“If you get lost down there, just start a signal fire!” “Is that Canada over there?” “Look mom, the squirrel eats Crayons.” Ah, the sounds of spring along Grand Canyon’s South Rim. For the thousand or so year-round park residents, the slow-as-molasses pace of winter in an empty park has been replaced by a visitor-fueled frenzy in just a matter of weeks.
Each year the twin engines of Spring break and Easter Week herald the beginning of what’s collectively known by GC residents as the “busy season.” The pace will quicken after Memorial Day, relax a tad after Labor Day, and taper off completely through the Thanksgiving holiday; after which the few of us remaining will have a chance to ask each other “what was that?”
Seriously, these park visitation rhythms are part and parcel of living on the edge. As locals, our energies (and in many cases our paychecks) are calibrated to the inevitable seasonal pulses of activity that come with 4.5 million annual visitors. Yes, the arrival of the tourists means we have to suddenly endure a few more lines, and shoe the occasional picnicking family off our back porch. But it also means connecting with old friends, making new acquaintances, and sharing our enthusiasm for the Canyon with people every corner of the globe. Most locals agree that it’s not a bad trade-off. And heaven knows you can’t beat the views.