We left Sedona this morning, travelling north up the Oak Creek Gorge. It was a narrow two-lane road with plenty of places to turn out and catch a scenic view. The road left the gorge with steep climb up to the plateau and through a number of hairpin bends. We found a scenic view at the top where we found a carpark with a little market. There were lots of people around and masses of Chinese tourists, who just like home, have no road sense at all. They just wandered across the parking area without looking and with no regard for moving vehicles. Someone should send them to puppy school before they leave the their country!
We had a stop in Flagstaff for coffee and continued north towards the Grand Canyon National Park. There were a number of small towns on the way and we stopped for a sandwich at one of them. It only had a trading post and a ‘dead’ motel. There are places like this all over the area that we have travelled. I guess that they mostly lived of the smell of an oily rag and the last straw was when Americans stopped travelling in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. This tipped them over the edge and sent them broke.
We were back in Navajo territory which was characterised with flat plains and the occasional unkempt Indian village. Navajo territory covers about 71,000 km2. It’s the largest land area retained by a Native American tribe in the USA, with a population of roughly 350,000. The Navajo Nation has an elected government that includes an executive office, a legislative house, and a judicial system, but the United States federal government continues to assert plenary power over all their decisions. The executive system manages a large law enforcement and social services system, health services, and a variety of educational organisations.
Not far from the entrance to the Rand Canyon National Park, we came across an area that had deep river canyons – jut like a Mini Grand Canyon. These were very impressive but only a warm up to the main event (Just like Col Joy as the supporting act for the Beatles).
Once we had entered the Grand Canyon National Park through the East Entrance, we came across a number of points where we could stop and look over this vast feature. The canyon is 446 kilometres long, up to 29 kilometres wide and is almost two kilometres deep. (1,857 metres).
Nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries have cut their channels through layer after layer of rock after the Colorado Plateau to form the canyon. From what I have read, it appears that the Colorado River created its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago. Since that time, it has continued its erosion in a way that both deepens and widens the canyon. For thousands of years, this area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who visited in 1540.
I took many photos from the lookouts and I think that I could choose any of them to illustrate the grandeur of this place. Here are just a few of them.