Category: Grand Canyon.

God at his best in Grand Canyon

Easy Thursday
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 20:47

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The authors take in some of America’s wonders – from Kodak Theatre to hoods of stars such as Beckam and Jennifer Lopez

LOS ANGELES – Unlike Florida’s mucky and humid summers and the mid-western searing heat, Californians get to enjoy the coveted breezy summer days. Who would not want the blessings of the sandy pacific beaches on one side, beautiful mountains on the other and the captivating vineyards all in one state?

So, while our stay in Vegas was a blast, we were ready to make the four-hour journey to Los Angeles through the Mojave (pronounced MO-HA-VE) desert before finally winding up in the Grand Canyon on the other side of Arizona.

Los Angeles, the Mecca of the entertainment and motion picture industries, lives up to its hype. Our first stop was Hollywood, a pedestrian-friendly district that is home to the world renowned Kodak Theatre, whose walls are inscribed with the names of the movies that have won “best picture of the year” Oscar awards way back.

We passed up the chance to tour the theatre and used our time walking along the signature landmark – the Walk of Fame. This is a sidewalk embedded with more than 2,000 stars in honour of human celebrities and fictional characters that have rocked the world of entertainment. We saw the who-is-who of the movie industry, wondered why some were missing (where is Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood and Julia Roberts?), while others were easily not recognisable (who the heck was Cantinflas?)

We smiled at Forrest Whittaker’s star (remember The Last King of Scotland?), while Michael Jackson’s star beckoned for a second and third look. But was it possible to soak in all that LA had to offer on foot?

In answer, we took a guided tour aboard an open roof van that wound us up the serpentine Muholland drive through the famed Beverly Hills. Having grown up watching the sitcom 90210, we had to have a first hand story of the famous hills where the branded “just-rich-people” and the super rich celebrities live.

The scenic area gives a terrific view of LA, and access to the numerous mansions of people we just know from the media. Was that Dr. Phil getting out of his house? Sure it was, and he was courteous enough to wave back to us. And yes, we saw dog walkers who our driver explained pocket up to $200 an hour for walking a single dog.

Because the Emmys were that night, the paparazzi were in full working gear, several of whom were camping outside Dr. Phil’s house. But in an instant, perhaps working on a tip, they sped off looking for bigger fish and before we knew it, our cheezy tour guide was close in their tow.

Unfortunately, we lost them after a few blocks for our open van was no match for their powerful sports cars. This chase however led us to the hoods where people like David Beckham (former Man U player, now of little known Galaxy), Leonardo Di Caprio (Titanic) and J-Lo live.

Remember the house where Michael Jackson died? Shielded by a thicket of trees, fans still throng its vicinity, holding roses, while others take photographs. We later wound up in Malibu and Venice beach, didn’t catch a whiff of any celebrity and before long, we were on our way to Arizona.

The journey took us past the Hoover Dam on the border of Nevada and Arizona, but because it is so long, we debated whether we should indeed drive to the Canyon (two of us would have given anything to see the Canyon). The other option would be to take a helicopter ride and experience the breathtaking views, but our budget would never accommodate such a luxurious option.

But once we got to the Grand Canyon, any misgivings dissipated. Once viewed, never forgotten, it is easy to see why the Grand Canyon is touted as one of nature’s most astounding accomplishments. The absolute beauty of the scenery is beyond belief. Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt said it best: “The scenery bankrupts the English language.”

From the varied, marvelous and sublime of the thousands of canyons, anyone who gazes at this wondrous beauty gets the feeling that God must love beauty for its sake. And what’s more, this is one of the most visited natural wonders in the world, registering five million visitors annually and about 12,000 on a daily basis, especially in the summer.

The World Heritage site notes that the Canyon, created by the Colorado River, averages 10 miles from Rim to Rim (East, West, North and the South rims), but a rim-to-rim trip journey requires 24 miles by hiking trail and is more than 200 miles by road.

While we would have loved to take a hike, the adventure requires special gear and perhaps a signed will, for as the park rangers noted, several visitors tumble to their death every year as they hike the treacherous and rugged landscape. Nonetheless, the brave souls still do hike, kayak the river and camp in the cabins on the Canyon floors.

The Canyon attains a depth of more than a mile, although at some points, the gorges are so deep, the sun can’t penetrate them. Its carvings were helped by the upward warping of the Colorado plateau, while the Colorado river flows through its rocks from the high snowy mountains of Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado to the Gulf of California.

What is most amazing is that the rocks forming the Canyon were originally deposited at the bottom of a shallow sea before they rose to this magnificent plateau, giving the visitor some insight into the eons of geological time. We visited the South Rim which we walked westward from Mather point to Hermits Rest.

The Rim walk is quite flat, but the dry air does wear you out – elevation at the South Rim is 7,000 feet and walking here is much harder than at sea level. We made the mistake of not lodging in the park for financial reasons, and it soon dawned on us that the Canyon needs more than a week for a full exploration.

America is truly a beautiful country. Yes, they do have difficulties as with most countries, but we are talking of the country’s landscape. There’s much to see, and many wonderful sites to visit. But the Grand Canyon is way up the scale, even if we factor in other wonders like the Niagara Falls.

Here, God was truly at work.

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Category: Grand Canyon
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