Vacation Destination: Grand Canyon National Park
September 08, 2010
What is it about a place that is ten miles wide, one hundred sixty mile long, a mile deep and attracts 4.5 million tourists every year? Well, it's the Grand Canyon, of course. The colossal carved rock formations come alive with the continuous changing light and shadow. You will be mesmerized by the shades of purples, blues, greens, reds, orange, browns, and tans that are ever-changing throughout the day. It makes you feel peaceful and calm. You see people standing or sitting on the edge of the Canyon gazing over the amazing scenery.
The scheduled bus tour excursions were most enjoyable. I scheduled my trip with Xanterra Parks and Resorts from the internet. We stayed at the Grand Canyon Village. Our bus tour guide was a White Mountain Apache, who made the tour fun and educational. He gave us a brief historical talk about his ancestors and their survival skills. He drove us to several locations around the South/West/East Rim to capture incredible views of the Canyon. We traveled westward stopping along the West Rim observing spectacular overlooks. We stopped at Hermit's Rest, a unique building of native stone created by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter in 1914.
We also took the Desert View tour traveling east along the Rim of the Grand Canyon. This is where the Colorado River emerges from the depths of the inner gorge, and where you can actually see and hear the rapids. There you will find the watchtower, a re-creation of the unusual towers erected by the ancient peoples of the Southwest. This tour also stops at Lipan Point where there are spectacular views of the Canyon.
I did not ride the sure-footed mules down the canyon, nor do any extreme hiking like more adventurous people do. Sightseeing and shopping were on my agenda. There were souvenir gift shops everywhere. Several shops sold authentic turquoise jewelry, beautifully intricate designs but very pricey. They also sold books about the history of the Grand Canyon as well as other souvenir items like T-shirts, inexpensive jewelry, and authentic crafts from the Navaho Tribe.
We took hundreds of pictures of the Canyon--enough to last a lifetime. One of my suggestions, for anyone thinking about making the trip, is to bring binoculars so you can get a closer view of the Canyon. Who knows, you may get lucky and see the California Condor, an endangered animal. I got to experience the California Condor soaring over the Grand Canyon. The California Condor is a large black vulture with white patches on the underside of the wings. It has a bald head with a yellowish to a bright red color, depending on the bird’s mood. The wingspan stretches out to 10-12 feet from tip to tip.
I had done my research about the Grand Canyon by exhausting our library collection on the subject. I would highly recommend a book by James Kaiser, Grand Canyon the Complete Guide, which has an incredible source of material on the South Rim. There’s also a plethora of information on the internet. One of my favorite websites is: http://www.nps.gov/grca
I hope that you will add the Grand Canyon to your list of “best places to see”.