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Grand Canyon National Park - Amazing Travel Pictures and Videos
The Grand Canyon
Traveling to Arizona and visiting the Grand Canyon National Park and departing with pictures and memories is a dream come true for most Americans and for that matter people from all around the world.
Wow! Amazing! Stupendous! Every superlative one might think to utilize in describing the feeling of being there and absorbing the beauty of the place has undoubtedly already been used countless times.
Having visited the Grand Canyon on three different occasions thus far it would be my great privilege to be able to enjoy it again sometime in the future. It is impossible to absorb all the nuances of beauty and opportunities to explore all the nooks and crannies of the park in one, two, three or even more visits.
North and South Rims
Each one of my visits to date has merely involved looking down at the canyon from the many overlooks that are provided within the park. And each time the Grand Canyon was viewed from the South Rim by me and the people accompanying me on these vacations.
The vast majority of visitors see the Grand Canyon from the South Rim...about ninety percent of them as a matter of fact. It is open year round for visitors while the North Rim is generally only open from mid May to mid October depending upon weather conditions.
River Adventures in Grand Canyon
One of the nurse anesthetists that I used to know when I was working in the operating room as a nurse many years ago used to go with friends to the Grand Canyon for a float trip down the Colorado River. She never tired of it and looked forward to the same vacation year after year.
She would tell of the excitement of running the rapids of the Colorado River as well as drifting by the stunning and ever changing scenery as viewed from the river looking up at the cliffs and canyon openings.
Camping at night along the Colorado River with the canyon walls looming up on either side of the river and listening to the sound of the water must have been thrilling. Beautiful as it is looking down into the Grand Canyon seeing it from below and looking up would be an even greater pleasure.
Mule Rides to Bottom of Canyon
Another set of friends of ours recently took the mule ride down into the Canyon for an overnight stay at the Phantom Ranch Lodge. That would also be a thrilling experience if one is not afraid of heights. Although to date no one has ever gone over a cliff while riding one of the sure footed mules down into the canyon and back up, traversing those sometimes narrow paths with sheer drop offs would not be for the feint of heart.
Of course people can also hike down into the canyon. It is an average depth of about one mile. Climbing back up generally takes people twice as long as hiking down. Free back country permits are required if one plans to backpack and spend the night on the canyon floor.
Amazing Flight Over The Grand Canyon
Photography of Grand Canyon
Taking pictures at the Grand Canyon provides ever changing views depending upon the time of day, shadows from overhead passing clouds, changing weather and the time of year. The same exact location and subject matter would differ depending upon all of those circumstances and more.
Most people have camera equipment and snap photos or film their visits to the Grand Canyon. Prior to digital photography I would imagine that many rolls of film were sold at this location because the views around each bend of the road and every overlook are so spectacular.
Different Views of the Grand CanyonClick thumbnail to view full-size
When my friend who was visiting from Germany first looked at the Grand Canyon, she literally could not speak. She had a lump in her throat and tears in her eyes. She was overwhelmed by the experience of seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. This was one of 10 national parks that were on our list of places to visit one year when we decided to vacation together.
There are a number of lodges in the Grand Canyon National Park and we had made reservations to stay at the Yavapai Lodge. One has to make reservations well in advance in order to be able to spend the night and this we did.
One evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at El Tovar which is the original lodge built within the park boundaries.
- Back in the 1870s the Atchison, Topeka, & Sante Fe Railway used to be the primary means of transporting people to this park. They also hired hotels and restaurants to be built to accommodate the travelers.
- Contracting with the Fred Harvey Company to manage these locations offering food and overnight rest stops turned out to be a successful venture for both entities.
- Near El Tovar and built on the edge of the Grand Canyon is the Hopi House. It sits near the canyon wall adjacent to the El Tovar Lodge.
- The Hopi House and El Tovar along with many of the other structures in Grand Canyon National Park were designed by Master Architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter who extensively studied Anasazi Indian sites learning about their methods of building design.
She incorporated native landscape materials in the shaping of her structures so that they would blend in with the surrounding views and look most natural to the site in which they are located.
