Friday, July 15, 2011

Ain't It Grand

The Grand Canyon
When we stared planning this trip, the one place that Regis wanted to see was the Grand Canyon, so it was set as our goal as we worked our way across the United States. It was as far south as we would go on this trip.

We had a terrible time getting information on the Grand Canyon. We did not know the best way to get there, we did not know what to expect when we got there, and we were not sure if we should camp close, or camp in a nearby city and drive to the canyon. We stopped at the Arizona welcome centre, and the extent of the help we got there was being handed various brochures. When we asked about routes to drive to the canyon we were told to go a particular way because she felt traffic on the route that followed the south rim would be like rush hour. "30 miles of 30 mph driving", she warned.

We elected to stay in Flagstaff, Arizona for two days and spend the one full day at the canyon with the truck. We ignored the Welcome Centre's advice and drove the "busy" south rim route. We were the only car on the road at times, and had no backups or congestion, and there was always lots of room to park at the scenic overlooks. This route takes you straight up to the canyon, and then snakes along the southern rim of the canyon, providing many spots to pull off to look out over the canyon and take pictures.

At one point a sign warned that there could be mountain lions for the next 15 miles. Then, about two miles further there was a picnic area with a family happily eating. Does this really make sense? Didn't these folks realize that in a "mountain lion" zone, the picnic area, was for the lions, and they were the picnic . . . . Don't these people read the signs?

The Colorado River
The Grand Canyon is one of those "Must See" attractions, and there are so many pictures of it, that you have a preconceived idea of what to expect. It is actually exactly what we expected, and was every bit as spectacular as we expected. There are so many different layers of rock and it is just so huge that every stop provided something different to see. At one point we saw a sheer cliff to the bottom, another we could see the rapids on the river below, and on one stop we saw California Condors gracefully soaring above the canyon. The canyon changes by the hour, and the views over the canyon are different in the morning and afternoon, and although we did not stay to watch the sun set over the canyon, we were able to see how the lengthening shadows made particular rock formations stand out and certain colours become dominant. I took my camera with nice fresh batteries, and lots of room on the memory card, and I took hundreds of photos, but it is very hard to capture the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.
At The Grand Canyon

We knew what to expect; I can only imagine what early explorers or pre-internet vacationers must have felt coming across this incredible landmark for the first time. It is aptly named, and really is "Grand". Put it on your "bucket list".

1 comment:

  1. We felt exactly the same way,Art...It is truly "spectacular" and I love your comment about the play of light throughout the day. We spent two days there... A definite "bucket List" item!