Today Arizona celebrates 100 years of statehood. Celebrations kicked off this past weekend and will continue throughout the year. The Yuma Square and Round Dance Festival we attended last week was a designated Centennial event.
Arizona owes much of its renown to the Colorado River. Here it is as it flows through Yuma, shortly after the Gila River joins with it.
It doesn’t look like much, does it? In several travel brochures I read in Yuma I saw it referred to as “the once mighty Colorado River.”
Congratulations to Arizona on its Centennial! The will be no more statehood centennials until Alaska and Hawaii in 2059.
Sunday was a lovely day – clear blue sky, a few white puffy clouds, very little breeze, and a whole lot warmer! Our plan was to leave Williams and drive back to the South Rim, then take the Desert View drive from the Grand Canyon Village to the East Entrance of the park. There were several overlooks along the way, although truthfully, we skipped a couple of them.
After a while, you get sort of overwhelmed with gorgeous views everywhere you look and you just give up on the idea that you will ever really be able to capture it in a picture.
Bill remarked several times that the view looks like a painting. It is very difficult to get a real feel for the immenseness of the canyon, both in depth and width, even while you are standing there.
I had more than one moment of fleeting panic when I watched people leave the trails and climb out onto the edge of the rocks in order to have their picture taken on the edge. And Saturday night, just as I would begin to drop off to sleep, I would have this falling sensation and then jerk back awake. That was one of the things I remembered most about our trip to the North Rim in 2002, the ever-present fear that someone of us would slip and fall down the canyon. We spent two nights in a cabin on the edge of one of the side canyons. The wind was ever-present, blowing through the pines. It was lovely and at the same time terrifying. Both nights there, I dreamt of nothing but falling, falling, myself or one of the kids or Bill. Even this trip, as we hiked along the rim, there was one brief moment where my mind thought, “Bill is going to fall!” It’s weird how your mind does that to you and you are suddenly filled with fear and adrenaline. It was a relief to get off the rim hike we were on and back up to the road, away from the edge.
At the eastern entrance of the Grand Canyon Park is The Watchtower, which you can see here on the extreme right of the picture. Off in the distance you can see where the Colorado River is just beginning to carve its way through the ground, creating the Grand Canyon.
Here The Watchtower is again on the right, with more of the canyon showing.
Panning just a bit more to the west, now you can see the Colorado River where the Grand Canyon Park begins.
Here is a closer view of The Watchtower. There are 85 steps and, if you care to climb them, you will then be able to see the canyon from a higher vantage point, as if 7400 feet was not high enough!
We did climb the stairs. At the first level there is an outside terrace from which you can take pictures. Here is to the east, where the Grand Canyon begins.
And here is to the west, looking deep into the Grand Canyon Park.
Inside the Watchtower are sketches and paintings representing the ancient Indian peoples that inhabited this area.
Just to prove that I was really there!