The Grand Canyon — its majestic beauty, plunging walls, and photographic sunsets are the iconic image of Arizona. Thousands of hikers have traversed the pathways of the mighty canyon, but very few have ventured off the safe paths into unmarked, perilous parts of the canyon. MCC’s Life Science faculty, Andrew Holycross, is one of those rare hikers, returning from a 70 day, 700 mile hike following the Colorado River.
Months of planning and years of preparation went into this hike. Holycross began preparing years ago, hiking into the canyon countless times. For this hike that only two others have completed he also had to arrange for food to be air-vacked to crucial points on their route, apply for a sabbatical, and purchase a satellite, emergency-only phone.
While on this journey, Andrew Holycross saw in detail the layout of the Grand Canyon, the path of the Colorado, and the plants and animals who make the Grand Canyon their home. Andy Baldwin, the Chair of the Life Sciences department, says, “Andrew is one of the most observant people I have ever met.” It follows that from this excursion, Andrew Holycross may make several important discoveries. He may help explain the effects of tourism and invasive species, and perhaps even discover new species.
His expedition will enable him to bring firsthand knowledge to his students, adding to his dynamic style of teaching. Holycross is already loved by students for his knowledge and expertise in the area; many claim he is the best teacher they have ever had. This expedition will further that knowledge, to the benefit of his students and MCC.