyon hiking is a really bad idea.


...if we never took risks...

...if we never ran with an idea that might fail...

...if we never did anything just a little bit crazy...

...we'd miss out on this.

Bryce Canyon, Utah

And this.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

And this.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Sometimes risks aren't worth the payoff. And of course you have to plan for them accordingly. But sometimes...maybe unexpectedly...risks can reveal life's beauty.

Ever taken a risk that made you glad you did? 


  1. So glad Yu took the "risks". U would have loved the "slot" canyons we did! Nice blog my dear. Good to step outside the comfort zone sometimes. :)

    1. Thanks, Rosie! I think Antelope Canyon is considered one of the "slot canyons"--it actually triggered my claustrophobia :P But sooo worth it!

  2. I will content myself with looking at your pictures, which are very lovely. ;-)

    1. Haha, vicarious risk-taking :) Sounds like the writer's life to me!