May 13, 2013

National Parks- Grand Canyon National Park


Arizona Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is very popular and visited by many- guess why? It is a magnificent work of art by Mother Nature, on the rocks by the river and with time. The Grand Canyon- a gorge of the Colorado River, a massive, imposing landscape is a World Heritage Site and also considered to be one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. The grandeur, the beauty and the majesticity of this canyon is unparalleled. The beauty is increased by the layers of exposed colored rocks and the vastness. The park contains several types of ecosystems, different life zones and three types of desert systems. It is one of the places to view the rarest bird in the world- California Condor. Like all other national parks in USA, there is an entry fee of $20.

Grand Canyon National Park Sunrise
Sunrise at Mather Point
Located in northern Arizona the canyon 277miles long, 18miles wide, one mile deep and 17million years old!- (Wiki). It was declared a national park in the year 1919 by president Theodore Roosevelt. Millions of people who visit the park enjoy the views from South Rim which is easily accessible and is open all the year. North Rim is less accessible (mid-May to mid-October) and hence less popular. Very few people including backpackers visit this part of the park.

Grand Canyon National Park Colorado River
Colorado River
When I visited this park for the first time the flight to Las Vegas was delayed and hence I reached the park very late in the night. I was stopped by a cop in a deserted place which looked like in the middle of nowhere, and was presented with an expensive speeding ticket- very bad! The elderly cop chided me for being crazy to drive a rented PT Cruiser at that speed during night time. What a start huh? I know Speed thrills but kills ... how true, this time speed killed my purse! Believe me I wasn't driving fast for thrill I just wanted to reach a safe place asap. It was full-moon that night and I didn't need a flashlight at the campsite. I was hungry and disappointed a bit of the encounter with the cop, decided to cook some noodles. I sat at the campground watching the pot. The water wouldn't boil ... I heard the roar of the wind, trees around swayed and danced, suddenly dust and leaves rose up and swirled around me. Flame in my little stove was gone with that passing wind and I gave up the idea of cooking noodles. I had to have muffins for dinner and I wouldn'd mind. I ate that muffin sitting inside the tent. I was glad Grand Canyon wasn't home for those bears greedy for human food and I didn't have to hide my food supply somewhere in the locker. Moonlight seeped through the thin nylon of the tent and I could sleep peacefully though that elderly cop came into my thoughts few times.

Grand Canyon National Park Plateau Point Trail
Very exposed Plateau Point Trail

It was my dream to backpack from North-rim to South-rim (21miles), reaching the bottom of the canyon and camp at Phantom Ranch beside the colorado river. That never happened because I never got a permit and also couldn't join a group who had a permit. And I never wanted to give up. I planned to go for a day-hike to the Plateau Point (12miles) from where I could have a glimpse of the river. Going down the canyon is very easy task and it is really unimaginable how hard it is to climb back up to the rim in the dry heat in early May.

Grand Canyon National Park Colorado River
Colorado River
The Bright Angel Trail snakes down zig-zaging to Indian Garden milestone. It seemed like those switch-backs were never ending. From here the last 1.5miles to Plateau Point are very exposed to direct sunlight with no facilities which is very exhausting. So, I had half of my lunch at Indian Garden before leaving to Plateau Point. After all that pain when I stood at the far edge of the trail I was surrounded by the colorful rocky cliffs and mountains and the green Colorado river under. I was awestruck by the scene- the mighty Colorado river which carved this massive landscape then was diminished into the bottom of the canyon. I wished I could reach down and touch the water. But, I was exhausted already and headed back to Indian Garden to finish that remaining portion of my lunch. It was very hot, I felt like my blood was thickening :) Well, I really don't know how it feels when the blood gets thick! It was unexplainable discomfort and fatigue. Getting back up those last 3miles took forever- part because I was tired, I cannot stand heat and secondly I sat at every shaded corner looking at the canyon in wonder! Someday ... I will live my dream of hiking from North rim to South rim ... someday ...

Grand Canyon National Park Vista

Once I was back at the rim I sat there on a rock sticking to a cliff under very narrow strip of shade wondering how in half-a-day my skin had turned so dark, from brown to coffee. I clearly had sunburns. My feet were hurting very badly. I had a feeling that my shoes were secretly biting my feet and eating them. After taking some rest I went to see rest of the views boarding a bus. Browsed the souvenir shops and spoke to some of the local tribe. 

South Rim has developed camping facilities and stayed at Mather campground for four nights. This campground is right within the Grand Canyon Village, near to shuttle buses, store and so on. National Park provides free shuttle buses to go around in the park- no tickets required. Since all services are available it doesn't feel like being in the wild. Hotels and motels are available in Williams which is just 60miles away, just in case you are not a camper like my family.

Grand Canyon National Park Sunset
Almost sunset
For four days I enjoyed watching wonderful sunrises and sunsets at various viewpoints. For sunsets I had to be there by late afternoon so that I get a good place to set up my camera. There will be a huge crowd. I did that one day but, later I just watched the scene without thinking much about photography. The larger view is much beautiful than the one I could see in the viewfinder. Here is one picture of a sunrise at Mather Point.

California Condor
The Grand Canyon is so grand, magnificent, majestic, beautiful, amazing and I could go on and on ... It is an unique type of landscape commonly not seen anywhere else. The extreme climatic conditions make it much more mysterious. Easy access has made this place visited by millions. The result can be seen in the haze. The air is getting polluted and visibility to view this vast colorful and intricate landscape is obstructed. 

