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Wednesday, 01 March 2017

Experience Southwest USA’s Five Wonders of the World in Ten Days - Page 2

Written by Maureen C. Bruschi
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Grand Canyon’s Stunning Depth, Color and Dimension – Day 2-4  

A two hour trip north of Sedona, through Flagstaff, brought us to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. On day one, we walked to Mather Point from the Visitor Center for our first taste of the Grand Canyon’s rust, salmon and tan-colored layers of rock.  My husband and I stood in silence and awe on a platform jutting out over the canyon.  Viewing close-up sheer drop-offs into an abyss filled with cobbled and cliff-edged rock stairs are not for the faint of heart.   

We caught a free shuttle bus at the Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Road, a road that parallels the western leg of the rim trail.  The shuttle tour along Hermits Road was by far the best way to enjoy the nine overlooks along the route to Hermits Rest.  You can hop on and off the shuttle whenever you like, or walk from overlook to overlook along trails hovering over the edge of the canyon.  Grand Canyon drop-offs and steep canyon walls are best seen at the Abyss overlook.  

Overlooking Grand Canyon

Day two in the Grand Canyon was equally busy as we drove 26 miles along Desert View Drive to the Desert View Watchtower.  The Watchtower, one of seven buildings along the South Rim designed by Mary Coulter to blend with the Grand Canyon’s landscape, is a 70-foot-high observation tower built of stone and mortar.  The tower has a spiral five story staircase that leads to a roof top view of the canyon, the highest point in the South Rim. 

Desert View Watchtower Grand Canyon

We spent our final afternoon in the Grand Canyon, hiking a small portion of the 7.8 mile somewhat narrow Bright Angel Trail, clinging to the canyon wall, as we descended down the rim toward the Colorado River.  I had trouble picturing a mule caravan riding down or up this rocky, sloping trail, but apparently riding a mule into the canyon is an experience an adventure enthusiast wouldn’t want to miss.  Although we hiked only a small section of the trail, the view lower in the canyon looking up and around at the rim was stunning and well worth the trek.  

The Goblins (aka Hoodoos) of Bryce Canyon - Day 5-6

A five hour drive north took us to Utah’s Bryce Canyon, best known for its unusual, eerie rock formations or hoodoos shaped by weathering and erosion in desert climates. A visit to the Black Birch Canyon overlook provided us with our first glimpse of orange, pink and white streaked hoodoos.  I thought they looked like totem poles, figures or faces.  One hoodoo looked like a tiger while another large hoodoo reminded me of Marge and Homer Simpson.  The unique hoodoos found at Bryce Canyon were formed over thousands of years by water, ice and gravity, ranging in size from about 5 feet to heights surpassing a ten story building. 

BryceCanyonHoodoos

We spent our second day visiting a number of overlooks, vistas and trails that bordered Bryce Amphitheater which contained the largest concentration of hoodoos.  Here we found a treasure-trove of hoodoos in all shapes and sizes as we hiked a three mile loop which included trails and gardens. 

Bryce Point and Inspiration Point offer mind-boggling views of hoodoos.  At Bryce Point, we walked to a cliff that jutted out over the canyon, overlooking Silent City, an overwhelming spectacle of hoodoos resembling figures in the rock. 

Bryce Point Bryce Canyon

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Last modified on Wednesday, 01 March 2017

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