I cross the Eastern entrance to the Grand Canyon, and come across a sign for the Desert View Watchtower. It’s early, yet the parking lot is filling up quickly. I find an open spot and follow the trail down to the canyon’s rim.
The tower is an omnipresent structure in this open landscape of the desert southwest. I find that it is not an actual remaining artifact of the Native Americans, but a replica created by American architect Mary Colter, who designed many of the buildings around the canyon in the 1930’s.
It’s purpose is to showcase the life of the Pueblo Indian, with re-created drawings inside the walls. You feel the powerful presence of the Great Spirit as you walk up the stairs.
Outside the watchtower I marvel at the canyon’s beauty as I stand at the edge. A butte off in the distance seems to have a special aura about it. As I stare at the butte I see a small placard in stone to my right.
In 1956, a group of wealthy socialites were viewing the majesty of the Grand Canyon in a TWA airplane. A United Airlines Douglas DC-7 plane was viewing the area at the same time and struck the TWA plane mid-air.
All 128 passengers from the planes perished. The remoteness of the butte still holds wreckage from the planes, as the area is too remote for it to be retrieved.
I think about how life can be changed in an instant, one moment the feeling of euphoria gliding over one of the seven wonders of the world, the next is one of permanent darkness as your light is snuffed out forever.