oprah at grand canyon

Photo: Ruven Afanador

I visited the Grand Canyon in 1993, but I didn’t really see the place. I was with Gayle, Stedman, and Bob Greene, filming for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Our schedule was so tight, we had to hike down the canyon and be back in Chicago by the next day. I was just putting one foot in front of the other—getting through it instead of being in it. (Also, I was carrying Gayle’s backpack because she’d broken down and said, “I don’t think I can make it!” Whoever said “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” never carried 45 pounds of their sister-friend’s gear.)

On this recent trip, my only plan was to be present. Stedman, Gayle (yes, we actually brought her again!), and I got up in the wee hours, wrapped ourselves in blankets, and waited for dawn. The words "amazing" and "awesome" don’t even come close to capturing what was in store: "magnificent," "majestic," "sacred" are more like it. To watch the morning light illuminate the shadowed crevices of the canyon, as the sky turns a truly astonishing blue, is to witness one of the most miraculous wonders of the world.

I took my time. I took it in. And I’ll keep it with me forever. This country is filled with splendor, right there to inspire—even change—us. We just have to open our eyes.
oprah stedman

"No ringing phones. No minicrisis that needs an immediate response. No meeting that I’m already running late for. Just sky and sand, mountains and sunshine, and one extraordinary man to share it all with!" — Oprah

Thanks to Grand Canyon National Park and Xanterra Parks and Resort.


Shirt, $70, Coldwater Creek.
T-shirt, $35, Gap.
Socks, $20 for 2 pairs; pants, $69, L.L.Bean.
Boots, $170, Merrell.

oprah gayle at grand canyon

"Hiking requires no particular skill, only two feet and a sturdy pair of shoes. You set the pace. You choose the trail. You lock into a certain rhythm with the road, and that rhythm becomes your clarion song." — Oprah

Vest, $350, Canada Goose.
Zip-up, $145, Alala.
Pants and boots, L.L.Bean.
Sunglasses, Allied Metal Works.

Vest, $179, and shirt, $59, Patagonia.
oprah hiking grand canyon

"On our first Grand Canyon trip, Gayle heard a wild animal at 2 a.m., so she woke us all up and had to sleep in Bob’s tent. Coyotes, mountain lions, bears—hey, who wouldn’t be scared? In the morning, she told me the wild animal was a mouse, 'but it sounded like it was coming toward me!' I was not a happy camper." — Oprah

Shirt, $69.50, Talbots.
Pants and boots, L.L.Bean.
Backpack, $185, Fjallraven.
oprah stedman grand canyon

"Sometimes when you plan a little less, you experience a little more." — Oprah

Zip-up, $118, Lululemon.
Pants, L.L.Bean.
Hat, $89, Tilley.
Boots, Merrell.

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