inngeo

CALIFORNIA


Text excerpt from log report for Day 14:

Finally (at Mather Point), we stood right on the edge of the 20-mile long South Rim and marveled at the furrowed landscape the Colorado River has created over millions of years. In the warm evening light the sand- and limestone layers glowed in hues of red, brown and green. No wonder words failed us as we looked down into the Grand Canyon; an impressive piece of art created by nature itself. By air, the distance from Mather Point across to the North Rim is approximately 10 miles. Looking down from where we were, the canyon's depth is nearly one vertical mile. Although the small section of the Colorado River seen from Mather Point appears to be merely a creek, the river is actually about 300 feet wide. The river's depth averages 50 feet, but has been measured as 110 feet in one spot (Loving 1981, 14). Bright Angel Creek has cut the large drainage channel, Bright Angel Canyon, on the north side of the Colorado River. With binoculars, the North Rim's Grand Canyon Lodge, just west of the head of Bright Angel Canyon, could be seen. Elevation at the North Rim is about 1,200 feet higher than that at the South Rim. While the lookout points along the South Rim (elev. approx. 6,300 ft.) may be visited all year round, access to the North Rim (elev. 7,500 ft.) is blocked during winter months - mostly because of heavy snowfall. Because of higher uplift of the North Rim an additional vegetational layer can be found there, represented primarily by various types of fritters (Douglas Fir, White Fir).

Picture: Five million tourists visit the Grand Canyon each year
Picture: Mooney Falls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation (western Grand Canyon area)
Picture: Outlook from Glacier Point - a spectacular location above the Yosemite Valley

The huge gorge consists of many different layers of rock that show the hand of time as erosion gradually eats away the rock. We had to keep in mind that the large-scale erosion of the Grand Canyon could only take place because the Colorado Plateau has been up- lifted over the last nine million years and thus formed an obstacle to the river running through this area (Meynen 1985, 262).


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