The sheer size and age of these structures is unbelievable. The majestic grand canyon(s) gave us a glimpse of the insignificance of human race in the larger scheme of things. Here is a brief history:
Grand Canyon lies in Colorado plateau, which was uplifted by collision of tectonic plates. Colorado river and its smaller streams have been cutting through layers of rocks for millions of years resulting in the formation of Grand Canyon. The age of Grand Canyon is a hot topic for debate but Wiki states that Colorado river made its way through the plateau at least 17 million years ago. Since then, Colorado river has been eroding layers of rock to result in the current structure of Grand Canyon.
Five of us flew in from different part of North America to Las Vegas - Ali from Raleigh, Ady from LA, Pushkar & Deepak from San Jose and I flew in from Montreal. Luckily for us, we didn't face any flight delays like the colorado hike last year (http://athmagyaan.blogspot.com/2010/08/colorado-trekkers-paradise.html)
After spending the day at a hotel in Las Vegas, we left for the campground just outside Grand Canyon National park. Just before entering the campground, we were stopped by a police officer who informed us that the campround was full. This would have been a major upset to our plan as there is hardly any other spot available nearby for camping. But, luckily for us, we had reserved a campsite and were allowed to enter on providing reservation details. I guess the officer was bluffing to prevent gate crashers from entering the campground.
We reached our campsite around midnight and were ready for a short sleep as we had an early start the next day.
DAY 2: South Rim (South Kaibab Trailhead) to Cottonwood campground via Phantom ranch (14 miles/22.4 Kms)
After just three hours of sleep we set off on this 21 mile rim-to-rim hike. We reached just on time for the 415AM shuttle which took us till South Kaibab trailhead. Here is a view of how it looked just after we started:
On the way down to Phantom Ranch
Ady (Left) and Pushkar