Grand Canyon: Traveling below the edge of the abyss
Natalie M. Hinojos,
Special to The Monitor:
A canyon that extends 277 river miles, stretches 18 miles wide and cuts a mile deep has attracted Southwest Adventure Outdoor Recreation for a four-day hike through the monumental terrain Friday through Monday.
Listed as number two of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, according to Sevennaturalwonders.org, the Grand Canyon is recognized because of the overall scale and size combined with beautifully colored landscape.
“The Grand Canyon is consistently rated as the number one most picturesque national park of America,” said John Limon, chief programmer for Fort Bliss’ Outdoor Recreation. “It is one of those places that’s a bucket list trip for a lot of people. We can provide that for a very minimal cost.”
Southwest Adventure has been an active program for the Fort Bliss community, bringing a variety of activities for Soldiers, families, retirees and civilians to do here around the Fort Bliss and El Paso area.
“Outdoor Recreation gives Soldiers, families, civilians and retirees something to do with their time, especially Soldiers in the barracks with nothing to do,” said Limon. “We want to give them something cool, something new, something they would never think of doing on their own.”
Limon, an El Paso native, has been teaching outdoor survival for five years, has worked for the Army as a programmer for more than two years and is a registered rock climbing specialist. Limon sets up the places to travel to for backpacking, and rock and rope climbing around a 12-hour perimeter in the El Paso and Fort Bliss area.
This weekend two groups will hike down the canyon with all the equipment on their backs and spend the night. One group will travel up to the rim of the canyon, staying for two nights, while the other group will extend their stay at the bottom and then hike up to the rim the next day.
“Because of the way the reservation process is at the Grand Canyon, reservations were limited to keep both groups together throughout the trip,” said Limon.
Special equipment to be used during the trip will be provided by Outdoor Recreation. Such equipment includes:
• Sleeping bags
• Sleeping pads
• Camp stoves
• Eating utensils
• Cook sets – small pots, pans and drinking cups
• Two meals – Participants will be instructed what foods will be appropriate to take.
Participants should provide their own necessities such as warm traveling clothes, toiletries and any additional items (provided they are able to carry them throughout the trip).
The trip lasts four days including driving to and from the site. Outdoor Recreation has programmed all long-distance trips within four-day weekends. The Grand Canyon trip will be during Columbus Day weekend so Soldiers can request a pass. Although registration is already closed for the Grand Canyon trip, an upcoming trip to Canyonlands National Park located in southeastern Utah will be available Nov. 9 through 12.
To learn more about Southwest Adventure Outdoor Recreation, visit www.blissmwr.com/SouthwestAdventure.
To register for upcoming events, call 744-5105 or visit the ITR leisure travel center at the Soldier Activity Center located at 20732 Constitution Ave. at East Fort Bliss.
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