As I’m sure everyone knows the Grand Canyon is simply huge – in its size, its geological and human history and spectacular scenery. Even though we had all visited before, the Grand Canyon is (to use an unfortunately overused descriptor) truly awesome. This year is the 100th anniversary of becoming a National Park and though we were visiting early in the season once again we were surprised by the huge numbers already there. Kudos to the National Park Service not only for its conservation measures but also for its traffic and people management skills. It would be shambolic without them.
Our first view this time was from a flight above the canyon in a small plane. Not to be boring but the Canyon is about 450 river kms long, up to 29 km wide and 1.6 km deep.
Our plane flew about 1000 feet (300m) above the top of the Canyon and we had a great view of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers running through it and yes the water colour does vary.
Looking really closely we could just make out some of the famous rapids ( above right – the white water about a third of the way down) and a few boats moving down the river. From this height the rapids look quite benign but many are evidently very challenging with huge waves, big drops and big rocks. Brave souls who take that on now in kayaks, zodiacs or similar, imho; but braver still were John Wesley Powell and colleagues who travelled in four small wooden boats along the river and took on the rapids in wooden boats in 1869. Nine set out and six returned.
Took lots of photos out of the window – they are never great in my opinion but give an idea of the scale of the Canyon and the erosion by the river over millions of years as the plateau was uplifted and then wind and water did its bit.
We did a couple of walks along the South Rim – the North Rim (behind the trio below, bottom pic) is a bit higher and is closed in the winter – we could still see snow on it from the plane.
The rimwalks are well organised with shuttle buses dropping walkers at sites along their routes and the many information markers that can be read along the walks. The flag at the Visitor Centre was half mast for peace and police officers memorial day.
Not only are the geological shapes spectacular but the colours are amazing as well – generally there is a reddish colour but there are lots of shades of brown and grey as well. In the top left pic a path can be seen snaking its way down into the canyon floor and there is a close up below. It apparently takes 4-6 hours to walk down and 9-11 to walk back up – or – if you book far enough in adavnce – you can ride a mule down and back. There is accom on the canyon floor. Or for the truly fit, there is also a rim2rim2rim ultra running course which is around 45 miles (72km) which you could also do! I believe the record is about 6 hours!!
There are always a few jokers who go out over the fenced view points to look over the edge or more likely to take a selfie or photograph someone else……
We had our own private venue for happy hour – just outside our rooms – even if a bit chilly by the evening!
Next post will be also along the Colorado – from Lake Powell.