Sunday, June 26, 2011

RV Trip Part 6 - Grand Canyon National Park

Superlatives abound when it comes to the Grand Canyon. Over 270 miles long, 17 miles across at its widest point and over one mile deep, it almost defies description. Its origins are estimated to be around 17 million years old. A combination of the Colorado River and wind, rain and ice have carved out what is usually listed among the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. Hard to disagree. There are over 20 different layers of rock from top to bottom and while the Colorado Plateau continues to be pushed upwards, the river continues to grind downwards, so each year, the canyon gets a little bigger...

Driving in from the east, we climbed steadily from an altitude of about 4,000 feet at Cameron to over 7,000 feet at the South Rim. Our first sight of the Grand Canyon was at Desert View. Here we stopped for an hour or so and basically were stalled in awe by the grandeur of it all. The mighty river that carved the depths is just about visible as a ribbon over a mile below.

We made our way to the park's Trailer Village and after a quick dinner, hurried out to get some photo's of the sunset.

Next morning, I arose before sunup and got a couple more good pics from Mather Point.

Later in the day after a hearty breakfast, we used the park shuttle service and stopped at Hopi Point, Mohave Point and Hermits Rest. While waiting for the shuttle we met a man who began each sentence with "But last night..." (inside joke). At Bright Angel Trailhead we saw the mules that can be rented for a four legged ride to the bottom of the canyon. It is basically a two day trip, an overnight stay is required. We walked down into the canyon aways on the Bright Angel Trail, careful to avoid the by-product of mule. We did not venture down too far - maybe a half mile walk - but only a couple of hundred yards deep. It was a lot harder coming back up! Based on the warning signed, people frequently under-estimate the effort to hike down and back and have to be rescued. It is not recommended that you try the do the round trip the same day.

The Grand Canyon is magnificent and is up there with Niagara Falls in terms of stop-in-your -tracks take-your-breath-away stunning. Photo's do not do it justice and the sheer magnitude is hard to comprehend... next time we will make an effort to somehow get to the bottom - either by mule or by foot!

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