Sydney and Leah’s Grand Canyon Photo Journal

Sydney and Leah on the River Raft!

South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Hike on south Kaibab Trail

When we went on our hike in the South Rim, it was very cold and foggy. There was a snowstorm, which created a white cloud of fog that settled over the canyon. This impaired our vision to be able to see the canyon. The rim of the canyon had much more trees than we expected. We started off by taking a hike on Kaibab trail in the canyon with a tour guide. We stopped every few minutes so he could tell us a little bit of history about the Grand Canyon or answer any of our questions. On our hike, we even saw six elk!

The fog settled over a peak in the Grand Canyon

While we were hiking, we made a quick stop at the Brant’s grave. Charles and Olga Brant and their dog, Razzledazzle, were buried overlooking the canyon and the Omni Richmond hotel because he was the manager of that hotel. Charles Brant wanted to be buried there because he loved the canyon and his hotel. They Charles and Olga hiked the Grand Canyon whenever they could. At this stop, he also showed us fungi on the rocks bordering the graves that eventually wear down the rocks.

The Omni Richmond Hotel (the long building in the top right corner)
Razzledazzle Brant's Grave

Our guide told us the history of the canyon. He told us that there was only one tribe living in the canyon at the time, the Havasupai. They survived off of a berry that comes from the Juniper tree that tastes familiarly like gin. Other trees in the area were the Pinyon Pine tree, the Ponderosa Pine tree, and the Century plant. We tried the "gin" berries, but they actually didn't taste very good.

"Gin" berries from Juniper Tree
A beautiful view of the Grand Canyon

While we were listening to the guide in the freezing cold weather, we learned about a very interesting bird that was almost extinct. The California Condor was found in the Grand Canyon around 1987. When they first were discovered, there were only 18 alive. Coincidentally, they also have a wingspan of 18ft. All 18 were captured so they could reproduce and create a larger population of their own species. The California Condor is still on the endangered species list, but there are many more on the Earth than before.

Cool Fcts!

  • Grand Canyon is one mile deep.
  • Grand Canyon is 250 miles long.
  • GC is on a strike-slip fault
  • 40 layers of rock in the canyon, one is Kaibab Limestone.
  • GC flows with the Colorado River

Bright Angel Trail was covered in fog

The Grand Canyon was nearly invisible

The fog was beginning to clear up

Carl in the Canyon!

The fog had completely cleared

This was during the hike. That's Leah in the red jacket.

Look at all the snow on the trees!

Room 8 Rocks!

Say Cheese!

Syndey and Leah are Treehuggers!

After our hike, we bused over to the Best Western. In our hotel, we watched the movie The Proposal for the 50th time (actually, probably the 5th) and we also watch 50 first dates for the 100th time (actually the 3rd). We snacked on sour gummy worms (the best), chocolate, and cool ranch Doritos. We woke up at 5:30 sharp and had breakfast buffet in the lobby. Of course, Sydney spilt all of her hot chocolate on her pants, so she had to change. We then loaded ourselves onto the bus. Leah and Sydney sat in evil seats which ate up all of our things. Some of the items it devoured were:
· Beanie
· IPod
· Retainers and case
· DS
· Camera
· Socks
· Phone
· Shoes
· Pillows


River trip on the Colorado river
Our next spot we stopped at was the Glen Canyon Dam. The dam is made of blocks that could each hold up to the size of a Volkswagon Buggie! Dams prevent sediment from flowing in the river, so this is why the Colorado River is so clear. The dam has 26 million gallons of water flowing through it each minute. Holes are put in the canyon walls to prevent breakage. This allows water to flow through the canyon walls.
Leakage from the dam

The river behind the dam

Our guide on the river was awesome. He told us some history of the Grand Canyon, explained how rapids are made, and even pointed out Blue Herrons sitting in the trees! Mr. Kester, our parent chaperone, also seemed to know what he was talking about. He told us all about the canyon, too. At the end of the ride, he spun us in circles on the boat and we got soaked! We were freezing, but it was fun!
Our awesome guide
Two Blue Herrons (at the top of the tree)

An important life lesson

The weather was kind of cold, but it was much more bearable than the day before. The sky was also clear and their was no fog. The guide told us that when they were building the tunnel leading to the river, they started on opposite sides and worked their way towards the center. That's why there is a slight flat spot in the middle of the tunnel. The hole shown below is an addit. An addit is a hole dug out of a tunnel where workers can throw out large boulders and trash while they were building the tunnel.

