8 March 2017 Our Grand Canyon Adventures

     
     Vast, magnificent, and inarguably beautiful, is the Grand Canyon, and a natural wonder that you simply have to see to believe. Stretching 277 miles from end to end, steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River traces a swift course southwest.  The expanse brought to the fore, how insignificant we really are.

     
     It’s as if a paintbrush, dipped in golds and pinks and oranges and purples, swept over narrows and craggys in an area that’s an average of 10 miles wide (18 miles at its widest) and a mile deep with  layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history. The unique combinations of color are the result of the earth’s physical structure and forms that have been caused by one of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world.. All of these factors to decorate this work of art. 




      We stepped to the edge and still couldn’t take it all in. The immense size of the Grand Canyon is overwhelming our senses.  Snow remains in the park and as the direction of the sun alters the canyons appearance, so are the canyon formations highlighted by snow.





This guy had taken over someone's car roof and was squawking away.











      

     Pictures and paintings just can’t do it justice—it’s one of those things you have to see to believe. As with all sides of the Canyon, the South Rim features astounding views of what took Mother Nature millions and millions of years to create. That why it has earned the distinction as one of the world's Seven Wonders



     The Tuscan Pueblo Ruin was interesting to walk the area and try to visualize what life for those people might’ve been like 800 years ago. This ruin is just one of more than 4000 archaeological sites found within the Grand Canyon National Park. The site consists of a small, u-shaped pueblo featuring a living area, storage rooms, and a kiva, which is a room used by Puebloans for religious rituals and political meetings. Kivas are square-walled and underground and used for spiritual ceremonies. 

     Fortunately, the day we visited was a clear day and we were able to see the distant San Francisco Peaks. The Hopi Indians considered these mountains as sacred, believing that the spirits who lived there would bring rain and other blessings in the spring.


                                                San Francisco Peaks
     

     The Desert View Watchtower is a 70 foot tall circular stone building located on the eastern edge of the South Rim where the Colorado River begins to turn north and the Painted Desert is visible as it stretches toward the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. 
                The ceiling of the Watch Tower, 5th floor, looking up from first floor. 






    Each story of the Watchtower has several windows enabling us to gain different views of the Canyon and the surrounding area. The first floor displays a Hopi snake altar right in the center of the room.




      Walls and ceilings are covered in Native American symbols and pictographs. There’s a mural of the Hopi Snake Legend describing their cultural connection to the Grand Canyon. 




     The painting tells the story of a Hopi man who floated down the Colorado River through the canyon in a hollow log. We saw the film of the canyon and river at the IMAX and the river is ferocious. Difficult to fathom what his journey in his USS Hollow Log must’ve been been like after seeing the rambunctious and turbulent current in the river.


      On our final day we hiked the South Rim Trail. We so much wanted to hike the Bright Angel Trail but it was steep and still iced over. We did go part of the way to the 2 holes in the rock but didn't dare venture any farther. Not a good time in our lives for a broken hip.


                                                         Trails

     We saw so much more on the hike than we could've seen from the shuttle buses. Words fail me. Please forgive the endless photos but just can't bring myself to delete any.



Believe it or not, we've beat the spring and summer onslaught of tourists.




                                  This volcano hasn't erupted in 200,000 years.


                                                              An artist's palette

                                                                            Trails


A cleft in the rock

                                       Holes in the rock on the Bright Angel Trail

"When mules pass...."












                    Hole in the rock that's passable on Bright Angel Trail

     
      One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the canyon changes by the hour and by the season. Sunset and sunrise are experiences of a lifetime and the South Rim is the best place to experience the many moods of the canyon.There are museums that feature history, heritage, and geology, the IMAX movie and the National Park Service movie in the Park Visitor Center are very educational before visiting the park. There is so much to do in and around the South Rim. Our 5 day visit was truly memorable and something we'll always remember and cherish.

Bill and Laura
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ





Comments

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Special place. Carl has been three or four times and never grows tired of it. In 2015 we also spent a night at the North Rim. Different, but well worth the 100-mile one-way trip from the South Rim. Did sunset at the canyon hotel with a big crowd - inspiring!

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