On route from Vegas to the Grand Canyon we passed the rather impressive Hoover Dam. Impressive because of the contrast of a body of water against the harsh desert landscape as well as the sheer engineering feat of the Dam itself which sits across the Nevada and Arizona border. The concrete gravity dam on the Colorado River was constructed between 1931 and 1936 and resulted in over 100 workers losing their lives. We stopped briefly to check it out from the top but with no shade and temperatures well above 40 degrees we were grateful to return to the AC comfort of the car.
Later that night we pulled into a campground at Williams, about an hour south of the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The next morning on our way to the Park we visited the National Geographic IMAX theatre for our first IMAX experience here in the US. It seems to be a very popular medium in most tourist centres we visit but we usually avoid it due to the pricey cost of the tickets. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we rafted down the Colorado River at the bottom of the Canyon and soared over the top enjoying magnificent birds eye views of this great big ditch we were about to view in real life!
Once we had entered the Park we cruised the roads looking for the campground and stumbled across the canyon itself. We pulled to the side of the road and jumped out of the car to be within metres of the edge of the most magnificent natural feature we have ever seen. It was almost overwhelming to take in the tranquillity and beauty of such a feature that has been carved by water over 6 million years. This initial shock of the scale and beauty of the Canyon did not seem to diminish on subsequent viewings, which is likely why the Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We visited it several times during our two night stay in the Park and were very spoilt with clear days providing uninterrupted views of the entire canyon.
Feeling slightly under the weather due to a cold and slight altitude sickness we did a short 3 mile hike into the Canyon. This was excellent and provided a different perspective from the top, but we promised ourselves that next time we would return to make the full 8 mile decent to the bottom and then out to the less touristy North Rim. We were rather envious of those hiking up on their return from the bottom - it would be a fantastic achievement and completely doable with the right equipment. Alternatively there are mules which can take you to the bottom and back, a less active option but still a great way to experience the Canyon.
Leaving the gorgeous Canyon behind we headed north east toward Colorado. Along the way we stopped to take in the views and odd rock formations of northern Arizona and soon arrived at Four Corners Navajo Tribal Park. The Four Corners is the only place in the US where four states (Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico) meet one another.
We paid the fee to inspect the very uninspiring monument marker but this was made up for by the great market stalls selling Native American arts and treasures. We purchased a couple of items and hit the road settling for the night at Cortez in Southwest Colorado, approximately one hour south from our destination the following day, Telluride.