I was so overwhelmed initially on the first day, and then by the end of fourth day I was completely engulfed by the beauty. I was calm and could sit in a secluded place and watch the canyon forever and ever. It seems the Native American tribe considers the canyon sacred and they believe the spirits of their ancestors live here. I wondered those ancient spirits might be sitting on top of each temple (spires named so) and watching us, the tourists, our actions. I wish they protect this piece of wonderful landscape for the generations to come.
The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison- beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world. -Theodore Roosevelt.
Next early morning, I started to Page-Arizona where I was to visit my dream destination- Antelope Canyon on the way visited two of the national monuments- Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki Ruins. Other destinations on this road trip are Bryce Canyon NP, US Scenic Route 89A, Horseshoe Bend, and Zion NP, Angels Landing hike, Zion Subway hike.
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Leave a comment to share your thoughts :)

Related articles-
National Parks of USA.
My trip to Arizona.
The Canyon- Grand Canyon.

This post is linked to Wild Bird WednesdayNature Notes and Our World Tuesday.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

51 comments:

  1. Well written and informative. The Grand canyon is truly a natural wonder.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/05/haziness.html

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    1. Thanks Niranjan! Yes, it is a wonderful wonder!

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  2. Lovely Grand Canyon photos. My husband and I visited the Canyon a few years ago and I have some of the same shots. However it was a cloudy misty day in the desert and our colors are not so brilliant. Its interesting to see how the same landscape can be so different day to day.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the trip! You are right! season we visit, the light, the haze and time of the day make a lot of difference to the photographs we take!

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  3. Wow - majestic shots! What an amazing place.

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    1. Thank you Lady Fi. Yes, the canyon is an amazingly amazing place!

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  4. What a great place - my wife has been there, but not me. I think I can feel a USA trip happening one day!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  5. your photos make me wanna visit the Grand Canyon right away. thanks for the tour.

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    1. I am glad if I made you feel like that! Thanks for saying that!

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  6. Beautiful shots of the Grand Canyon! Great post and wonderful photos! Have a happy day!

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  7. Great shots and I would love to make it there someday:)Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

    Shantana

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    1. Thanks Shantana, yes, Grand Canyon is a must-see place for everyone!

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  8. What an amazing place, Kusum!
    Great shot... love it very much...
    Warm greetings from Holland,
    Anna :))

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    1. Thank you Anna. Glad you liked my Grand Canyon pics!

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  9. Great aerial tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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    1. Thanks you Gary and glad you enjoyed that aerial tour!

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  10. I was there myself yesterday see my post #108 I have hiked rim to rim, the best time of year is September before the North Rim closes and it can still be 85 degrees at Phantom Ranch in October. Plan well in advance (1year) for permits to camp inside the Canyon. Lovely photos and happy you enjoyed it.

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    1. Wow! You did that?! It must be a great experience and a sense of accomplishment. I applied for permit every year but never happened to get it. Thanks for the info though :)

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  11. Nice serie of photos.
    The condor is great!

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  12. When I saw the Canyon for the first time I was so overwhelmed that I was close ro tears! So much beauty! Thanks for bringing back those memories!

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    1. Glad your trip to canyon was memorable! Majestic place indeed!

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  13. Wonderful narrative. We are planning a visit with the grandchildren in an RV in a couple of weeks. Hope to see the condors. I have taken mules up and down into Supai Canyon twice when I filled in for the assigned doctor during his vacation. That was over forty years ago but I think the mail is still delivered there by mule to the Havasupai Tribe members who live down there.

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    1. Ken, I wish you very great time! How was it 40 years ago? Havasupai is another beautiful gem those clear blue waterfalls!

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  14. Great photos of the canyon and how nice to get one of the condor as well.

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  15. This is an amazing poet, with incredible photos. Thank you for sharing this!

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  16. From what I've seen, I know you will make that hike... I wish I could visit all our the National Parks... Michelle

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    1. Thank you Michelle! I hope I will some day! Yes, USA has very diverse landscapes and they are beautiful and worth all the trouble visiting.

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  17. I know just what you mean about the Grand Canyon. I will never EVER forget the very first sight of the canyon. It will remain in my memory for all eternity!!! The condor...now that would be a thrill of a lifetime too, to see.

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    1. I agree! One could never forget GC!

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  18. You are the bravest girl! What a wonderful travelog about this most stunning spot. And how lucky you were to spot the Condor. That you for sharing....and for the memories!

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    1. Thank you Sallie for your kind words! I don't know if am brave but, I have tried to realize my dreams and in that process got into trouble and then survived :)

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  19. I wonder, have you come across Gaelyn's blog? Gaelyn is a ranger at Grand Canyion and always has a post for OUr World.
    Nice to get it off your chest about the speeding fine but it seems you got over that once you were engulfed by the wonder of the place itself.
    Grand Canyon is on my bucket list even though I am well past the camping and hiking bit. At least my shutter finger still works.
    I do think this is one of those places that would draw one back again and again.

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    1. Thank you Arija. Yes, I am sure you will do fine with the photography of this magnificent show of nature. Even if you are not hiking, the views and experience from the rim is memorable for lifetime.

      Yes, I did visit Gaelyn's blog per you recommendation! Its very impressive. Thanks!

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  20. Gorgeous views! I would love to visit one day.

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  21. Beautiful scenic shots! I love the capture of the condor.

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    1. Thanks Pat! Glad yu like the picture of that condor.

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  22. Kusum , this was one of the most fascinating encounters of the Grand Canyon I cam across with steaks of adventure! This is one place I would love to visit besides Hawaii which you covered in one of your earlier posts:)

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    1. Thank you Bhatiaji for your kind words. I am so very glad you liked my post. I wish you would visit GC very soon!

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  23. Wonderful captures and informative . Must have been one heck of experience .

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    1. Thank you Dheeraj, yes it was a great experience.

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  24. Love the Grand Canyon both North and South Rim

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