Courtney and Hailey's Grand Canyon Photo Journal

South Rim Hike of Grand Canyon

On April 22, 2010, Mrs. WIlkening’s science class drove up to northern Arizona to see some of the cites of the Grand Canyon National Monument. Our first stop was on a hike around the southern rim. When we first pulled up to the site, it was snowing very hard, and we were wishing we were back on the warm bus. We all bundled up as best we could and started on the trail. Our tour guide stopped us at our first sightseeing opportunity and told us about the layers of rock.


He told us that there are about 42 different layers of rock! When he told us this everyone looked out to see the many different colors within the huge canyon. It is all warm shades of brown, red, and a little bit of orange and white. As you get deeper, you can also see a dark black color that comes with age. In addition, many green trees and bushes lined the top. The hike was not as enjoyable as it could have been because of the cold, snowy weather. This weather made it difficult to see the layers and depth of the canyon because there was so much fog. Our group followed the trail around the rim, while the weather was getting even more miserable. Our tour guide seemed to be very knowledgeable and we learned a lot from him about the canyon below us. The Grand Canyon is actually very special, it was carved by the great Colorado River, but there were things happening even before that. A long long time ago, there was a big ocean through there. It compacted all of the 42 layers of the canyon. All of these layers add up, and make the canyon around one mile deep! John Wesley Powell was the very first person to venture through the canyon. He gathered a team of men and three boats. The rowed all the way through the Grand Canyon, although Powell lost his arm in the Civil War and was unable row. They encountered many rapids that were not very expected. These ten men started there expedition in Green River, Wyoming, traveling for three months on the Colorado River. If Powell had not decided to be so bold and explore the Colorado River, we would not know of the beauty we were missing. As we got further away from the edge we saw some more green trees, and snow on the ground; this was very beautiful. One of the treets we also got was to see elk and deer. As you can see in the picture brlow, we got to be very close, but they were behind a fense so we were at no danger.

We neared the end of our hike after around an hour and a half and were getting closer to the road. We hopped on a tram that could take us back to the lodge where we started. Everyone piled in and huddled together to get warmer; it was the first time we had ever been in snow, being that we live in hot Tucson. We enjoyed this site. Our favorite part was learning about the tribes that currently live within the canyon. This was interesting to us because we thought of it odd for people to bring the tribe supplies (horses, food, water, etc.). Overall, this trip was great! We would enjoy visting this world wonder a few more times to witness the many colors of the rocks and its jaw-dropping size. Go see the Grand Canyon from the southern rim!
We all went into the lodge and had just enough time to eat a well earned diner and warm up. Since we were ahead of schedule, once we were finished, our bus driver decided to take us to a picture taking location over the Grand Canyon. When we got there, the light was perfect because the sun was just setting and it was amazing to see the canyon in snow. There was just enough snow to cover the ground, it was nice and powdery, and we had a small snowball fight. These pictures are from the top off the Canyon looking out and of the snow on the ground.



After enjoying a long day, we drove a little further to our hotel, and got a good night’s rest.
In the morning, we had to get up nice and early to get on the river. Everyone bundled up in his or her warmest clothes and went down to have a quick breakfast in the hotel. Once we got to our starting location at the top of Glenn Canyon, where we were going to ride the river, we got to see the Glenn Canyon dam.


Once we had taken some photos, we hopped back on the bus for around five minutes to meet another bus. We had to get on that bus to go to the river because it took us through a mile long tunnel through the very top of the canyon. We walked down a ramp to meet our little blue boats.
When we boarded we looked around at the dam and everything from the bottom and it looked huge. We felt very small. This was a great time to learn about the Colorado River, the river we were floating. It is 1400 miles long and stretches over seven states. The actual part of the river we were floating was called Lees Ferry, which is the start of the Grand Canyon. As we grew further into the canyon, the walls were getting taller, at its tallest; the walls are 1200 feet high. There is a lot of wildlife in the river like blue heron and beavers, which we got to see both of their habitats. BLUE_HERRON_CHA.JPG

An interesting fact is that we got to see the largest waterfall in all of Glenn Canyon, which
is very small.

Another thing we learned about is the canyon walls. We would see many round divots in the walls that were called swalls. This particular one was as long as a football field.

After traveling around a third of our journey, we stopped at a beach where there was a trail leading back to some petroglyphs.
We ended our river trip with a reallly fun race between the other boats, our boat ended up winning. After that we went back to our bus and headed of for lunch.

On the second day of our Grand Canyon field trip we visited Waputki national monument. The moment we got off the bus, we were anxious to simply reload onto the bus and go to our next location, due to the powerful wind. But, our minds altered as we began to learn many interesting facts about the natives that inhabited this land area. These natives consisted of the Anasazi and Sinagua. The natives’ homes were actually buildings with many rooms within them. They were ancient pueblos that were built with many large rocks.


About 100 rooms managed to fit these 2,000 human beings. Not only were these rooms sturdy enough to support large amounts of people, but they were convenient and efficient as well; trash rooms and rooms that acted as “graveyards” (held the spirits and remains of those who perished) consisted within these large building structures. The children who thrived here did not work all day with no fun in their lives; they had activity areas as well. Our class examined a ball court that the youths would use for nothing other than recreation.

The adults, on the other hand, used gathering areas that resembled arenas that were separate from the living areas. They were circular with ample room, perfect for tribal meetings.

According to the natives, this land was sacred, so our class was extremely careful not to disturb the delicate ruins. Overall, I enjoyed learning about the site. I was glad I was able to understand how the natives lived with few supplies. Although is disliked the weather, the experience was new and great for me. If given the chance, I would revisit this site to relearn how these human learned how to support themselves and thrive within a sacred community.

Interesting Facts about Wupatki National Monument:
1. Approximately 900 years old
2. Almost 2,000 people lived there at once
3. Did not build around natural placement of rocks; used for more support in building
4. Area is sacred for natives

Sunset Crater National Monument
One of the last sites that Mrs. Wilkening’s class visited on the Grand Canyon field trip was Sunset Crater National Monument within Arizona. On the bus ride to this site, we saw lava chunks that landed on rocky land. Our guide pointed out one chunk that resembled a large football. This was extrememely interesting to my partner and I, for we could not beleive that lava could be so far away from the volcano. Finally, we arrived at the actual site, where we toured the dark black-colored land on a tourist trail.

From there, we learned that the national monument is a volcano that erupted 1,040 to 1,100 years ago that is 1,000 feet high. Due to the eruption, there is presently a five mile circumference of lava covered soil. The specific kind of lava that erupted from Sunset Crater was aha. The ash from this volcano traveled a total of about 800 square miles, 160 times the distance the lava traveled. In fact, over one billion tons of debris was blown from this massive explosion. Further down the trail, we came upon Ponderosa pines, a specific breed of pine tree that grows within this part of Arizona. Unlike the other trees that grow within this area of Arizona, the Ponderosa pines smell like vanilla.


At the end of the trail, my partner and I had witnessed beauiful landscape and wonderful aromas. Sunset Crater National Monument was our favorite site because of the attraction to the eye from the interesting black colors of lava and the interesting facts that related to this volcano. We would like to visit this site at least once more within our lifetimes to experience the beauty. Surely, this site is one to see!


Interesting Facts about Sunset Crater National Monument:

1. The ice cave is known for being Superman's home
2. 3,000 feet deep
3. Ice cave exists along trail where a Flagstaff beverage company once stored ice
4. The type of lava from Sunset Crater is aha, yet another type of lava is pahoehoe