Tuesday, July 8, 2014

#2 Grand Canyon National Park

With a depth of one mile and a width of 10 miles, Grand Canyon National Park is considered to be one of the natural wonders of the world. Located in Arizona, more than 5 million people tour this awe-inspiring park each year. It was granted national park status in 1919.

There is a fee for entering the park—$25 per vehicle and $12 for those on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle—and is good for seven days. There are lodges located within the park that provide a beautiful view of the canyon, and there are hotels available on the road that leads to the park. If you are planning a visit and want to stay in one of the lodges, reserve your room at least a year in advance as they fill up quickly. Another option for visiting the park is to take the Grand Canyon Railway out of Williams, Arizona.

We visited the Grand Canyon in May 2010. It was quite windy and cold in the evenings. We weren't expecting this and had to buy sweatshirts and windbreakers in the gift shop. That twenty-dollar sweatshirt was one of the most comfortable I've ever worn; I still own it and wear it when and if it ever gets cold enough in Florida to need it.

There are two specific destinations within the park from which tours begin, museums and restaurants are located, and trails descend—the South Rim and the North Rim. The South Rim is open to visitors all year long who can participate in ranger programs, visit museums and bookstores, watch a video about the Grand Canyon, take an audio tour using your phone and points of interest along a driving trail, walk the Rim Trail, backpack down into the canyon, go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, take a mule trip, rent a bike, ride the lodge tour shuttle which stops at various points of interest with breathtaking views and information boards. View this map of the South Rim.

One of the signs we encountered said, "What goes down, must come up." Big deal, you say? Even a short hike down into the canyon turned into quite the cardiovascular workout for us as we made our way back to the top. The trails are well marked, though a bit treacherous at times. They are definitely not jogging trails.

The North Rim operates on a somewhat different schedule: mid-May through mid-October. Ranger programs are available here as well, as are a visitors' center, day hikes, mule trips, and scenic drives. View this map of the North Rim.

On the west side of the park, actually outside of the park, is the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This is a sky bridge created by the Hualapai Tribe. It is a cantilever that juts out from the rim, 4000 feet above the Grand Canyon floor. Watch this video about the Skywalk. (Consider viewing in full screen to avoid any potentially offensive ads in the margins.) A permit and a ticket must be purchased. There is also the need for a $15 bus ride to take visitors from the parking lot to the Skywalk. Be sure to check all information and requirements before visiting.

CREATION VIEWPOINT: The Grand Canyon, according to the National Park Service and most, if not all, evolutionists, was formed over billions of years. However, creationists believe there is irrefutable proof found in the walls of the canyons—layering, fossils, rocks—that it was created by a great flood, the flood we see in Genesis.

If you are interested in learning more about the Grand Canyon from a creationist view, consider purchasing Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a canyon river guide. This book is for sale through Answers in Genesis.

It is said that the Grand Canyon contains five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America. Because of this, there is great diversity in the species of plant and animal that live there. There are more than 1500 plants species, 89 mammal species, 355 bird species, 47 reptile species, 9 amphibian species, and 17 fish species. Visit the Animals of the Grand Canyon page to read about those present. Be sure to choose from a variety of species listed on the left, including crustaceans, insects, mammals, birds, and mollusks, as well as plants. Learn about the wildlife safety standards that are in place in the park.