By Sedona Ortega
If you are an Arizonan, you need to take a trip to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. People come from everywhere, even from all the way across the globe to see this beautiful place, but we are lucky to have it right in our home state. This place is an absolute must see! If you take a trip to the Grand Canyon, it is only about two hours away from Prescott.
More than five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. You should be one of them. It is huge, and when you see it, you will be amazed by the grandness of it all. The Grand Canyon is 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep and 277 miles long. The canyon is made up of many different layers. In order from top to bottom, they are: Kaibab Limestone, Toroweap Formation, Coconino Sandstone, Hermit Shale, Supai Group, Redwall Limestone, Mauv Limestone, Bright Angel Shale, Tapeats Limestone, and Vishnu Schist. Each of these layers represents a layer of time and geologic era.
Interestingly, there are 1.2 billion years of rock missing in what we can see of the layers of the canyon. This is called “The Great Unconformity.” Scientists believe that these rocks for some reason built up at an angle, and got trapped behind the exposed rock that is visible when we look at the canyon, most likely due to tectonic plates colliding. The time is not missing, just simply buried under other rock. This is an explanation for the slanted appearance when you look at models of the Grand Canyon’s layers.
The Grand Canyon is home to many plant and animal species. As you are driving along the roads at Grand Canyon National Park, there is a good chance you will see elk and squirrels. There are many other animals living around as well including, the Grand Canyon rattlesnake, desert bighorn sheep, the Arizona state mammal–the ringtail, mountain lions, and many different types of birds including the California Condor and the Pinyon Jay.
Many of the plant species include Ponderosa and Pinyon pine trees, as well as many desert shrubs to just name a few. One of the reasons the canyon can support a variety of flora and fauna are because of the many different types of climate zones that exist in this area. As you travel deeper in the canyon, there is everything from desert scrub, to the riparian area.
When you decide to visit the canyon, take a hike on The Timeline Trail. There are pennies that are placed along the trail every yard, that mark one million years. There are different types of rock samples along the trail that represent what rocks exist in the canyon. As you walk along the trails, you will pass people of all different backgrounds, speaking all sorts of foreign languages.
There are many things to do when you’re at the Grand Canyon. You can take a trip down the Colorado River. It is a beautiful trip. If you decide to take a very long adventure, set out at Lee’s Ferry up by Lake Powell and take the rafting trek down to Diamond Creek or Pierce Ferry which is right at the beginning of Lake Mead. This way you could see the bottom of the canyon and look up at the canyon walls. You would even experience many of the powerful rapids that you can raft down on the river. If you would like to take a day trip or a short camping trip, you can visit the rims. The North and South Rims are both beautiful and there is a lot of information for tourists to learn about the canyon.
So take a trip to Grand Canyon National Park! It is a place that people from all across the globe come together and simply enjoy the beauty of this natural place.