The Grand Canyon was a big stop on the trip and why shouldn’t it be as it is one of the few land masses visible from space. I rested that night at a Denny’s about 40 miles south of the Grand Canyon with the anticipation of seeing the park in the morning. My first stop upon entering the park was the visitor center, now all national parks have these visitor centers but this time I decided to take in the video on the park. It was a good video and a good start to my day in the park. I always like to learn on how these parks were created and the history behind them. After leaving the visitor center is a quick walk to the rim trail and for most it’s the first view they get of the Canyon. When you see it for the first time you understand the draw of this park. The canyon is just so massive and majestic and again it almost doesn’t seem real as it dominates the landscape. The grand canyon sees millions of visitors a year even though one of the first explorers to visit said it was “an utterly desolate place that will never be seen”. As you walk along the rim you are just taken in by the sheer size of what you are looking at and when you understand the history behind it, it really makes you wonder. The trail where I was walking was once the bottom of a huge ocean lined with limestone but now I was on top looking down. As you look down you see the different colors of the rocks and those layers are millions of years deep so in essence you are looking into a cross cut of the earth.
The trail had a few viewing spots that peaked outwards and also some rock ledges where you were able to walk out and were in disbelief to see people doing it. Of course on my way back I walked out even though at this point we could hear and see thunder in the distance but the land is so flat you can get a better of sense of the pending storm. It’s pretty overwhelming to be on the ledge alone looking out into the canyon and the huge drop just feet away. I knew this was a spot I had to get a good picture and although I have mastered my phones self-timer I figured I could use some help on this one. The pictures I got at that spot were some of the best of the trip. In one of the pictures you have me sitting on a ledge with the backdrop of the canyon and it’s just awesome, I’m already thinking of framing some of these especially that one. The storm eventually caught up to me and after walking around a bit more the cold rain started pouring down. It’s Ironic the last few days including the Canyon it’s been cloudy and of course I come to the desert and it rains but I wasn’t complaining. I waited out the rain in my car had lunch that consisted of two bagels, wheat thins and a cherry pepsi which reminds me I have to stock up a bit. That afternoon I went on one of the more popular hikes in the park which is a trail that is a vertical mile down and unlike most trails you are going down than up. As I passed people making their way back up you could just see the exhaustion pouring out of them. People under estimate these hikes but unlike them I gave myself 75 minutes as my turn back point and realized the further you go down the further you have to go up. The hike was good and the cool part of it is as you go further down you are literally seeing millions of years of the history of the earth. Closer to the bottom is the dark rock which is the oldest and close to 100 million years old. At one point half way up the trail I took a break and just looked out into the Canyon and was thinking of how I could describe it or the what my thoughts were but I didn’t have any. This one was one landscape that left me speechless and my mind was blank. I have never felt so reduced at the time and couldn’t help to wonder if this was created there must be something bigger something else.
I left the Grand Canyon that night and got as far as Phoenix where I stopped for the night. I gambled at two casinos one in Phoenix one in Tucson but with no real luck I was happy to be leaving and heading on to New Mexico. New Mexico is rather flat and unappealing but I did want to stop at White Sands which is a National Monument. I have to say anyone who is planning on doing a trip like this should get the National Park pass which I purchased for 80 because for 1 year it covers all the parks and monuments. White Sand was an interesting place, It is surrounded by a bleak, dry landscape of really nothing and then you have this huge sand box in the middle of it but not just a sand box a pure white one. Like the Canyon this has happened due to water as it was once home to a 1,400 square foot lake. Now the area is covered in a very fine white sand that stretches from dune to dune. I went on this quick mile circle hike and let me tell you if the sun was out I would have had to turn back. When the sun hits the sand it radiates heats and almost blinds you without sun glasses and several times I had to cup my eyes to relieve them. The funny thing is with all this sand you expect there to be water but they only see ten inches of rain a year. You drive around that park and walk over the dunes and can’t help to think that it almost reminds you of snow and its funny because a lot of people “sand ride” the dunes on saucer sleds. The White Sands Park was a good stop and I would recommend it but only for a half day as the heat is raging in that area.
I always tell myself that my blog will be shorter and take less time but it usually takes longer than expected to write and upload all the pictures but I know I will appreciate it in the long run but am relieved when it is finished. Right now I am in Fort Worth, Texas and plan on driving around a bit and hopefully grab some BBQ for lunch. I’ll also make my way to the Dallas Stadium today………