Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon has to be the most beautiful natural wonder of the world. With over five million visitors every year, this canyon is also one of the most visited.

This masterpiece surrounds the Colorado River in northern Arizona in the Grand Canyon National park. The canyon is about 277 miles long and ranges from four miles across to 18 miles across. It also has a depth of just over a mile. This leaves a huge area for the adventurer to explore.

I was lucky enough to spend spring break backpacking in the canyon during my freshman year. We stayed in the canyon for six days, and explored as much as we could during that time. On a normal day we hiked about eight miles, so that we could reach our destination point, the Royal Arch.

With all of this area, there are so many hidden jems to be found. Some include Eagle Rock, or the Royal Arch (as seen below). The Royal Arch takes about three days to hike to and is located just above Elves Chasm. Just before the Arch, there is the only clean water that was found during the entire trip. The Arch was breathtaking, and just beside the arch was a "pin needle" that was just as tall as the arch (you can see how small the people are in the picture). I am convinced that being near that arch is the closest I will be to heaven until I die.

Another highlight of The Grand Canyon has to be the views. In the morning, we would wake up near the edge of either a cliff and the most beautifully carved wall. During the day we would hike for hours and never see the same scenery twice. After we would go around a bend, there would be an entirely different backdrop. Also, the view of the stars at night was breathtaking. The canyon is located in the desert, so there was not a chance of rain the entire time we were there. So we were able to sleep under the stars every night. I was so clear that you could see the milky way. We would fall alseep every night just counting the shooting stars.

There are so many places to explore in this national park. I know I didn't even scrape the surface of this magnificent place. The Grand Canyon will forever have a place in my heart.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Dominica is a beautiful island located in the Caribbean. The island has not been commercialized like most others, so there is a more natural feeling about it. The island is unspoiled enough, that producers decided to film the Pirates of the Caribbean movies on this island. It is a great place for hiking, exploring, SCUBA diving and relaxing!

The most common way for people to visit the island is by cruise ship. There is a new pier just recently built which brings in three to four ships a week. There are many options from the cruise lines for excursions to do while on the island. Some of the more common ones include; hiking, exploring waterfalls, nature walks, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, or a visit to the sulphur springs.

When I visited Dominica last year, I LOVED the diving that we did. There were sulphur bubbles that came up from the ocean floor for the fish to swim through. We also saw a school of sea horsed playing in those same bubbles. The water was warm and incredibly clear, perfect for looking around.

The other highlight from our day there was the nature hikes. There are quite a few waterfalls all around the island just waiting to be explored. The waterfalls are near the top of the multiple peaks with an elevation of over 3000 feet. On the hikes, besides the landscape, there are a variety of plants and animals to awe over. One of the animals that I enjoyed the most was the land crab. While going for a hike, these animals would join you on the trail.

Overall, Dominica is a beautiful island known for its natural features. It is great for any adventurest or SCUBA diving enthusiast.