Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park
At the bottom of the Grand Canyon, there are two suspension bridges which cross over the Colorado River and lead to Phantom Ranch and the Bright Angel Campground. The bridges are quite sturdy, and those who fear heights needn't worry about either one collapsing. But, then again, those with an extreme fear of heights may want to avoid the Grand Canyon entirely.
Fondest memory: Reaching the suspension bridge over the Colorado river. This was the dream moment. Actually, this was the dream for the two of us when we'd planned to take this trip together. But long before November, 2003, we'd parted ways. I took the trip alone. Well, with Jim and Dan. But, in many, many ways, I was alone.
Crossing the suspension bridge and standing on the bottom of the Canyon was a bittersweet moment. I wanted to see this through and I did, but it brought me back to what was missing from my life. A dream that had ended long before this one had been realized. After a moment of teary-eyed silence, I realized that this was it. The months that followed our parting were filled with reminders of things we'd planned to do together. Hiking the Grand Canyon was the last of those plans. Everything else had long since passed.
Reaching the bottom was a turning point as well as an accomplishment. My dream was completed and I could now move forward and start to create other dreams. It was finally time to put this one to rest and begin to dream of other things.
Favorite thing: The Grand Canyon is the only place in the US where mail is transported by mule. On the morning of our second day, we headed over to Phantom Ranch where Jim suggested that I mail a postcard to my address back home. It was pretty cool to come back home after the trip and have a postcard waiting for me bearing the stamp "Mailed from the bottom of the Grand Canyon."
The single best things to do would be to take a hike into the canyon or float down the river, camping along the banks.
Fondest memory: It could be when a sleepy bat decided to roost in my hiking partner's hair near Phantom Ranch; or seeing desert sheep in areas along the river that you would think nothing could ever get to for the sheerness of the cliffs around; or seeing the face of new rafting companions as the raft blasts over 20 foot waves in Granite Rapids; or it might be the bodyfloating done in the muddy waters of the Little Colorado; maybe the turqouise waters of Havasu Creek; the anticipatory scouting of Lava Falls; the final night thunderstorm at Separation Creek; the setting drama of the granaries at Nanoweap; the unbelieveable beauty of the canyon walls in the Marble Canyon section; the wonder of the Tapeats Creek and the emergence of the Thunder River from the canyon walls; the simplicity of the campsites along the river bank.
Overlooking into Grand Canyon rim, it is an incredible sight to the blue color of Colorado River snaking its way and continuing to cut downwards the bottom of the Grand Canyon lowest valley.
How incredible that a river can cut through all the layers of rock and sandstone to create this huge open canyon is sometimes beyond comprehension and belief.
Colorado river is 1,450 miles (2,333 km) long from the Rockies of Colorado to the Gulf of California in Mexico. Long live Colorado river.
* About 6 million years ago, the young Colorado River began to slice into the upper layers of the canyon. Gouging inch by inch over centuries, the river reached the schist 4000 feet below the rim & continued to cut. Wind & water simultaneously wear away & widening as well as deepening the canyon's floor & walls.
So, that's it. Amazing how time & natural forces carved out the most beautiful landscape on earth, isn't it?
Fondest memory: Weather has been amazing today. A little humid, according to Jim, but then again he thinks of 30% humidity as damp. Go figure. But for now its sunny and comfortable. The clouds are rolling in and there's a good chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. Hiking out in the rain tomorrow won't be pleasant, but there's little that we can do about that.