Rachel and Emily’s Grand Canyon Field Trip Photo Journal
Rachel, Emily, Sydney, and Leah at Sunset Crater

5:15 AM: We both got up, ate breakfast, and got dressed.
6:00 AM: We boarded the Project Exploration Bus. Our seats were towards the middle of the bus.
6:30 AM: We left for the Grand Canyon. Our tour guide was Liz. She explained the rules and important information for the trip. On the bus, we watched movies, played games, talked, and ate snacks.
9:30 AM: We had a bathroom break at Sunset Point- a small rest stop off the highway.
11:15 AM: We stopped for lunch at the Sizzler Lunch Buffet in Flagstaff, Arizona. They served soup, salad, tacos, spaghetti, chicken, rolls, and ice cream for dessert.
12:00 PM: We boarded the bus once again.
1:30 PM: We arrived at the Grand Canyon in front of the Maswik Lodge. It was snowing pretty hard when we got off the bus. We stopped for a bathroom break and some people had a snowball fight.
2:00 PM: We started a West Rim Trail Hike around the Grand Canyon. We were divided into four groups, each led by a Grand Canyon Field Institute Guide. We couldn’t really see the canyon or the Colorado River due to fog, but our tour guide explained what it would have looked like if we did. We stopped every few minutes to hear him speak about new information.
5:00 PM: We finished the hike and arrived at Yavapai Lodge Cafeteria for dinner. They had many choices including pasta, grilled cheese, hamburgers, fruits, vegetables, tacos, and many choices for dessert.
6:00 PM: We boarded the bus again and drove to Page, Arizona to stay the night. Almost everyone fell asleep during the ride (but we didn’t!).
9:30 PM: We arrived at the Best Western Arizona Inn in Page, Arizona. Project Exploration night security watched over us. Jenny was in charge of the girls. We got showered and ready for bed and then watched a movie.
11:00 PM: We went to bed.


5:45 AM: We received a wake-up call from Jenny. We all jumped out of bed and got ready. We packed up all of our bags and headed for breakfast.
6:15 AM: We ate breakfast at the motel. The motel served waffles, cereal, fruit, muffins, bagels, and juice.
7:00 AM: We loaded the bus and headed for the Glen Canyon Dam.
7:05 AM: We stopped at Glen Canyon Dam for a quick stop. We took pictures and admired the view.
7:15 AM: We boarded the bus. Rachel’s dad gave a little bit of background on the dam and the river.
7:20 AM: We arrived at the beginning of the tunnel that led down to the river. We had to ride a different bus that was owned by the security company. They had this security in order to protect the crucial dam.
7:30 AM: We boarded the special bus and began the two mile drive through the tunnel. On the way there, the bus driver explained the background of the tunnel. On the sides of the tunnel there were openings used to bring equipment to the workers inside the tunnel We couldn’t get a photo of this because there was no flash photography on the bus.
7:35 AM: We got off the bus and were handed hard hats to wear while walking on the catwalk to the boats because rocks could tumble down on us.
7:45 AM: We began our Colorado River Float. The captain of the boat gave us information about the history, geology, and interesting facts about Glen Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam, and the Colorado River. We also learned about the wildlife and interesting stories that occurred in the canyon.
9:30 AM: We stopped on a small beach to look at Pethoglyphs made thousands of years ago.
9:50 AM: We got back on the boat and drank lemonade. Yum!
10:30 AM: We played a little game with the others boats where we raced them and jumped over their waves. We were sopping wet.
11:30 AM: We arrived at Lees Ferry where we got off the boat and had a quick bathroom break. Some of us changed into dry clothes. We boarded the bus again to the Cameron Trading Post.
1:00 PM: We ate a box lunch at Cameron Trading Post, a small Indian themed trading post and lodge. We ate lunch in a garden-like courtyard. We ate sandwiches, apples, chips, and Gatorade. Most of us bought souvenirs to take back home. We both bought earrings.
2:00 PM: We boarded the bus again.
3:00 PM: We arrived at Wupatki National Monument. We saw 2,000 year old ruins left behind by the Hopi, Zuni, and Anasazi Indians.
3:45 PM: We left Wupatki and headed for Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
4:15 PM: We arrived at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. We hiked the base of the volcano, exploring the plants and rocks.
5:00 PM: We finished the hike and took a quick bathroom break. Then we boarded the bus.
7:15 PM: We arrived at Anthem Mall to eat dinner. They had pizza, sandwiches, Chinese food, chocolate, pretzels, and frozen yogurt. We had pizza, sandwiches, and frozen yogurt.
8:00 PM: We boarded the bus for the drive home.
10:30 PM: We arrived back at Wilson and met our parents who picked us up. We said goodbye to our friends and teachers.


