Visiting the Grand Canyon, USA was one of the HIGHLIGHTS of our Road Trip for 2013 covering the main destinations of the West Coast of USA, through the states of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The first leg of our Vacation was from San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite National Park and Anaheim, Los Angeles . The second leg started from Las Vegas and covered the North and South rims of the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon in between then the Meteor Crater in Arizona and ended in Phoenix. We were on a family vacation, me with my husband and daughter and from Los Angeles were were joined by my father Ashok and mother Rhonda.
GRANDEUR IN ITS ESSENCE:
According to Wikipedia, The Grand Canyon, a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado river in the state of Arizona, is known for ‘its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape’.
‘Unique combinations of geological color and erosioned forms bedeck a canyon that is 446 kms long, up to 29 kms wide, and 1.6km deep.’So the essence of the Grand Canyon is its size , colour and a variety of forms in it ,which distinguish it from other canyons.Well I didn’t need Google to make me realize that. The drive which started from Las Vegas was proof enough of what was in store for us.
Even if we would have missed seeing the Canyon, the drive itself through the three states of Nevada ,Utah and Arizona made up for most of the trip. Throughout the journey we encountered multi -coloured rock formations topped with rain clouds chasing and almost engulfing us.
What an amalgamation of rock formations and hues! Vegas, which was the starting point of this leg of the Road Trip, was arid with very little vegetation- but soon that gave way to undulating, brownish and buff coloured hills which reminded me of Oman. Before long to that was slowly added grey with splashes of rust and copper ,the edges also became more jagged. By the time we could have our first water break the same hills turned to yellow, square- shaped boulders .
In a while it became more dramatic –distinct streaks of colour like a swish of a painters brush appeared before our eyes-grey, brown ,tawny, rust, copper, orange, yellow -all in one stroke and still with little vegetation. But that didn’t last for long because shrubs and bushes soon began to appear on the kaleidoscopic hills.
This was Nevada.
Entering Utah was like entering into a different world- the change in so little a time was so spectacular. Everything turned red with a sudden burst of foliage. The colour came from the iron oxide trapped in the rocks. Trees took the place of the shrubs and the bushes, though that doesn’t mean they were totally gone. The hills were still striped with all those colors but red, with touches of carnation and cream, was the predominant one. The dull, sandy terrain turned to a vibrant green.
Soon we passed the city of St. George located in the southwestern part of Utah and saw picturesque, red mesas -single hills with flat tops and steep cliffs-scattered around. This city is actually nearer to Zion National Park so those interested in visiting the Park would have to pass through here .
Leaving the city held another surprise for us- it’s when dark, ominous clouds started chasing us. How formidable and majestic the chasing clouds looked! We couldn’t help ourselves from getting out of our car in the middle of nowhere to observe them .Our sojourn on this vast grassland was unforgettable-we could see the rain clouds at a distance, beneath which , in the horizon, pillars of grey were formed. These were actually cumulated rain. We could hear the rumbling of thunder and the flashing of lightning-we sucked in this breathtaking spectacle and all waited eagerly to capture those flashes of fearsome lightning in our cameras!
Soon we stopped at a viewpoint in the late afternoon. It was wet from the rain and we could still see the horizon from there -a never- ending horizon full of trees, plants, shrubs and bushes, and bluish mountains beyond those trees, melting into the grey -blue of the sky.