The scale of the Grand Canyon is hard to believe. It is over 300 km long, 13 km wide and almost 1.5 km deep. Rocks in the canyon floor are estimated to be 2 billion years old, or roughly half the age of the planet. When you stand on the rim and look across the canyon, it seems unreal, like an elaborate painting. Watching the hawks and osprey ride the thermals near the canyon walls is mesmerising.
While the Grand Canyon was a home and sacred place to the Native Americans for thousands of years, the first Spanish explorers saw it as a desolate place and devoid of any value. It represented an insurmountable obstacle to the conquistadors search for the Seven Gold Cities. As a result it remained unexplored by Europeans for hundreds of years and it was not until 1860 that the Powell Geographic Expedition made its way down the mighty Colorado River. Today, 5 million people visit the park each year.
The Grand Canyon was the last National Park on our North American adventure. We spent a couple of days exploring the rim and had an unforgettable helicopter ride over the canyon. Our pictures don't do it justice. Sienna also completed her fifth Junior Ranger Program and in her oath to become a Junior Ranger she pledged not to fight with her brother and to listen to her parents!
So having driven over 6,000km it was time to make our final push south to Phoenix. When we left the Grand Canyon (elevation 2,200m) it was under 10'C and three hours later after passing through a hail storm we arrived into Phoenix at an elevation of just 300m and 35'C!
We have really enjoyed our road trip through some of North America's iconic national parks and monuments. They have all been very different, much more so that we had originally anticipated. The wildlife was fantastic and the people very welcoming and friendly. Despite the long distances, each day brought interesting and diverse landscapes and experiences. But for now, we are happy to have arrived into the warm desert climes of Phoenix and look forward to the next phase of our North American adventure.