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September 22, 2010 / jslipschultz

Day 10: Rest Day at the Grand Canyon

Having never been to the Grand Canyon (other than an aerial tour), this was a cool experience for me.  After breakfast, Michael, Bill, Austin, Dee and I took the bus to the Bright Angel Trailhead.  We hiked down into the canyon for about 40 minutes and then spent almost twice that amount of time hiking back up.  One of the amazing things about the Grand Canyon is how you can see history in the layers of rock that are exposed.  The oldest rocks in the canyon are 1.84 billion (with a B) years old.  The experts believe the Earth is 4.55 billion years old.  The “youngest rock” is 270 million years old.  The canyon was “carved” over the last 5-6 million years–a geological blink of the eye.

Being here makes you feel a little insignificant.  Some of the trails here are so long or strenuous, you are asked not to plan for a one day out-and-back.  The average distance across the Grand Canyon “as the crow flies” is ten miles.  However, to drive from the South Rim to the North Rim requires a five-hour drive of 215 miles.

Pics from morning hike:

South Rim Hiking down Bright Trail Mule train on bright trail Looking up Bright Trail stopping on bright trail

In the afternoon, Austin, Brit, Dana and I took a bus tour of the west end of the South Rim.  For those who have been here, the highlights were Hopi Point, Pima Point and Hermits Rest.  Pretty neat views and we even got hit by a 5 minute rain shower that prompted a rainbow on the canyon (you can see it in a pic below).  Elevation: 7,000 feet.  Average depth of the canyon is one mile.

Pics from bus tour:

Hopi Point 1  Hopi Point 2  Pima Point  Hermit Rest rainbow Hermit Rest 2  Hermit Rest3  different layers

Karl worked on my bike today to try and eliminate the clicking noise in my bottom bracket (where the cranks connect into the gears up front).  It only makes the noise when I’m standing up pedaling.  I thought we had that licked at the bike shop, but nope.  In the process, he deduced I need to replace the bottom bracket bearings.  One of the only parts I didn’t replace in August.  He may order and get installed in Taos.

A bunch of us had a nice dinner (that needed to be expedited since it was closing in on our bedtime).  It was strange to not have to pack up and leave this morning like all other days.  Also figured out during my stay here that I forgot to pack my winter biking jacket and base layer shirt.  Luckily Jennifer had not yet sent my first care package.  Ah, the trials of living on the road.  And of course, not having a cell signal in my room was a slight inconvenience (conducting calls on the sidewalk at the right spot) and no wi-fi except several blocks away at the lodge.  Yes, it sounds like whining…maybe it is, but it did mean a late update on both days at the canyon.  The price you pay for stopping at one of the great wonders of the world.  It really was amazing to be here.  Glad it was on the route!

Video of Hopi Point on bus tour.  A little bit of wind noise.  I’m explaining you can barely see the Colorado River down below (300 ft wide and yet you can barely see it a mile down–it used to be 3,000 ft wide a long time ago):


One Comment

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  1. Ces / Sep 22 2010 8:27 pm

    I’ve been to many of our nations finest National Parks. They all pretty much make me feel “insignificant”. The parks are the answer to the question – “Is there a God?”

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