May 2, 2014
I am on my #dakotagoesusa trip and the first stop is Grand Canyon National Park!It's a big hole in the earth cut by the Colorado River. The river has been running through it for millions of years to help carve into the rock and make this giant canyon 6,000 feet (1800 meters) deep. That is about 24 soccer fields!
I hiked the top section of the canyon called the upper South Rim. The view is different every few steps you take. We stopped SO many times! The sites from up there can make you dizzy! Being uneducated at first, I wanted to jump down and take a look, but then I met some real National Park Rangers!
I became a deputized Junior Park Ranger with official badge! Besides being dangerous, I learned that the rock formations, wildlife and animals would be effected by any disturbance beyond what is an official trail. I have a lot more to see on this trip so it was good to learn this first thing. Different types of rock layer this canyon and the colors are amazing. Much of the rock at the rim (called formations) is made of limestone and it is around 230 millions years old. Now, I understand when some say, "you're as old as a rock"... Ha, whatta joke! Next time you have a rock, pebble or stone in your hand consider where it's been in order to get its shape and texture. I know that I'm gonna give them a better sniff now.
Ranger A.J. told us all about the geological facts of these formations. It was a lot of words about rocks! He did a really good job explaining it so that my floppy ears could understand. Also important to know is that the river is not the only thing that created this big hole. There is billions of years of land that collides and erodes, and also sea levels that rise and fall. All of these things combined have created this canyon. The dirt (Earth) under me is constantly moving and I don't even feel it!
We hiked as much as we had time for on the South Rim. There is so much to see and there is information everywhere along the paths so that you can learn about the geology. There is even a Geology Museum. We also went to a late night "Star Talk" with Ranger Ty where we looked up into the Arizona sky above the Canyon and looked at all those bright lights in the sky called stars.
You can go to Junior Park Ranger camp, hike some trails, watch crazy movies on a big round ball, and learn about what you can do to keep the park fun and safe. After all that you can then go to the North Rim!
There are many lodges that you can stay if you want to hang outfor a visit. The choice we made was Mather Campground. Camping is always my first choice because you are outside even when you sleep! I was beat after a long day.