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Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

grand canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the earth's true natural wonders. No photograph, no set of statistics, can prepare you for such vastness. At more than one mile deep, it is an inconceivable abyss; varying between four and eighteen miles wide, it's an endless expanse of bewildering shapes and colors, desert brightness and shadows.

The overlooks along the rim all offer views that shift and change unceasingly from dawn to sunset. You can hike down into the depths on foot or by mule, hover above in a helicopter or raft through the whitewater rapids of the river itself; you can spend a night at Phantom Ranch on the canyon floor, or swim in the waterfalls of the idyllic Havasupai Reservation. And yet that distance always remains - the Grand Canyon stands apart.

While it may look forbidding, the Grand Canyon is not a dead place. All sorts of desert wildlife survive here - sheep, rabbits, eagles, vultures, spiders, scorpions and snakes. Layer upon layer of different rocks reveal their own fossil records. Yet how the canyon was formed still remains a mystery. All that is known is that the fantastic limestone and sandstone formations are the result of of erosion by wind and extreme cycles of heat and cold.

Most tourists visit the South Rim of the Canyon. Visits to the South Rim start at the Mather Point, from where the views to the east in particular are stupendous. If you walk west for ten minutes, you come to Yavapai Point. From here, you can see two separate segments of the Colorado. It is hard to imagine a more perfect position than these two points from which to watch the sunrise over the canyon.

 
 
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