“There will never be a photograph of the Grand Canyon that can adequately describe its depth, breadth, and true beauty.”
This is a quote from Stefanie Payne, author of the book “A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip,” navigated around all of America’s 59 national parks with National Geographic photographer, Jonathan Irish. Grand Canyon is a spectacular site for these two and for almost the 5.9 million people who visit the national park every year.
ABOUT THE GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most highly visited attractions of the country and houses one of the world’s deepest canyons. To understand how deep its canyons are is to know that its area is enough to fit 19 Statues of Liberty toppled on each other. It showcases the worldwide geological phenomenon called the Great Unconformity and even has its inhabitants living in the Supai Village.
This million-acre national park is located in the Mohave and Coconino counties in Arizona, United States of America. In 1979, the Grand Canyon was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a World Heritage Site.
HISTORY OF THE PARK
It doesn’t take a second to create a masterpiece. It takes days, months, years, and even centuries. But in the case of this marvelous landscape, the Grand Canyon began carving nearly 6 million years ago. However, a study conducted in 2012 revealed that its beginning might date back to even as far as 70 million years.
Although it maybe this old, fossils of dinosaurs have not been found around and within the canyons. However, ancient fossils of marine animals were revealed. The oldest fossils are approximately 1,200 million to 740 million years old. More recent remains of mammals have also been uncovered.
Former President Theodore Roosevelt is no stranger to the wonders of the Grand Canyon. He remarked in 1903, “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled through-out the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity, and loveliness.”
On February 26, 1919, it was officially designated as a national park, and the National Park Service managed the administration of the park. Then in 1975, the Marble Canyon National Monument joined the territory of the national park.
TOP SPOTS & ACTIVITIES OF THE PARK
The Grand Canyon, responsible for the park’s namesake, is the national park’s main highlight because of the psychedelic hues and nature-etched designs on its walls. But other than this, people come to the park for many other attractions and activities.
Cave of the Domes is a limestone cave with fascinating domes and stalactites. From its arching ceilings to the rocky floor, visitors are left speechless. Written in some areas are signatures of earlier visitors.
The Bright Angel Trail is for those who’d love to take a hike around the area. Havasu Falls is the perfect desert oasis. On its clear turquoise waters, tourists can take a dip and have a refreshing swim.
Colorado River Rafting is a recreational activity offered that thrill-seekers book their day trip for. For those who wish to have a more simple water experience, the Glen Canyon Float Trip provides tours around the northeastern section of the canyon.
At the Grand Canyon, Winter is the “secret season.” There are clearer skies, and fewer tourists. Visitors prefer mostly to do Camping and Hiking during this cool season.
FACTS ABOUT THE PARK
Although the majority knows the Grand Canyon National Park, there are still so many unique facts about it that numerous are yet to discover. The Grand Canyon is said to “create its own weather.” When there are immediate changes in elevation, the precipitation and temperature are affected. So the conditions experienced in different areas of the park also vary.
The hottest and driest part is around 8 miles from the Phantom Ranch. On the other hand, the coldest and wettest place is the Bright Angel Ranger Station on the North Rim.
The canyon hides around 1000 caves, and only 355 of them have been recorded. One of them is the Cave of the Domes.
Lastly, there is one animal that visitors and rangers keep an eye out for. But no, it’s not the daunting horns of the Bighorn Sheep, nor the venomous GilaMonster. It’s actually the Rock Squirrel that causes the trouble, as they are found almost everywhere and have bitten dozens of visitors. These critters may carry infectious diseases.
The Grand Canyon is indeed striking and picturesque. The landscape is breathtaking and gives us humans the value of how time shapes the Earth into something beautiful. Years and Centuries may pass by, but the Grand Canyon’s wonder will forever be timeless.