An addit

Below is an example of a swall. Swalls are breaks of rock that fall down from the canyon. They are usually about one football field in length.

A Swall in the Glen Canyon Wall

One of the coolest things our guide taught us was that the canyon was not actually made from erosion. It is basically formed from the faults moving around.

The water in the canyon was freezing! It was in the 30s (degrees Fahrenheit). We passed a tiny waterfall in the canyon. The guide told us it's called "Little Niagra". It is the largest year-round waterfall in Glen Canyon. That's small! We also went through some crazy rapids! :)

LIttle Niagra
The scary rapids we encountered

After boating in the river for a while, we stopped at a small beach and hiked around. We went to a place on the canyon wall that had petroglyphs! We learned the difference between pictographs and petroglyphs:
Pictographs-Painted onto the wall
Petroglyphs-Carved or pecked into the wall
Then we got back on the boat and had yummy lemonade!


Give us a W for Wilkening!

Cool Facts:
  • The Grand Canyon is not made from erosion
  • Addits were used when they were making the tunnel to the dam
  • 26 million gallons of water flow through the dam each minute
  • Swalls are breaks of rock that fall down from the canyon
  • They put holes in the canyon walls so water can leak through

We made a friend!

The River

Our boats

Our boats docked at the beach

We waved to some fisherman

The River

The River

Can you spot the smiley face?

When we finished our boat tour, we drove over to these bridges on the bus. There were some people selling pretty jewelery and other items. We took some awesome pictures of the scenery!

Double Bridges

Wupatki National Monument

Before we had arrived at Wupataki, we were able to view a part of the painted desert. When we unloaded ourselves at the national monument it was extremely windy. Our guide, Liz, took us on a tour of the ruins. We were not allowed to enter the ruins though, because the Indians wanted to preserve them. Also, the ruins were over a couple hundred years old. We learned from Wupatki that at one time, over 2,000 people had lived there! The Indians homes were made of sandstone, silt, and shale. As you can see from the picture to below, the Wupatki had drainage holes throughout their homes to prevent flooding.

Above, you can see how we huddled in the trash room. In this room, the Wupatki stored their trash. We staying in here for several minutes become it was so much less windy! In the picture to the left, you can see the spirit room of a dead baby. In Wupatki legend, when someone dies, you barricade the windows and leave the body inside. After we saw the spirit rooms, we went to see the blow hole. The blow hole is connected to an underground volcano that blows or sucks air. On the particular day that we were there, the hole was blowing. It was a bit hard to see the effect though because it was so windy that day. We then took a short walk to the ball court. Liz told us that it was used not only for recreation, but also for an area for trade. Immediately next to the ball court was the meeting area. This was a giant circular place surrounded by rocks. We were told that the important individuals from the tribe held conferences here. A very cool fact we learned at Wupataki was the difference between petro glyphs and pictographs. A petro glyph is a carving into a stone, while a pictograph is a painting onto the stone. At the ruins, we saw petro glyphs.

The ball court

Drainage hole

Our guide Liz in the trash room

Meeting area







Cool Facts:
  • Over 2,000 people had lived there at one time
  • Their ball court was a place for entertainment and trade
  • They buried their dead in barricaded rooms
  • Their homes were made of silt, sandstone, and shale
  • They stored their trash in special rooms

Sunset Crater

The last stop on our trip was to Sunset crater. Sunset crater is a volcano that had a major eruption about 1,000 years ago. The result of the eruption was that black ash was spread all over a five mile radius of the volcano. Lava stones were scattered all over and trees were burnt down. Before the volcano erupted, Sunset crater was 16,000 ft. tall. After its eruption, the crater was only 8,000 ft. tall, half of its original height. When we arrived, it was very windy. Before we knew what the crater was, it just looked like a tall hill. Black ash was covering the area so much that only a small portion of red dust was visible. Our guide took us one a short hike around the volcano and told us information about the crater. The first thing we learned on the trip was that Sunset crater is a Cinder cone volcano. Smaller volcanoes that surround the largest volcano are called hornitis, which is Spanish. An observation that me and my classmates made was that the Ponderosa pine trees smell like vanilla. When we were finished hiking at Sunset crater, we all headed back to the buses and drove home.

Sunset crater

Cool Facts:

  • Sunset crater is now only half of its original height
  • When it exploded, it shattered lava stone
  • Black ash was spread around a five mile radius after the explosion
  • Small volcanoes are called hornitis
  • Ponderosa pine trees grow in this area

Mr. Kester, our awesome parent chaperone

Bus #1 rocks!