Grand Canyon Hike

Our first stop was at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for a guided hike. Our guide stopped us every 10 minutes or so for a 30 minute talk about some information. When we stopped first, he told us that there were 40 identified layers of the canyon, with the most common layer being Kaibab Limestone. He explained that Indians have lived here for thousands of years. They learned to live off the food that the canyon provided, but eventually a drought and famine came to the area, and they disappeared. He showed us trails that the Indians made, just big enough for a horse to fit on. He told us that horses and mules were very smart, but they liked to trick the people riding on them by walking up to the edge of the canyon and staring downwards. How funny! We saw Bright Angel Trail right below us. It was foggy, but we could vaguely make it out.

At the second stop, our guide told us that there are quite a few deaths from falling off the edge, but the most common form of death in the Grand Canyon are plane crashes that fall into the canyon and don’t survive. He also showed us a few nearby plants: Juniper Tree, Pinyon Pine Tree, Ponderosa Pine Tree, Century Plant, and more. Some of the plants grow berries that both the Indians and the local birds like to eat.

When we reached the third stop, he told us about condors. At one point in time, there were only 18 condors left on the planet. Breeders took in the condors and bred them. When they released the condors back into the wild, there were plenty of them! Now, condors are doing well. He also told us a story about a baby condor. The baby condor went out of his cave every day and stood at the edge of the canyon. One day, the baby condor fell off the side. He lifted his wings and flew gracefully down to the bottom, where his mom and dad came and got him.

At the fourth stop, our guide took us to the graves of Charles A. Brant, his wife Olga Brant, and their dog Razzle-Dazzle. Charles Brant owned one of the major business in the city – the hotel. He asked to be buried looking over the village and his hotel, so they buried him at the Grand Canyon. Now, trees are growing, but the area used to be clear. They buried Olga and Razzle-Dazzle in the same place so that the family could be together.

At the fifth stop, we saw a group of about four elks! They were eating plants buried deep in the snow. They were behind a fence, but we were so close to them! They were enormous! There were a few bulls and a few cows (we could tell by their antlers). One of the elk was missing one of their antlers. I wonder what it would be like if we lost our ears!

We hiked a while until we reached a tree with edible berries on it that supposedly tasted like gin. Rachel tried a couple, and they tasted very plain. They were hard and crunchy. Personally, I don’t think I could live off those things, but the Indians did! Amazing!
Finally, we reached the end of our hike where we boarded a small tour bus that took us to dinner. It felt so good getting on a nice, warm bus! It was snowing like crazy outside!

Our thoughts about the South Rim hike around the Grand Canyon was overall, very positive. We were bummed that we couldn't actually see the canyon or the Colorado River due to fog, but the experience was enjoyable. We learened SO MUCH from this part of the trip. We look forward to coming back soon so that we can try hiking other parts of the canyon, because this is only one small portion of it. It was freezing, but our guide taught us lots of information, and we got exercise after a long bus ride. Plus, we don't get to experience snow in Tucson, so this was exciting!!

Colorado River Float

After arriving at Glen Canyon and getting off the bus, a government official came to talk to us about having no weapons. Obviously, none of us had weapons, but the security guards had to check our bags anyway. After that, we had to board a special bus owned by the company in order to get to the dam. We rode through a tunnel that was 2 miles long in the dark! Well actually, there were a total of 18 adits that let light shine through. Adits, or windows, were first used for transporting heavy equipment to the canyon floor while the Dam was being built. These “windows” were also used to allow rock to be dumped into the river banks below. Now, the adits are used for air circulation, and to let light shine into the tunnel once in a while. Once we exited the bus, we were given hard hats to wear while walking across the catwalk. These hard hats were used to keep us safe in case the rocks above us were to fall.

After walking across, we were put into the boats from the river float. Our guide told us about the history of the Glen Canyon and how it all began. He informed us about all the wildlife that lived in the canyon and what we could see. While floating along the river, we slowed down to see some birds in a tree called Blue Herons. At the time, the males were guarding the eggs in the nest, while the females were out searching for food to eat. Wildlife that lived in the canyon included beavers, rainbow trout, bald eagles, golden eagles, mountain lions, bobcats, bighorn sheep, snowy egret, blue herons, and much more! During our ride, we learned about chunks of rock that fell off the canyon walls due to the pressure behind the rock that causes it to fall off and out. This is called a swall. We saw many swalls all through our float, and one of them happened to be the size of a football field! We learned about a special place in the canyon called Poison Rock. If you drop from this rock, you can die in an instant. I wonder why it is called Poison Rock? We were educated about the rock that the canyon is made of, the temperature of the water we were floating on, an unlucky story about a drunk teenager who died in the canyon, what rebars are and what they are used for, why there are black water stains on the rock, why there are phone poles located in parts of the canyon, and how the canyon supplies energy to parts in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Soon, we pulled into a little beach in the canyon. Here were hiked for about 5-10 minutes to reach the destination to view the petroglyphs. Pictographs are drawings or carvings on rock made by the members from a group of prehistoric people. We saw carvings that looked like people, sheep, and random squiggles. After looking at the carvings, we headed back to our boat to continue the rest of our floating experience and to drink some cold lemonade!

