The Grand Canyon
We farewelled Las Vegas this morning. An hour down the road we passed by Lake Mead. In a car lot nearby, we pulled over trekked up the side of a small hill and onto a bridge. This bridge took nine years to construct, but was only opened in October. Walking over the bridge we had a fantastic view of Hoover Dam. The Dam is one of the wonders of the Industrial World, and used enough concrete to pave a road from San Francisco to New York.
After visiting the Dam, we crossed back into Arizona and drove east for 5 hours. By mid afternoon, we arrived at a giant hole in the ground. THE GRAND CANYON. There are statistics about the Canyon, and then there are sensations. While the former are impressive- it is 446km long, 29km wide, and 1.6km deep- seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time is truly astounding. The combination of size, colour, and dazzling erosional forms overwhelms all travellers. It is known for its fascinating plant and animal communities, and holds secrets about the tribes that lived below the canyon lip.
The three of us spent the afternoon walking a small fraction of the canyons rim… peering over the rim to the darkness far below. From our view point we could not even see the bottom… but apparently the Colorado River is down there, far below, weaving amongst this natural wonder. There were a few tourists wandering around, and patches of snow lay beside the paths. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful sunset. The colours of the sky and reflected on the canyon rocks far below.
By the end of our hike it was getting dark, so we found a room in a lodge in the National Park, about 100m from the rim. We grabbed a meal, freshened up,and then went to the nearby lecture theater where we heard a ranger talk about long lost tribes that lived at the bottom of the Canyon, and the excavation of sites they are doing to retrieve some of their old pottery. It was pretty interesting, but after the talk we went back to our room and collapsed in our Yavapai Lodge beds.
The next morning, Anika got up in the wee hours of the morning, and set off for a sunrise hike. It started off great, and I watched the clouds turn orange as I munched away on a bowel of dry cereal at the rim edge. With camera in hand, I then set off on Angles Trail. It was bitterly cold, but I was well rugged up. Looking across the canyon, I could see storm clouds rolling in. They absorbed the further face, and were slowly moving their way across the canyon. A light patter of snow began to fall over my head, but it only made it more scenic, and I continued to climb the steep trail.
Soon the wind really began to pick up, and it was difficult to stay of the narrow path without nearly being blown over the cliff edge. The track was icy, and many times I nearly lost all balance. The snow began to fall more densely, and soon I was caught in a real snow storm! Not going to let a little snow dampen my trip, I pushed on. My wonderful view was now totally obscured by the thick cloud, and one side of me was completely white from the snow.
A few hours later, and a few foggy photos after, I made it back to the lodge... much to Corey and Kara's relief. But, was it worth it? Oh yeah!