Grand Canyon 2

Today was filled with the things that make Grand Canyon the treasure that it is. History, geology, photography, native anthropology, weather, and wonder. After a good breakfast - the kind we're not used to and only enjoy when traveling - we left the little town where we are staying and joined the stream of cars entering the park. Scott happily used his Senior National Park Pass to get into the park without a fee. We followed the tourists along the main road then veered off to the south and began a long drive to an area of the canyon called Desert View...stopping along the way at pull outs and overlooks to stare and gasp at one beautiful vista after another. When I say gasp, I'm not being dramatic. Looking down over the edges of the cliffs (with no fences or attempts to protect anyone from falling) does bring gasps. I'm not height-phobic, but I had to back away several times - it was almost more than I could handle.

We made time today for Scott to put on his red apron and be an artist. He made a sketch of an incredible view with a rock formations. Then he oil painted a picture of the Watchtower (a historic stone building that is nearly 100 years old and was designed by a woman architect named Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter) and the ledges and valleys beyond the tower. The painting is beautiful.

I loved today. It was enchanting and soul filling. I sat on a hundred-year old wooden bench and wrote a little essay. Writing calmed me. I craved the solace of sunlight and warmth, so I walked along the rim and looked out to view the horizontally-striped cliffs...layers of red sandstone, white limestone, gray shale, green sagebrush, and golden grasses. (Actually, scientists have identified 16 geologic layers.)
I enjoyed watching the acrobatics of the large, black ravens as they flew across the canyons, caught the April breezes, flipped and somersaulted. They performed gracefully, as if they knew that the visitors standing on the balcony of the Watchtower were watching and shooting photographs of them.

I took this photo just before sunset. Then for the next two hours, I just kept gazing at the view in front of me. It is the kind of scene where you'd say, "If you painted that, it would look fake." The layers were so incredible.