Posts Tagged ‘Explorer’

The Grand Canyon

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Last week we visited Antelope valley and as we headed back south we decided to explore the Grand  Canyon.

the Grand Canyon is Arizona’s largest geologic feature. The canyon is 277 miles ( 446 kilometers) long.   Created over a 6 million year period by the Colorado river and the many tributaries that join it, the canyon is 4 - 18 miles ( 6.4 -29 kilometers) wide and is 6000 ft ( 1.83 Kilometers) deep at the deepest point.

The Anastazi and later the Pueblo Indians called the canyon home for several thousand years. They lived and hunted in the many canyons and caves and built Pueblo towns on the ledges.

The first European to see the canyon was Garcia Lopez de Gardenas in 1540. He was part of the Spanish explorer Coronado’s expedition looking for the 7 cities of gold. Franciscan Friars Dominquez and Escalante discovered the canyon next in 1776 while looking for a way to Santa Fe. They found a crossing that is now at the bottom of Lake Powell.

The first American was James Pattie and a group of mountain men in 1826. Joseph Ives tried to explore the Colorado from the Gulf of California in a stern wheeler called the Explorer. He made it all the way up to Black Canyon, about a 350 mile journey before it hit a rock and had to be abandoned. In 1869 John Wesley Powell was the first explorer to travel the length of the Colorado.

President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Grand Canyon in 1903 and established a game preserve in1906. In 1919 after 13 years of court battles with mining companies and timber companies that wanted to exploit the canyon it became a National park.

There are 9 historic buildings along the Grand Canyon Rim.

The oldest is Buckey O’Neil Cabin built in the 1890’s for author, miner, Judge, politician, and tour guide Buckey O’Neil.

The second oldest is Kolb Studio built in 1904 by brothers Ellsworth & Emery Kolb. They made their living photographing people on Bright Angel trail.

Next is El Tovar hotel a 4 story rustic chalet style building built in 1905. Hopi House and Verkamp Curios were also built in 1905.

The Grand Canyon Railroad Depot was built in 1909 and is one of only 3 log cabin depots left. There are 14 different train excursions to the Grand Canyon.

Look out Studio was built by Mary Colter in 1914.

Desert Watchtower designed to be like an old Anastazi watchtower was built in 1932.

Finally Bright Angel Lodge was designed by Mary Colter and built by Fred Harvey in 1935.


The Grand Canyon receives rain or snow twice a year. The north rim receives 144 inches (317 cm ) of snow in winter and the south rim receives 60 inches (132 cm). Late summer is the monsoon season with thunderstorms a common occurrence. The temperature can vary from 0 F (17.8 C) in the winter to 100+ F ( 40 C) in the summer.


There are 1737 plant species in the canyon. 167 are fungi, 64 are moss, and 195 are Lichen. There are 5 different zones or climates in the canyon.


There are 34 animal species in the canyons. 15 of the species are rodents and 8 are bats.


There have been 600 + people killed in the canyon since the 1870’s. The biggest single death toll was in 1956 when 2 airliners crashed into each other over the canyon killing 128 people. The rest came from people not knowing their limitations. Falls, drownings, hypothermia, and dehydration lead the list.

We spent a week along the grand canyon but you could spend months and still not see everything.

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