I love National Parks, I visit them every opportunity I have. My favorites include Yellowstone,Yosemite, but also, anywhere that land has been set aside for the public to enjoy. I am about conservationism, although I am not an environmentalist. I believe that public lands are for all of us to use, whether we are riding or walking on that land.
Big used to live within an hour and a half of the Grand Canyon, and yet never made the trip, so when we had an extra day in Arizona this week, I pouted until we went. The Grand Canyon is one of those incredible works that not only has the natural beauty that the national parks are known for, but also a partnership with the locals so that people actually live on the park property.
It was late in the 19th century when the Grand Canyon was discovered, many private enterprises began not long afterward. It wasn’t until the area was designated a National Park in 1919 that those enterprises slowed, although they never really stopped. Over five million people access the rims of the park to view the dramatic landscapes, and many more travel along the bottom, either rafting the Colorado or hiking from the rim to the floor and back again. The park service works very hard to limit the number of vehicles that pollute the area and provide bus rides to all areas of the park to streamline the congestion.
The other thing the Park has done well is create walking trails along the south rim to provide an area for visitors to use. It was amazing to me that in late October, late on a Sunday afternoon, there were still a ton of people around. I thought the tourist season was over, but apparently no one told the folks going to Arizona that the season was over. It was awesome.
The Canyon itself is as dramatic as ever, over one mile deep, it was carved by the Colorado River. The rocks are over 190 million years old, at the bottom of the canyon. The oldest human artifacts date back almost 12,000 years. The views are incredible and always worth a stop to look over the canyon’s edge. Plan your trip now, don’t expect that there will always be another time, who ever knows what the future holds, not for the Canyon, I’m pretty sure that isn’t going anywhere, but you may. I’m so glad we went.