I can imagine the first Native American, or the first European settler, coming upon it, with no idea that it was there. Because it does sort of just sneak up on you. Regular flat mountain desert turns to woodsy and then this:
If one believes in the forces of nature, that this world is a natural world formed through processes that take millions of years, then the Grand Canyon should rank as the pinnacle of all the actions that formed the earth as we know it.
Geologists tell us that the Kaibab limestone that forms the rims of the canyon was formed 270 million years ago, and the older rocks at the bottom date to 1,840 million years ago. But the canyon itself was formed over the last 5-6 million years.
It was a cloudy, windy day when we were there.
Some believe that the Grand Canyon, and all the beauty of the earth, is part of the handiwork of God. If so, this is his finest work, the colors and the breadth and depth of the canyon are almost impossible to comprehend, even when standing right there looking in to it. The sun was trying to come out when I took this picture.
Most probably believe in both God and nature, and by this I do not mean "Intelligent Design," which to me is an attempt to take real science out of the picture.
From the South Rim you can hike down into the canyon to plateau point...you can see the trail leading out to the point right in the middle of this photo... or even further down to the floor of the canyon where there is a lodge and campground.
We started down the trail, with no intention of going to the bottom. In fact there are signs advising not to try to hike to the bottom and back in one day, that people die trying. There are emergency phones along the trail, and water, and even rest rooms.
We would like to go to the bottom, but if we ever do, we will let the mules do the work. Here, looking like ants, is a convoy of mules with riders returning from the canyon.
One other way to explore the canyon is riding on the Grand Canyon Railway.
At any rate, be glad that in 1908 Teddy Roosevelt declared the Canyon a National Monument, and that in 1919 Congress declared the area a National Park. It deserves a visit by everyone.