In 1999 our trip to USA gave us the opportunity to go out to the Grand Canyon. We flew from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, hired a car and travelled across desert country, towards Kingston, stopping briefly at Hoover Dam, to look at this fantastic man-made wonder.
Next day we went on to the canyon, and it certainly was up to our expectations, and more.
On the way in we saw a sign for helicopter rides. We decided this would be the best way to see the Canyon and get some idea of its size.
Nothing prepared us for this birds’ eye view! Now we knew what the ravens hovering above us saw! We were amazed by the scenery and colours, but the depth was unbelievable, towers of rock rose from the base like skyscrapers. A mile below the Colorado River looked like a little trickle of water. It seemed incredible that over 1000’s of years, the power of running water and wind had worn away a deep, mostly inaccessible canyon, a mile deep and approximately 300 miles long. Besides being scenic, it was of great geological significance. Indian tribes had lived along it, fishing and hunting and growing crops. Gold prospectors had come and gone over the years, and now tourists flocked there.
Once on the ground, we took in the view from the rim, the far side, miles away, disappearing in blue haze. We ventured down the walking track leading to the bottom, a very steep track with ample signage warning of the dangers of heatstroke, and to carry water. It was a very warm spring day so we gave that idea away, but lots of people, on foot and on donkeys, were on their way down. I’ve always been fascinated by the Grand Canyon and its formation. I’ve seen soil erosion on a small scale, but this large-scale phenomenon intrigued me.
Later in our trip we visited Yosemite National Park, as serene, green and beautiful as the Grand Canyon was stark, arid, and rugged. What a contrast. The grassy meadows, cool waterfalls cascading down from the valley walls into the sheltered park below and the peaceful Merced River. This was another wonder of nature, caused by glacial action carving out the valley over 1000‘s of years. It was a reminder of how very old this world is and that our lives are just a blink in time.