The Grand Canyon on the Colorado Plateau in Arizona is the most unusual geological site on our planet. It formed 5 – 6 million years ago in a blur of limestone rock by the Colorado River and continues to deepen by the waters of the Red River. The word “Colorado” in Spanish means “coloured”, and in fact the water in the river is red-brown due to the large amounts of sand and clay. The length of the canyon is 446 km and the depth reaches up to 1800 m.
Natural erosion of the canyon walls created fantastic shapes, which are unique in its natural beauty. Stone labyrinths of red-brown and orange-yellow layers describe the history of the Earth’s different geological eras for 1.5 billion years.
I was dreaming of visiting this natural wonder when Andrey my youngest son recently returned from America with loads of photos and shared his impressions with me…
Q – Andrey, what was the most surprising thing on this trip?
A- The Grand Canyon is impossible to compare with any other. When you stand on the observation plateau and look into the distance, all you see are the mountains of the canyon on the horizon. This is a spectacular experience, just mountains and the silence of wildlife. I looked at photos of the canyon on the Internet before my departure and was thrilled at the prospect of going there but it is impossible to describe with words what I saw. What you see in reality gives you feelings you cannot possibly imagine when looking at photographs.
Q – How long was your journey and what US States did you visit?
A- I traveled on a tour through Utah, Nevada and Arizona for 1,756 km, this took three days with stops at observation decks and hotels in the different cities. The landscape through the window of the bus was constantly changing from deserts to mountains, forests and plains with many twists in the road and changes in temperature. In the Nevada desert it was an unbearable heat, whereas in the Utah Mountains it was really cold. On the roads in Arizona we had constant descents and ascents. Sometimes the scenery reminded of a Martian landscape. In short, long journeys in the US will never be boring; on the contrary it was impossible to stop looking out of the coach window.
We drove on a grand tour from Las Vegas to Page and Sedona through a huge territory in which where many nature reserves are situated. We visited the Grand Canyon, Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon. Each of them is unique and lovely. All these canyons are well known and thoroughly studied but still, little is known and nothing is comparable with the Antelope Canyon located near the town of Page, which was founded in 1957 when construction began on the world’s largest Dam on the Colorado River, the Hoover dam in the Navajo lands. In Page now more than 26% of the population is made up of Native Americans and the land around it belongs to the Navajo. Therefore, Indian driver and tour guides took us through Antelope canyon in a jeep, which was a very unusual adventure.
Antelope refers to the canyons gap and very few canyons of this type are readily available to the public, in addition, this canyon is not considered as a national park, so it is not very well known. I recommend a visit to this place by anyone who is going on a trip to the Grand Canyon; it is a completely unique natural phenomenon. It’s length is a little more than a hundred yards and when passing through it is impossible not to admire the different shades of the red walls and the wonderful harmony of the delineated lines.
We stayed the night in the town of Sedona where bright massive red-orange mountains made from sandstone emanate beautiful orange hews at sunset. Sedona is located in the Arizona desert at an altitude of 1372 meters above sea level. This is also an Indian Reservation and at the same times a place of power, where people come to nourish their energies and feel more invigorated. Historically, Sedona is a sacred place for the tribes of the Apaches, Navajos and Hopis. Carlos Castaneda describes these places in his books about this spiritual quest.
Q – That is a very unusual juxtaposition of a spiritual place, which is wholly involved with gambling, did you visit Las Vegas and the casinos whilst you were there?
A- Yes indeed, the trip was full of contrasts, from the Sacred places of power in Sedona, to the extraordinary beauty of the mountains and the breathtaking views of the Canyons, before finally returning once again to Las Vegas, known as the Casino capital of the world and the largest city in Nevada. Here, on the main Strip lit up like a Christmas tree, all the main casinos are situated. Every hotel is a casino and everything is organized to engage you in gambling. As we headed to our hotel the “Paris”, it was impossible to ignore the feverish atmosphere hitting you from every direction as you walked down the street. In the great hall of the hotel, the size of a stadium arena, all that you saw was the site of gambling tables and lots of people involved in the excitement of taking part in this addictive playground.
- What advice would you give to travelers who are only planning a travel?
– Plan a few days of travel by rented car (about $ 80 a day) and do not waste time to visit all the wonderful canyons. This will positively be the experience of a lifetime!