Easton Tilicki
Matt Giovino

1. South Rim of the Grand Canyon - Hike on the Kaibab Trail

................. Grand Canyon............................. Fossil Bank .........................................Bull Elk

The temperature dropped as we got closer to the Grand Canyon because we were at a higher elevation. Outside of the bus window, we could see the snow falling and we were very excited! Easton had never seen it snow before! It was awesome! We arrived at the Grand Canyon and it was snowing a lot. The type of precipitation was much better than rain because it wasn't wet. Everyone had dressed warm and had their mouths open catching snowflakes. Although it was too snowy to actually see the Grand Canyon, we will never forget this! There were Ponderosa Pines everywhere; in comparison to our cacti in Tucson, it was a welcome change! The basement rock a few inches underground keeps the Ponderosa Pines' roots from growing straight down so the roots have to spread out. This also helps the tree get more water because the roots are covering more surface area. We also saw fossils of sea creatures from the ocean embedded in the rocks and we were able to touch them. This shows that Arizona was once underwater. Next, we saw the Bright Angel Fault Line, which is a strike-slip fault that goes all the way across the Grand Canyon. Shearing happened here and that probably caused this fault line. Along the walk, we saw a juvenile bull elk. This is important to the food chain at the Grand Canyon and it provides food for the mountain lion and feeds on other species. The problem with them is they are currently overpopulated and they are eating too much food. Recently, scientist released gray wolves back into the area to help balance the elk population. Next, we learned about the Orphan Mine on the rim. They may have mined copper there in the early 1900's and then uranium from 1953 to 1972. After lunch, we stopped to look at the Grand Canyon while it wasn't snowing, in a blanket of snow, it was breath taking! At the Grand Canyon, we saw many different things in, science, history and beauty.

2. Trip on the Colorado River

................ On The Raft................................. Glen Canyon.................................. Attic's In Glen

We arrived at the Glen Canyon Dam and we were able to see the dam water. We were able to see the view of Glen Canyon from 800-1400 feet deep and it was really cool. It wasn't snowing so we had a view. We loaded rafts and cruised our way down the Colorado River. The walls of the canyon had so many different kinds of rock, it is one of the most geologically diverse areas in America along with the Grand Canyon. It is mostly comprised of Navajo sandstone. The river runs about 4-5 miles per hour in the area we were in. We stopped the boats and went to look at some petroglyphs in the rocks; carvings in a rock that have a meaning or message. We made up some of our own stories about the pictures in the rocks. It would have been cool to know what the pictures really meant. It felt like someone from the past was trying to talk to us. Mr. Davi filmed a useless fact here and it was so useless, we can't remember it! After our boat ride, we went to the Navajo Bridge, from there, we could see the Colorado river. It is amazing how much water runs through the canyon, rushing and shaping the canyon by erosion. We wonder what it looked like before. We were 1400 feet above the river. This is about 1/4 the depth of The Grand Canyon. It was exceptionally windy on the bridge which made it really cold because wind is factored into the temperature which was already cold and with the wind, there was what weather people call a wind chill factor. It was a welcome change from the heat of Tucson.

3. Wupatki National Monument

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............Petroglyph .......................................Geyser .....................................Anasazi Building

After passing lizards and snakes around the bus we arrived at Wupatki National Monument. The monument is 5 miles away from the nearest volcano, Sunset Crater; however, we noticed the dirt was black from the ash and there was a bomb in the side of one of the hills we passed. The bomb is football shaped, but much bigger and was probably acting like a plug in Sunset Crater and when it erupted, the plug shot out. It let us know how powerful an eruption can be. The ruins of an Anazasi building remain. There was so much we would want to ask if the walls could speak. Was the petroglyph snake a hint that the ancient people worried about or feared the snake? We learned that the tribes used their surroundings to build their homes. Like the boulder was part of a wall because they couldn't move it. Their mathematical skill and geometric abilities amazed us; each brick was perfectly placed and they were such resourceful people. It is our guess that the people left because of disease. They didn't know this, but it probably came from the trash heap in their house and the dead bodies buried in different rooms of the house. We have definitely learned from the past and we don't do this! The blow hole was blowing but just barely. It is a hole in the ground where the Earth naturally breaths. (Easton has been here many times and has never felt the blow hole sucking. Last time he was there it blowing so hard it took a baseball hat off his head.) The blowhole can actually either exhale or inhale air depending upon the difference between air temperature and atmospheric pressure on the surface and the conditions inside the cavities. If the air outside is cooler than inside, air will rush into the hole because the air outside is more dense. The air will blow out of the hole if the air outside is hotter than inside because the air outside is less dense. High and low pressure weather systems will also have the same effect. We thought this place was interesting and neat!

4. Sunset Crater National Monument


.................Sunset Crater.........................Subset Crater Hike..........................Sunset Carter Trail

A very short distance from Wupatki, was Sunset Crater. As we drove there, the trees became larger and the plants were more dense. This is because volcanic soil is very fertile because it contains potassium and phosphorus which assists with plants growth. This also helped control the wind a bit so it felt much warmer. The trees were huge and smelled like vanilla. These were also Ponderosa Pines like at the Grand Canyon. The most interesting thing was the lichen on the rocks. It tells scientist that the area is stable, well lit and can support plant life. If the lichen die, it could tell scientist that something is wrong in the environment. From the bridge, after discussing the lichen and the eruption of the cinder cone volcano before us, we smelled trees and headed out on the trail through the lava flow. It was an amazing trail that showed us just how powerful the eruption was. It traveled in radius over 5 miles and destroyed everything in its way! The rock we traveled over was igneous rock, it was crumbly, jagged and hard. The Crater and hike were really enjoyable. We especially liked the hike around the crater, the trees and scenery were so different.