Saturday, March 26, 2011

Visiting The Grand Canyon

Recently, Yahoo has cited the Grand Canyon as one of the 10 places every kid should see.

Our family visit there occurred many springs ago but the sweet memories still remain. We stayed at Sedona, Arizona (considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the country) during the week and made a one day trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Flagstaff. We left at sunrise, taking the scenic Arizona Highway 89A, which passed by the red canyons of Sedona while traversing the picturesque forests. As we progressed through the different elevations on the canyon road, it seemed like we were playing peekaboo with the morning sun shining through the trees.

The reason for our early departure was to catch the National Park Service ranger programs in particular the fossil walk. It proved to be a popular program since there were many families with children eager to be fossil hunters for the day. The ranger presented a brief lecture and then led a easy hike to the fossil beds. Many of the fossils were within easy sight and the ranger helped to identify them. It is amazing to know that millions of years ago, these little creatures were thriving under the oceans where the Grand Canyon now stands.

Fossils found !

A junior ranger in the making

Our next agenda was to hike down the trails a little bit but Mother Nature had other grandiose plans. The sunny morning had turned overcast and soon a major downpour began accompanied by lightning and thunder. Never did I imagine that we would be experiencing lightning and a thunderstorm in the Grand Canyon. After all, this is a desert land. To pass the time, we purchased some playing cards from the visitor center and played some card games.

The National Park Service provided bus shuttles to different parts of the canyon. Our last stop of the day was at the Hopi Point overlook where we were able to view the Colorado River snaking through the canyon walls. Here we also watched the sunset, its diminishing rays casting a red glow on the canyon rocks.

Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon

The dazzling colors of the canyon rocks

Twilight hours at the Grand Canyon

As we were driving from Flagstaff towards Sedona at night, we witnessed the most beautiful star-laden sky in our lives. In the darkness, it seemed to me that millions of twinkling stars were sprinkled like diamonds on the clear Arizona sky. A wondrous sight to behold. That brought to mind that Pluto (now considered a dwarf planet) was discovered in the Lowell Laboratory in Flagstaff. Sweet memories indeed !

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