The Wild, Wild West (Part 3. The Grand Canyon, Mt. Zion National Park)

Day 13:  Wednesday, August 16


THE GRAND CANYON: Nature’s Work in Progress


GRAND FACTS:  Carved by the Colorado River, in northern Arizona and cutting a channel over millions of years; about 446 km long, ranges in width from .25 to 15 miles and attains a depth of more than a mile.

Grand CanyonThe layered rock of the Grand Canyon walls goes back about two billion years.  Each layer of rock represents a different period.  The limestone layers were deposited by prehistoric shallow seas.  Sandstone layers were formed by long-ago deserts and wind-blown dunes.  The shale layers are a result of muddy river flats or deltas.

 Ten thousand years ago, prehistoric Native Americans probably discovered the Canyon. About one thousand years ago, Anasazi came to the Grand Canyon.  Anasazi is a Navajo word meaning “The Ancient Ones” or “Ancient Enemies”.

Wanted to go down the bottom and camp but there wasn’t time. Wanted to go on a helicopter ride a hundred meters above the canyon but it cost 179 dollars for a 25 minute ride!!!

Nature's Work in ProgressWas I really there? It was beyond expectation. Standing atop the canyon, looking down at the miles and miles of beautiful rock formations that were as old as time itself… wow and a lot more wows.

Beyond ImaginationImagine how eons of erosion & destruction could create such a place of timeless grandeur & beauty. And it’s not even done.  Every split second, it changes. Everywhere was picture perfect. Amazing how the layered rocks of the Canyon’s walls have different colors which even change hues depending on the weather and the time of day.

 Stayed at the Best Western Squire Inn/Tusayan

Day 14:  Thursday, August 17


GRAND CANYON in the morning and MT ZION NATIONAL PARK in the evening.

We just passed Lake Powell in going to Mt Zion. The Lake Powell, a manmade lake, is run by a government agency, so what can you expect when it’s almost 5 in the afternoon?  I should know…

The drive to Mt. Zion was pretty.  From the Grand Canyon, we went down and off to Utah where the Canyon gradually decreased and just blended gracefully in the grass terrain. By the road, there were still a lot of canyons and similar rock formations.  Some Rock formations go for miles and miles. Sometimes, we were above the canyons, sometimes we were between them. And they have pastel colors which reminded me of cakes.  From afar, they looked so good enough to bite off from.  There were these huge, huge rock formations that had different shades of pink and looked like strawberry shortcakes.  Some looked like chocolate cakes with different shades of brown and mocha in regular striped lines.  They even looked as if they were sprinkled with cocoa powder on top.  Beautiful.

When we were entering the park, we were on long winding roads with the rock formations rising beside the roads.

Stayed at the Zion National Park Inn.  2 days in Mount Zion.  Finally, we could rest a bit.

Frodo was hereBACKGROUND:  Utah’s oldest national park, designated in 1919.  A prominent feature in the 229 square mile park is Zion Canyon, 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The Anasazi tribe inhabited the area.  The Canyon was discovered by Mormons in 1858 and was settled by that same group in the early 1860s.

GEOLOGY:  The nine known exposed formations visible in the park are part of a super-sequence of rock units called the Grand Staircase; they represent about 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation in that part of North America.

(still to be continued…)


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