We drank our lemonade while floating along the rest of the river (Rachel did, Emily didn’t drink any). We learned a lot along and way and even had some fun before we reached Lees Ferry. We had mini races against the other boats, but we were not completely wet. We started to dry up in the sun as we learned more about Glen Canyon.

Our clothes were pretty much dry when we raced against the other boats again except this time, we got SOAKING WET!!!! (So wet, that we had to change into different clothes!) We tried not to complain, otherwise, we would have to wear the pacifier! Everyone on our boat was soaked except for our guide. It was very uncomfortable to be wet while sitting down and waiting to reach Lees Ferry. But, it was fun to get wet because it made some happy memories! Our boat was always in first place, so we zig zagged to make waves to slow down the boats behind us. We came in first place and beat all the other boats in the race. By the end of this, we had floated to Lees Ferry. There, we got off the boat and changed into fresh and dry clothes. We all then loaded back onto the boat for our next stop, Cameron Trading Post.

Our thoughts about floating down the Colorado River was that it was a very fun filling and cool experience! We enjoyed looking at the different scenery, learning about the Glen Canyon and Dam, seeing the Blue Herons, looking for animals such as rainbow trout and beavers, racing against the other boats, and most of all, getting soaked! This floating experience was something new for Emily, but not so much for Rachel. Rachel is familiar with floating along a river with high rapids, and Emily has never even been on a boat down the Colorado River! We both liked everything we did at the Colorado River Float trip and everything we learned and saw will be a long lasting memory!

Wupatki National Monument

After our lunch at Cameron Trading Post, we headed off to Wupatki National Monument. While at the monument, we learned that the native people believed that the ground was sacred where a person was buried, so they would not dig up the bodies or walk on that ground. A person who died was buried in the room they died in. All the windows and doors was shut and sealed off with rocks and mud so that the spirit could stay in the room. The native people had a room called the “trash room” where all their trash would go. Overtime, the trash would pile up to the top of the wall. Entertainment for the natives included having a ball court where they could play their sport. We also learned at one time, 2,000 people lived in the Wupatki Village at the current time, and Wuptaki is approximately 900 years old.

Our thoughts about visiting the Wuptaki National Monument were that it was very interesting to view the ruins that were created by the Hopi, Zuni, and Anasazi Indians, and it was very cool to learn about what these Indians believed in and was sacred to them. We liked seeing the different rooms and listening to Liz talk about why the Indians did certain things when something happened to their family member because we both wondered why they would do that. One thing that Rachel and Emily did not enjoy was not being able to go into the ruins and to go step into the ball court and the offering room. We were jealous that bus #2 was allowed to step foot in the ball court or the offering room, but being able to go and set foot in the trash room was an amazing experience that made up for it! Overall, we thought that going to the Wuptaki National Monument was very remarkable because we could see what was left behind by the Indians!

Sunset Crater National Monument

After visiting Wupatki National Monument, we drove to Sunset Crater National Monument. Along the ride, we learned that the volcano spewed lava for a 5 mile radius and the height of the crater was 16,000 feet before erupting, but it is now only 8,000 feet. In addition, we learned that ash is igneous rock. While on the bus, we saw a giant lava bomb shaped like a football that came from Sunset Crater! A lava bomb is a large clump of lava that has can spew miles. They come in all sorts of sizes. Eventually, we arrived at Sunset Crater! We hiked the bottom rim of the crater because we can’t hike up the actual crater! Along the hike, we learned that it was a cinder cone volcano and scientists predict that Sunset Crater will explode again in another 1,000 years! We found the nearby trees smelled like vanilla. Weird! Also, we found small volcanoes only a couple of feet tall that our guide says in Spanish is called "Hornitas" or "Little Ovens." That makes sense because lava is hot!! Once we were done hiking, we headed back to the bus for a drive to dinner!

