Approximately 218 miles (ca. 351 km) away from the Petrified Forest National Park, we drove to the Grand Canyon, which is a very deep and spectacular canyon in Arizona, USA.
Beneath the Canyon, Colorado River is thought to have reached rock bottom after millions of years of digging into the softer layers of the crust of the Earth while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. At least, this is the widely accepted explanation of the origin of the Canyon.
While driving along the rim of the canyon towards the East entrance, it was interesting to see the landscape changing. As we were advancing, on our right side, we could see the cracks in the plateau stretching far into the land. But, from the road, at times one almost had no clue of what inferno cracks of doom stretched far inside towards the bowels of the earth. We were taken aback at the thought sported that a river like the Colorado River can dig such abyssal pits.
While we were gaping at the scenery, we were casually musing on the alternative explanation proposed by scientists that don't buy the accepted yet unproved theory of the millions of years Canyon being dug by the puny Colorado River. What if these scientists are right who say that land activity of cataclysmic proportions coupled with a great Flood (the same that quickly buried the giant trees in the Petrified Forest 200 miles away) swept this once flat and peaceful area? Food for thought…
A wonderful thing this time when we visited the Grand Canyon was that our kids are older and more cautious around tremendous heights. Not so when we first visited, a few years ago, when I almost had an instant double heart attack, if there is such a thing. First when I saw the sheer proportions of the canyon, and secondly when I perceived our carefree kids walking toward the edge of the abyss, totally unconcerned.
Another great thing was that at the East rim entrance, we could use our car to move in between view points and not use the visitors bus, in which masks were mandatory.
I enjoyed every stop on the rim on this side of the Canyon. The landscape gave me wobbly legs, it is just breathtaking, a testimony to the majesty of its Creator. Words and pictures cannot capture the immensity and the beauty of this absolutely astonishing place.
I liked the most going for half an hour or so down into the canyon on Grandview trail, the path used by the Last Chance miners, that mined for copper in those parts in the 1890s. We were at a loss to how they could carry their stuff on mules on those tiny paths on the side of the cliff. But when they got deep down at the bottom, the sight of the Colorado River surrounded by gigantic walls on both sides must have been remarkable to behold, a treat for all the effort put into the climb down.
Gazing at the River from up the rim was equally fantastic. From that height, the foam made by the river water falling looked as if it was frozen in place and not moving at all. That was one of my favorite sights from the Rim.
García López de Cárdenas was the first European to discover the Grand Canyon in 1540. He, along with a party of men, were trying to discover a “great river”, that would lead them to the Bay of California. Their guides misled them, and García spent 20 days, eventually finding the Grand Canyon. There, he estimated the width of the Colorado River at its base to be only around 6 feet (1.83 meters) across. After the scouts' return (they only descended around 1/3 of the way), they reported that the river was too wild for them to be able to get to the Bay of California.
This canyon, which is the second-largest in the world, has a depth of around 6000 feet (1.83 kilometers) and 277 miles (445.79 km) in length. When we visited, we decided to use the East Entrance because there were fewer people, and we didn't have to use the bus.
Before getting to the canyon, we stopped at an overlook, where we found an extremely steep part of the majestic canyon. This was the only part of the entire journey where I got dizzy, mainly because it was not deep, while the cavernous depths of the main canyon are very far away and not so scary.
The next stop was a sort of small visitor center, with the famous Desert View Watchtower guarding a splendid view of the Grand Canyon.
We stopped at a few more lookouts, taking a plethora of photos, until we finally got to a trailhead called the Grandview Trail. WARNING: This is an extremely difficult trail, and usually, it takes 8 hours to make a round trip. It is not recommended to do the whole trail in one day, and here are some more statistics about the trail.
Long story short: we didn't complete the 3-mile hike that we set out to do. We didn't even get halfway. We didn't even take water (facepalm). However, we did go about half a mile down the steep trail, so I count the hike a success.
This trail was very exciting, as you could see quality views throughout the entire hike (or at least the part that we did). It was quite difficult, especially at the start, but it gradually became easier as we went down.
The Grand Canyon is:
The enormous boulders precariously balancing above the seemingly endless abyss;
The dry dust sticking to everything;
The muted crashing of water from the distant river;
The malodorous canine refuse on the Grandview Trail (watch out!);
The salty Spam we ate at the picnic area.
I would go again because… WHY NOT!!!
The Grand Canyon is a colossal canyon 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and has a depth of over a mile. When we arrived at the first overlook at the Grand Canyon, we shakily went to the railing to look down into the abyss. When I looked down the massive hole, my mind started inventing images of the sort of human pancake I would look like if I would fall down the hole. I was hoping to become a triple pancake with maple syrup on top, but luckily, I did not fall.
The next stop along our trip was the visitor center. At this overlook, we got a bigger view 0f the canyon and got to see an American Indian style tower. Sadly, it was closed, and we could not go to the top. From this vantage point, we could see the Colorado River flowing through the canyon.
At one of the small overlooks, there was a trail. We decided to try it out, and we soon paid for it. In a few minutes, the trail got so difficult I almost turned back, but after a while the trail got easier and easier until we finally reached flat ground, thus concluding our hike and journey.
I would go again to the Grand Canyon to walk on the glass bridge.
The Grand Canyon is for me:
The small Colorado River winding its way through the canyon.
The wind biting at my face.
The white foam of the river rapids.
The crash of rubble falling down the cliffside.
The shade of trees on the path.