Our family fulfilled a long-held dream last week of traveling to the Grand Canyon. Camping in the area was made tolerable by the fact that the 17oF nighttime low ensured that the daytime gloppy mud was nicely frozen over in the mornings.
Although the older kids & husband hiked down into the Canyon, I stayed up top along the Rim Trail with the little ones who were (thankfully) cautious about getting close to the edge. Tourists were speaking at least 7 different languages, that I could tell. Parents were kept busy answering their kids’ questions: “How deep is it?” (about a mile) “Why is it so hazy?” (smog from LA) “Where’s the potty?”
And of course, “How did it get here?” I overheard several different responses on this one:
“The river ate away at the rock for millions of years.”
“This whole area used to be at the bottom of a great big sea. The sea dried up, the land rose and the river eroded its way through the layers.”
“I don’t know.”
Notably absent were any creationist explanations. Now sure, this is hardly a scientific sampling, and my “methodology” relied on blatant eavesdropping . . . but it’s still reassuring.
We stopped in four of the five South Rim bookstores run by the Grand Canyon Association. In 2003,the National Park Service made the controversial decision to stock a creationist book in their “Science” section featuring creationist versions of the Canyon’s formation.
The good news? I searched through the “Science” and “Spiritual” sections of each of those stores, and the book wasn’t on the shelves of either section. Sure, this might mean that it’s so popular that it’s out of stock . . . and it is still available online.
The official National Park Service visitor centers featured some nicely-designed displays which weren’t coy at all about the millions of years of Canyon history.
All in all, some reasons for hope.