23rd July, 2008
During our recent visit to San Francisco, Kush took us for a visit to the Grand Canyon. It is only when you go there and witness the imposing character of the canyon that you realize that it is for no illegitimate reason that it is called Grand. We all (myself, Chitra, Kush and Vasu) had flown to Los Angeles to visit Atul and Anita and their lovely and lively daughters, Priyanka and Natasha at their home in Orange County. After doing the usual circuit of LA, Hollywood, San Diego and Sea World, and witnessing the fireworks of the 4th of July, we drove to Grand Canyon. After only an hour or two, the landscape had changed into desert with huge dunes on either side. In spite of the day being hot and humid, it was a relaxed drive after bumper to bumper traffic of LA and San Diego. After passing through the magnificent Hoover Dam, we reached the southern rim of Grand Canyon just in time for the sun set. Because of the long weekend on account of US Independence Day, the lodges were full and restaurants bright with chatty people. After our dinner, we got into our cabin and retired early after a long day and also to catch some sleep before an early rise to witness the sun making its grand appearance over the canyon. We got up early and drove to the Bright Angel Lodge which is also a good location for a number of short and long hikes. We found a good location and waited expectantly. Fortunately, there was no appreciable haze or fog that early morning. We were rewarded and witnessed the spectacular sun rise. It coloured everything on the opposite side in beautiful pink. Then we started for our 5 km hike towards the gorge. We wanted a longer hike, but we were not fully equipped with liquids and food. The canyon gets humid and hot very early morning and challenges your physical fitness. There are many deaths reported among people who thought themselves to be completely fit, but met a tragic end due to heat stroke, dehydration or exhaustion during hiking or other adventure activities. On our return, we were now starving and had a relaxed and sumptuous breakfast at the restaurant.
The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world; the other being, Northern lights (aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere over Canada), Paricotin Volcano (Mexico), Harbour of Rio da Janeiro (Brazil), Victoria Falls (Africa), Great Barrier Reef (Australia), and of course, Mount Everest, Himalayas.
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in the U.S. state of Arizona. Considering its importance, the Grand Canyon and area around it has been declared as Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon is a geologist’s delight because of the ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved in the walls of the canyon. These rocks are testimony to the geological history of the North American continent.
The canyon was created by the Colorado River over a period of 17 million year time span. The canyon is 446 km long, ranges in width from 6.4 to 29 km and attains a depth of more than 1.6 km. It is not the deepest canyon in the world, yet it is unmatched throughout the world for its overwhelming size and its colourful landscape.
Besides offering a beautiful sight, the canyon offers a number of activities for people looking for adventure sports, like, hiking, camping, and kayaking in the Colorado river. For wild life lovers, there is much to see and photograph. The Canyon is one of the few sites in the US for the habitat and breeding site of the magnificent bird, condor. I was lucky to witness the majestic flight of condor during our stay there.
I had long cherished to visit Grand Canyon. I hope to visit it once again to spend more time in the amazing, magnificent, and daunting environs of this natural wonder.