Grand Canyon National Park is the United States’ 15th oldest national park. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the park is located in northwestern Arizona The park’s central feature is the Grand Canyon , a gorge of the Colorado River , which is often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. The geology of the Grand Canyon area includes one of the most complete and studied sequences of rock on Earth. The nearly 40 major sedimentary rock layers exposed in the Grand Canyon and in the Grand Canyon National Park area range in age from about 200 million to nearly 2 billion years old. The Grand Canyon is a very big hole in the ground. It is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and more than a mile (6,000 feet / 1,800 meters) deep. It is the result of constant erosion by the Colorado River over millions of years.
Visiting the Grand Canyon for the second time. Such a special place. I was so happy we could go back. Once again at the South Rim. Our first visit was with our boys during another road trip ( 2 days, summer 2010). We had walked down the canyon and watching the sunset. This time was different. One, it was winter and we could see snow. Two, we spent only one day but a full one. We also stay until sunset but it was not as spectacular as our experience of 2010 when we also got to see a double rainbow. I will share two pictures from that trip before showing you a few from this recent visit.
It doesn’t matter if it is the first time or not. When you are there, it seems you do not have enough eyes to take it all in. I think I took at least 350 photos that day. It is not easy to choose which one to share. We saw some elks in the park. Here are some interesting information about this animal. They have brown bodies with lighter coloration on their rump. Dark, shaggy hair covers the neck. Males (bulls) are generally lighter in color than females (cows) and will grow antlers beginning in the late spring and keep them until the early spring of the following year. The elk in the park have lost their natural fear of humans- leading to interactions that hurt both elk and people. Elks are one of the most dangerous animals in the park. They are not usually aggressive, but will defend themselves if people get too close. We should not approach elk, and view them from at least 100 feet (30 m).
The Grand Canyon is dominating a 277-mile stretch of the Colorado River. River rafting is one of the most popular ways to experience the Colorado River. Fishing and kayaking are also popular activities on the river. We can see some of it way down below. It looks quite browning water when I zoomed on it.
We saw mules going down the canyon, transporting material on their back. It was impressive to see them – 12 of them, divided in two groups, going down on the narrow trail while some hikers where coming back up . According to my research, one-hour and two-hour trail rides through the pines of the Kaibab National Forest and twilight campfire and wagon rides are available. Both horses and mules are used. Horses may be iconic to the American West, but the equine of choice at Grand Canyon has long been its hybrid relative, the mule. These animals combine the sure-footedness of a burro with the larger size and strength of a horse, and have carried canyon visitors since the late 1800’s. More than 600,000 people have taken Grand Canyon mule rides since they were first offered in 1887.
No matter where we look, the landscape is wonderful. And as the day progress and the light is changing, we start to see different shades on the rocks. That is the magic moment of the day. We knew we had to stay until sunset which was about 6:05 pm.
Around sunset time, most people gather in one spot and take lots of photos. We could see joy and happiness all around. We realized how lucky we were to have spent a great day in this beautiful setting. I am the photographer of the family and I don’t mind if I am not on each photo (although it is becoming easy to take selfies!!). Here, a lady offer us to take a photo of both of us.
I was happy to share that special day with you. Thanks again for reading and leaving a comment if you have time . MERCI !!