The Grand Canyon is evocative of grandiose landscapes and history (principally geological) and it reveals many treasures and mysteries. The Grand Canyon never ceases to impress, inspire and amaze. It is an amazing experience to be on the brink of this abyss. One is often speechless while admiring this immense space filled with a golden light that shifts and changes throughout the day, shining and reflecting on these ancient rocks.
This marvel of nature measures 277 miles in length along the river edge, 18 miles wide as the crow flies, and is the cradle of the Colorado River which flows 1 mile below. It is in such landscapes that numerous rafting trips take place, perfect to escape the extremely hot temperatures that prevail during the summer.
There are many wonderful viewing sites along the two rims, as well as a wealth of activities to explore the Canyon’s treasures, by foot, horseback, mules, helicopter or raft. The two rims of this gigantic canyon (South and North) receive many visitors, and hotels and lodges, plus souvenir shops, are plentiful as well as geological, historical and artistic exhibits.
Contrary to some common beliefs on the geology of the Grand Canyon, it is not entirely an “open book.” For over a century, geologists have been studying these formations, and people still have questions about the origins, age, and actual formation of the Colorado River. Gazing upon steep cliffs and a multitude of geological layers, you are contemplating two billion years of history and geological formations created at a time when no life form had yet appeared on earth! Difficult to imagine isn’t it, For lovers of geology I recommend stopping by the ‘Museum of Northern Arizona.
Given this immense and extraordinary beauty, how can we not be humbled, Visiting the Grand Canyon affords a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature in a sacred and respectful manner much like native inhabitants have done and still do today. In 1540 the Hopi Indians guided Spanish explorers to the south rim. In 1857 Lieutenant Joseph Ives discovered the Grand Canyon and acknowledged that: “The landscape promotes a wondering delight, but the region is, of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the south, and after entering it there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality”.
How wrong he was! Each year there are millions of visitors (4.4 million in 2008), with one third of them coming from abroad to experience this natural wonder.