Our thoughts about going to Sunset Crater National Monument was that it was very cool to actually hike the bottom of this cinder cone volcano! The other thing we liked was learning about the lava bomb that came fom Sunset Crater! We didn't really enjoy this stop as much as the others because it was wasn't as interactive to us, but we liked smelling the trees to see if they smelled like vanilla! :) Lastly, we just liked hiking and seeing the ash and rocks left behind. Oh, and we didn't enjoy stepping over sharp rocks either!

Facts From Each Location

6 Facts about the Grand Canyon

· There are 40 identified layers of rock in the canyon.
· There are currently 18 Condors being tracked by scientists.
· An average wing span of a Condor is 18 feet long.
· Lichen can be seen on rocks and doesn’t start growing until it is 700 years old. It is also a bioindicator in some areas. Lichen is a symbiotic relationship between Fungi and Algae.
· Mary Jane Elizabeth Ann Colter was an architect who created Desert View, Hopi House, Hermit’s Rest, and Lookout Studio.
· Charles A. Brant was married to Olga Brant and they had a dog named Razzle-Dazzle. He was the manager of a major hotel. They are now buried in the Grand Canyon looking down at the village.

5 Facts about Colorado River Float

· Each square of the Glen Canyon Dam is the size of a Volkswagon Buggie.
· The largest year round waterfall in the Glen Canyon Dam is referred to as “The Little Niagara.”
· The water temperate in the Colorado River is 47 degrees year round.
· Swalls are when water pressure causes the rock on the wall to fall off and out.
· The tunnel to get to the dam is 2 miles long.

5 Facts about Wupatki National Monument

· Wupatki is approximately 900 years old.
· 2,000 people lived in the village at the current time.
· A person was buried in the room they died in. These people believed to keep the ground sacred by not digging up the bodies, or by walking on the ground the people were buried at.
· The native people threw all their trash into the “trash room,” which piled up over time.
· The people had a ball court to be used for entertainment.

5 Facts about Sunset Crater National Monument

· After the volcano erupted, lava spewed for a 5 mile radius.
· The small volcanoes made were called “Homitas,” or “little ovens.”
· Sunset Crater was 16,000 feet before erupting, now, it is only 8,000 feet.
· Latest eruption was 1,000 years ago. Scientists predict it will explode again in another 1,000 years.
· Ash is igneous rock.

Debates on the Bus

Disadvantages of Dams
1. Fish and other animal species die.
2. Dams lower the amount of water in rivers.
3. Dams make bad vegetation grow that the river normally kills off.
4. It changes the shape and size of the natural river.
5. It changes the color of the river.

· Why It's Good to Dig Up Ruins
1. It helps us study geology in history.
2. It helps us study the architecture in history.
3. It helps historians figure out the way people lived in past years.

Our Feelings on the Trip

1. The Grand Canyon is absolutely incredible. We can't believe that we have one of the seven wonders of the world in our very own state.
2. Studying the Grand Canyon teaches us a lot about geology, history, Indians, plants, architecture, and more.
3. The Colorado River is beautiful and so much fun.
4. Studying the Colorado River teaches us a lot about dams, electricity, water, animals, plants, boating, and more.
5. This field trip was so much fun! We would like to come back with our families to teach them all that we have learned!

Pictures and Captions

Arrival at Maswik Lodge

Grand Canyon Wall

Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon Covered by Fog

The Brant's Grave

Razzle-Dazzle's Grave

Edible Berries "Gin"

Elk In the Snow

Quick Stop to See Canyon

Emily & Rachel Pose

Room 8 are "Tree Huggers"

Glen Canyon Bridge/Dam

Bottom of Dam

Rebar Used to Strengthen the Rock

Glen Canyon Dam

Colorado River

Blue Heron

Tunnel and Water Stains

Line On Canyon Walls

Beavers' Dam

"The Little Niagra"

Fisherman Nearby

Other Group's Boat

Swalls (Size of Football Field)


Emily & Rachel in Glen Canyon

Lizard by Pethoglyphs

Green Water at Dam

Rachel & Emily Cheek to Cheek

Room 8 "Rocks!"

Wupatki Ruins

Wupatki Houses-2 Rooms

Grinding Stones Used to Cook

Wupatki Offering Room w/ Fire Pit

Another Wutpaki Room

Blow Hole

Original Boulder at Wupatki

Baby's Grave

View From One Side of Ball Court

Emily & Rachel in the "Trash Room"

Lava Bomb

Sharp, Hardened Volcanic Rock

Volcanic Ash and Rock

Volcanic Ash

Sunset Crater- Cinder Cone Volcano

--- Rachel & Emily