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‘Every photo could be a postcard’

The Blackwelders take in the marvels of the Grand Canyon

By Darrell Blackwelder

Special to the Salisbury Post

Our tour of the Grand Canyon began with a call from Meals on Wheels informing Gerrie and me that we had won the Valentine’s grand prize, which included airline tickets anywhere in the continental United States.

Last summer, our tour of Yellowstone Park with the Rowan Travelers was so wonderful that we decided to continue the Western adventure and tour the Grand Canyon. We joined a Caravan tour with 44 others the week of July 4.

I was a bit skeptical when we stepped outside in Phoenix, Arizona, into a temperature of 107 degrees. But I saw my skepticism was unfounded by the next day en route to the canyon area.
The temperature was comfortable on our excursions, requiring a sweatshirt in the early mornings and evenings.

The park itself was crowded but not so overwhelming us to be a nuisance. We met many travelers visiting from Europe and Asia.

The coach journey included a pleasant view of vast areas of deserts, forests and mountainous canyons. When we arrived at the Grand Canyon that first morning, the atmosphere was amazing.

There’s really no way to adequately describe the Grand Canyon itself as each photo could be a postcard. The tour focused on the South Rim of the canyon, which included several stops along the rim; each one entirely different with hiking trails and photo stops.

The canyon appears to be a few hundred yards wide, but in reality, it was 2 to 10 miles wide, with the 600-plus foot-wide Colorado River appearing as just a thread at the bottom.

The color of the peaks and valleys gradually change during the day, showing vastly different shades in the morning and evening.

After a couple of days, our tour group proceeded to Lake Powell, a big reservoir on the Nevada-Utah state line. We had the opportunity to take a boat cruise through the narrow Antelope canyon walls on deep, blue-green waters.

Lake Powell is an interesting resort area featuring luxurious houseboats — some valued in excess of $6 million. The lake is the second-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, supplying water to five western states including California.

The tour continued through Bryce National Park, where we experienced more unusual canyons and beautiful rock formations. The park has a large display of hoodoos — which are tall, skinny, melting shafts of porous rock protruding from the bottom of the arid canyon.

Our final stop was Mount Zion National Park. The park features a beautiful lodge in the center of the canyon, showcasing clear running streams, profuse wildlife and abundant hiking trails even a novice could enjoy. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful tour of the canyons.

The Grand Canyon, along with Mount Zion and Lake Powell, is a marvel among our national parks.

Special thanks to Meals on Wheels and its patrons, plus Caravan Tours and Faggart Travel, for allowing Gerrie and me the chance to experience this lifetime experience.

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