Another Grand Sight
Here is a riddle:
Going down is an option, Going up is mandatory. Where am I?
The Grand Canyon of course!
While in Arizona, we decided to check one of the Natural Wonders of the World off of our bucket lists. To make sure we could learn as much as possible about the Grand Canyon, we decided to take a bike tour along the South Rim. We had two guides named Emily and Chase who were very informative. They taught us many different things about the canyon.
The Grand Canyon became a national park in 1919 and was made a World Heritage Site in 1979.
The canyon has taken 5 to 6 million years to form, and there are even some Precambrian rocks that are almost 2 billion years old at the bottom!
The Grand Canyon is 1217403.3 acres and the highest point is on the north rim at 8803 feet high.
One of the first questions I thought was “How was this canyon made?”. The Colorado River sculpted the whole canyon with the help of rain, ice and gravity.
The first people who set foot in the canyon were many different native tribes The Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, Kibab Band of Paiute Indians, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Las Vegas Paiute, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, Sanjuan Southern Paiute Yavapai-Apache, and Pueblo of Zuni.
In 1540 the Spanish led an expedition from Mexico to find the 7 cities of cibola to find riches. One explorer, Cardeans, was the 1st European to see the Grand Canyon. He was very frustrated because there was a huge obstacle for his group to pass.
There are over 1750 plant species in the park some that we saw were the Banana Yucca and the Agave. All of the different plants were used for different things. The Banana Yucca was used to make baskets, cups and other important utensils. The Agave is used in tequila and sweeteners.
There were also many different types of animals to learn about such as Mule deer, Turkey vultures, Mountain lions, and probably one of the most famous birds in Arizona, the Condor.
The condor is the largest bird in North America with a 9.5 ft wingspan and can weigh up to 23 pounds. It used to be very endangered, but the park has worked hard to bring them back. They are almost off of the endangered species list which is amazing!
How many of you are afraid and/or do not like spiders? Well, I am very afraid of spiders, but after our guide Emily told us about Tarantula Hawks, I now have a new fear. Tarantula Hawks are wasp like bugs with orange wings. In Arizona they have tarantula season, where there are many tarantulas everywhere, and this is when the Tarantula Hawks come out to catch their food. These bugs sting the spider so terribly that the spider is stunned and can’t move, but is still alive. The Tarantula Hawk then brings it back to its nest and lays its eggs on top of it. The babies slowly eat the tarantula once they hatch and leave the vital organs (brain, heart…) for last to try to keep it alive for as long as possible. Also, Emily said that getting touched or stung by one of these wasps is one of the most painful things ever. Now what are you afraid of?
After the bike tour, we were able to hike 1.5 miles into the Canyon and back out. It was not a hard hike, and it was so much fun!
Fun Fact of the Day:
There are many different layers in the rocks that were created from different natural things:
This was our fourth natural wonder of the the world we have visited after Niagara Falls (Canada), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).
After hiking almost 2 miles into the Grand Canyon, it made me want to set some goals, such as hiking from rim to river one day.
We had such an amazing time in Arizona, we wish we could have stayed there longer! Now we are back to the hustle of our every day lives at school and work… Plus we have Buttercup to add many more fun times!