This reminds me of a planet concept where a planet is about... 300km larger in radius where the mountains extend well above the atmosphere except for an enormous crater where there is an "ocean" of life. Everything else is as barren as Mars.
I must admit when you mentioned the little man I kept looking in the canyon for him, thinking, How am I going to find a little guy in all those trees? Is this like looking for waldo? Then I saw him walking on the sand to the right of the canyon (Sorry to spoil it for anyone else lol). I felt kinda silly.