The Grand Canyon: Geology’s Mecca

                                   The kids at an overlook on the Kaibab trail

We learned a lot of geology yesterday during our hike from the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River and precipitation carved through the dry, sandstone plateau during millions of years to create a breathtaking canyon. The earth’s strata are on magnificent display. Anyone with an interest in geology needs to visit the park. Simply awesome! It is crazy to think how a river winding through a dry, elevated plateau made something so grand.

The north rim much less visited than the iconic south rim. It is much harder to get to the north rim from Las Vegas, Flagstaff and Phoenix. The high elevation of the north rim (8,297 feet – 2,528 meters) means more rainfall. I was surprised at the heavy forested trails down the canyon. We were planning a light hiking day and so had a leisurely breakfast at the lodge. The view was absolutely spectacular and the food wasn’t bad as well. It didn’t feel crowded at all and had a Yellowstone feel with rangers giving talks, Smokey the Bear signs, cabins, etc.

Nadia at the north rim lodge.

We wanted to get down into the canyon a bit and so took the Kaibab trail 2.7 miles down to a man-made tunnel. The trail should have been called “mule poop” trail and we learned that mule urine smells much worse than mule feces. The scents from the ponderosa pines and views of the canyon made up for the occasional foul smelling excrement. It got much warmer as we made our way down the canyon. We were walking through time as the many layers of rock are visible. We only made it down to the 6th layer, the Redwall Limestone, a mere 340 million years old. The bottom layer is approximately 1,700 million years old. The way down is much easier than the way up so we didn’t go down as far as I wanted.

A Geologist’s Paradise!

Hiking can be tiresome and boring, but I find the long hours on the trail gives our family time to talk and reflect on our lives. We were sharing stories with the kids about when they were babies. They are fascinated in their own stories, and talking about them getting colic, changing diapers, drinking milk, etc. brings them much delight. It cements the bonds of family. I can’t wait for our return hike to Zion tomorrow.

A mighty Ponderosa Pine!