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The World’s Grandest Canyons

Rochel Burstyn

It’s a World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, one of the world’s most famous natural landmarks… The Grand Canyon in Arizona! Plus more of the earth’s deepest canyons.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

canyons

"Who has the water bottles?” 

“Don’t forget the camera!” 

“And the sunscreen!” 

Hey, look who’s here! It’s the Jr. readers! Welcome! 

Well, don’t just stand there! Help us load up the van! Everything in? Great! Come, sit down. 

Seatbelt on? It’s so hot, turn on the air conditioner, please. Ahhhh, that’s better. And off we go! 

What did you say? Where are we going? We’re off to see a World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, one of the world’s most famous natural landmarks… The Grand Canyon in Arizona!

The Granddaddy of Them All

Here we are at the South Rim and boy, is it spectacular! We’re overlooking an intricate and colorful landscape of ancient rocks that fills the overwhelmingly immense canyon. It’s mind-bogglingly huuuge, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its entire whopping 277 miles, 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point, and 18 miles wide at its widest. The canyon walls are made up of nearly 40 rock layers and each layer of rock can tell us about the early geological history of the continent. Some tourists will head to the North Rim, ten miles across (the drive around there will take about five hours) but is about a thousand feet higher and significantly colder than the South Rim. Everything below the rim is considered the “inner canyon” and there are different ways of exploring it. We can ride a mule and even go white-water rafting on the winding emerald-green waters of the Colorado River, which runs right through the middle of the Canyon. We can hike to the bottom of the Canyon and back — a two-day journey. Or, we could take a scenic helicopter or airplane tour.

Skywalkers

The newest way to check out the Grand Canyon is from the Skywalk, which opened in 2007 on the West Rim. If you’re standing on the Skywalk, you’re 4,000 feet above the Colorado River, higher than the tallest skyscraper! The ten-foot wide glass horseshoe-shaped walkway juts out over the incredible views. Is it safe? Engineers believe so; it’s made of more than a million pounds of steel, about 83,000 pounds of glass that’s 2.5 inches thick, and weighs 1.2 million pounds! It’s designed to support 71 million pounds — that’s the weight of 71 fully loaded 747s. But for added safety, only 60-120 visitors are allowed on at a time.

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