Thursday, March 15, 2012

Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon

Most everyone has been to the Grand Canyon, in fact it was the honeymoon destination of my parents. However, I still feel a compulsion to give some basic information on it. The Grand canyon is one large canyon with two rims. The rims are 10 miles apart as a raven flies, but 215 miles by road. South Rim elevation is 7,000 feet, the North Rim is 1,000 feet higher. The South Rim is open all year round. North Rim services are open mid-May to mid-October. When we were there Tuesday the South Rim was heavily populated with people from all over the world. The most likely reason that many people were there, especially families, was that children are out of school for spring break. Our first stop at the South Rim was at the Watchtower. Mary Coulter was the  architect of the building when it was constructed in 1932. She did a lot of research before building it. It is a re-creation of strange prehistoric towers found scattered over large areas of the southwest.
The first room which we stepped into is called the Kiva or Sacred Ceremonial Chamber. It, as well as the other floors of the Watchtower, are replete with Native American art. Some of the wall decorations are the work of a Hopi artist. Pictured below is a large circular painting which tells of the Snake Legend- the story of the beginning of snake dances. It is also the story of the first man to navigate the Colorado River.
In the Kiva room large picture windows frame spectacular views of the Grand Canyon Region.
John and I have been to the Grand Canyon before, however we just had to see it again. It is such an awe-inspiring landscape of rugged cliffs, buttes, pinnacles and slopes that it has drawn many people to its grandeur over the years. It speaks of time, the millions of  years it took for its numerous geological layers to form. And it also speaks of continuing erosion by the Colorado River and its tributaries which cuts down and deepens the canyon as well as creating smaller canyons. As a park brochure has noted, "with enough time and gravity water dominates rock". We attempted to walk down into the canyon via the Grandview Trail, but it soon became treacherous because of the presence of snow and ice. We then had to satisfy ourselves with the Rim Trail which is paved and offers some beautiful view of the canyon and the Colorado River. By late afternoon the sun was setting and the canyon had a softer look to it with contrasting light and shadows.

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