- The Hopi House besides offering tourists an idea of how Indian pueblos appear primarily provides a unique setting for the merchandising of Indian goods.
- Outside the pueblo at regularly scheduled times native Americans in costume perform with songs and dances.
It is an opportunity to take away a little bit of the history of the Indians who originally occupied this beautiful area and still do on the many Indian reservations surrounding the Grand Canyon plus acquiring some souvenirs if desired.
More photos of this area on the rim of the Grand Canyon in JanuaryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Grand Canyon Facts
- The Grand Canyon first was designated a National Monument in 1908. It finally became a National Park in 1919.
- The Colorado River through years of erosive action carved this immense canyon from the Kaibab Plateau. It took anywhere from three to six million years according to scientists to achieve what is seen there today and by no means is this work finished. Continual action of the rushing river water along with other forces such as rain, wind, snow, frost and heat are still continuing to change the shapes all along this majestic canyon.
- 277 miles of the Colorado River are contained within the Grand Canyon National Park.
- The widest point between canyon edges is about eighteen miles with an average width of about ten miles.
- The Colorado River within the park averages 300 feet in width and is up to 100 feet in depth. At an average speed of about 4 miles per hour the river provides plenty of movement for people taking the rafting trips down the river.
- The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is around 8,000 feet above sea level with the South Rim averaging 7,000 feet above sea level. This accounts for the South Rim being warmer and able to be open year round.
- Average temperatures on the South Rim during the summer range from the 50s to the 80s Fahrenheit and during the winter these temperatures drop to the 30s to below zero F. It is about 30 degrees warmer down in the canyons. On the North Rim people can count on the temperatures being about ten degrees cooler.
- Deer are abundant in the park but there are also other animals. Within the Grand Canyon are 70 species of mammals that might be spotted at one time or another.
- Also for bird watchers the 250 species that reside here at one time or another can keep visitors happily occupied in spotting them.
The Stone Boat
A sign adjacent to this old boat at the Grand Canyon showed the following:
"This unnamed boat, used on the Julius F. Stone expedition, is the oldest remaining boat that has run the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.
The 1,300 mile trip began at Green River, Wyoming, on September 12, 1909, and ended November 19 at Needles, California.
Pioneer river runner Nathaniel Galloway designed the 16 foot, flat bottomed, cataract boat to run rapids stern first."
Kolb Studio at Grand Canyon
Prior to the Grand Canyon becoming a national monument and then a national park private enterprises were operating along the canyon rim. One such business was a photographic studio owned by the Kolb brothers.
This is the building they had erected and it is now operated by the National Park Service. There is an auditorium inside as well as a bookstore. Frequent art exhibits are also on display at that location.
The Kolb brothers used to take black and white photos of the people descending the canyon on mules and would expeditiously have the film developed and for sale upon the visitors return.
An interesting fact that I recently learned was that their developing studio was about a 45 minute walk down into the canyon. They must have kept themselves in great physical shape scurrying up and down those canyon walls on a regular basis!
A Natural Wonder of the World.
There are amazing sites all over planet earth and the Grand Canyon surely deserves its reputation as being one of them. In fact it is considered to be one of the 7 natural wonders!
Grand Canyon Skywalk
There is now a West Rim Grand Canyon site that has opened and a skywalk has been built since the timing of my last three visits. The roads getting to that site are mostly graded but can be bumpy and rutted for the last 18 miles depending upon rains according to what I have read. Most of the visitors get there from tours arranged and originating in Las Vegas.
Grand Canyon Skywalk
No matter how one chooses to travel to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and how one elects to enjoy this natural wonder while there one will surely come away from that site with a feeling of awe and wonder.
Hope you enjoyed these pictures taken on several of my trips as well as the inserted videos. The wow factor will still be there when you get a chance to visit this national park in person. Good as pictures can be there is nothing like seeing and experiencing the Grand Canyon in person!
Slideshow of our visiting the Grand Canyon in January one year. Snow on the ground and the cold winter weather made for fewer crowds of people.
What would you like to do at the Grand Canyon?
Grand Canyon National Park
© 2009 Peggy Woods