Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Goodbye, Grand Canyon, and breath-taking views...
Kerry seemed to sleep well and - thankfully - felt better as the day progressed. As we headed east, along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and out of the park, we noticed how much elevation we were losing. I'm so used to living at sea-level, and thinking in terms of elevation = mountains/snow/glaciers etc. We all are having to reset our assumptions.
Moving on... we had to go east, around the canyon, to head northwest. Drove through a lot of very depressed and depressing areas in northern Arizona. This was one of the nicer homes. Beautiful backdrop, yah?
We went a little out of our way to take in Page, because of the...
... Glen Canyon Dam. Not as big as Grand Coulee, but pretty impressive! See the bridge in front of the dam? That's our route.
Looking down the Colorado River - very green.
The boys were soooo impressed. (/sarcasm) Of course, we made a tactical error and stopped to pick up some take-out right before stopping, and then cruelly forced the boys to Leave Their Lunches In The Van just for a minute and Get Out Of The Car to see the view. Because we're mean like that.
And now, back to our Sonic burgers...
Zion. We knew we'd be arriving late in the day and planned just to drive through the park to our hotel, about a half an hour out the other side. But of course we had to stop. Repeatedly. :D
If you approach the park from the east, as we did, you enter through a tunnel, and it's like discovering a whole new world.
Even the road is different. Look! It's red!
But it's the rocks that are so unusual. Like Checkerboard Mesa. How were all those cracks formed?
And the color... beautiful. We couldn't help wanting to walk on it, to touch it.
Such variety, just in one hill!
And I love the clouds building in the background. But no thunderstorms for us.
I love how jumbly it all is - so differently colored, from top to bottom, and the striations going so many different directions. It's hard to take it in.
After passing through the second, and much larger tunnel, we looked back to see this enormous arch. It's impossible to grasp the perspective from the picture. It's HUGE.
This tunnel was so long (over a mile) there were "galleries" (windows) cut into the wall, both for light and ventilation. This solved a mystery for me. I had seen a photo, similar to this, that my dad took years ago, but his didn't have the trees in it.
It always puzzled me because it looked like a tunnel, and a road should be coming out of it, but there obviously wasn't. So what was the purpose of the tunnel, up on the face of a blank cliff? (Kind of reminded me of something from the Roadrunner and the Coyote.)
Ah, now I know. It's a window.
Doesn't the rock look almost fluid, somehow?
The majority of the park is not accessible by private vehicle. You have to park at the Visitors Center and ride the free shuttles. We decided to leave that for the next day.
This was our signal to head for the hotel and the pool!
Day 11 Miles : 283 Total Miles : 2836