We all know the value of different perspectives. One way to increase perspective is to talk with others and hear how they view a situation or face a challenge. This can be very enlightening. This summer I found another way to gain perspective. And it was at the bottom of a canyon.

About 40 years ago I went to the Grand Canyon. Like many others I stood at the south rim in awe. I thought it was pretty amazing. I hiked down a bit, returned to my car and thought I’d seen the Grand Canyon. This summer I went deeper.

With the good fortune (for me) of people canceling their travel plans, my husband and I were able to reserve a spot on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Six days and five nights on the Colorado River. Rafting by day, stopping for some hiking and side canyon adventures along the way, and camping out under the stars at night. Now there’s new perspective.

We rafted 188 miles – Lees Ferry to the Whitmore Rapid – about the distance from NYC to Baltimore, or Seattle to Portland – and in that distance, we still didn’t do the entire Canyon! We departed from our raft after 6 days and another group came on board for 3 more days to raft the rest of the Canyon. Conclusion: The Canyon is HUGE! Seeing the Canyon from the top is certainly spectacular. I’m still trying to take in the enormity of the Canyon after seeing it from the river for 6 days. Consider – what you see from your initial point of view may be deceiving.

We went downhill! Over the course of the six days, we descended almost 1700 feet – one and a half times the height of the Eifel Tower. Much of this decent was as we went through rapids. However, there were times when peering out from the front of the raft looked as if we were truly going downhill on water. As we descended deeper into the gorge the rocks changed – significantly. The usual reds and oranges of the Canyon walls were no longer. We were now seeing black Vishnu Schist, woven with pink Zoroaster Granite – dating back 1.7 to 1.66 billion years! Eventually, after passing through the gorge, the usual sandstone and limestone colors returned. Consider – you may need to go deeper than you thought to get a different perspective.

Disconnecting can bring peace. Rafters and guides in our group totaled 37. For 6 days those are the only people I talked with – and there were lots of opportunities to be alone – or alone with one’s thoughts. The peace….no cell service. No text messages, no checking emails, no phone calls. In ways, this was the highlight of my trip. Being able to be present in the beauty of the Canyon during the day and laying on a cot looking up at the night sky was very perspective gaining. Consider – eliminating distractions and spending time in nature may help you find personal perspective.

Embrace the unexpected. I really didn’t know what to expect when I embarked on this adventure, and yet it turned out to be so much more that I imagined. The adventure, the beauty, the camaraderie, the calm, the thrill – all together it provided tremendous renewal and new perspectives. Not what I thought would happen on a rafting trip but oh so glad it did.