Grand, meaning magnificent and imposing in appearance, size, or style. Canyon, 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters) = Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is indeed grand. Deep, wide, long, and gasp-generating beautiful. There isn't much that you have not already seen in some publication or friend's slide show, or by visiting the Grand Canyon yourself, except for seeing Ed, Benton and me on the rim. So,
What the Grand Canyon travel writers neglect to mention are the crowds and crowds and crowds of people, cars, RV's, bicycles, strollers, buses, and dogs, all maneuvering for a piece of the action. Rim walkers, trail hikers, river runners, bicycle riders and tour bus travelers are all wanting to see this magnificant place.
After walking a portion of the rim our first day, we set out to find a place to stay, and return to the rim early the next day in hopes of beating the crowds. Everything was full -- hotels, camp grounds, RV camps -- everything! One woman, at a camp ticket office, directed us to a boondock location just outside the south gate. A perfect location, especially for the early morning start we planned the next day.
We weren't sunrise early, but we did beat the crowd. We rode our bikes along the rim and through the park, stopping often to peer at the canyon from various viewpoints, all before the masses arrived. Once the crowds began pouring in, we were driving out.
These photos are from one of our last stops before leaving the park, pleasing us with both the canyon views, and the architecture of the Watchtower, designed by Mary Colter (1869 - 1958).
This view point also marks the location of a historically significant 1956 airline crash, attracting enough attention to stimulate the formation of the FAA.
Our last viewpoint had quite a story associated with it. A couple pulled up ahead of us and scurried off to the edge, with the man going out onto the point and then out of sight. Some time later, he scrambled back, saying, "There are two cars down there." Then adding, "One of the cars, early one morning, a number of years ago, was driven over the edge. By noon, the driver had climbed back up the bluff and was found walking on the road." It leaves one wondering how this man, intent on ending his life, felt after he survived his wild suicide ride down the cliff.
"You cannot see the Grand Canyon in one view, as if it were a changeless spectacle from which a curtain might be lifted, but to see it, you have to toil from month to month through its labyrinths."
- John Wesley Powell