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Getting to know the canyon
The fist day was spent gawking, much as those in the photo, just below, of some fellow visitors. The place is unbelieveable; photographs do not even remotly convey the sense of the immense, and the mysterious that this place inspires.
Boy, it sure is a long way down.
The first Europeans who discovered this place, could find no way down, and went around the canyon, rather than across it. 
A trail (probably Bright Angel) snakes across one of the lower levels of the canyon. This is not the canyon floor, which is hidden from view in all but a few places.
The Spaniards who first came across this place were blind to it's beauty, and considered it only as a major obstacle in their search for gold. 
Though looking benign enough, when cloaked in a frame of trees, the lower area of the canyon has temperatures running 10 to 20 degrees warmer (read hotter), than the rim. Parts are also vulnerable to flash floods, though normally water is nearly impossible to find outside of the Colorado River. 
A view from the top, looking through a cover of pine trees. The rim, though not what you would call well watered, is reasonably hospitable.
Rocks and a few solitary trees stand a lonely vigil above, overseeing the heat of the mid day. To the left, a boulder is partially shaded by some trees, along with a bit of the surrounding area. 
An assortment of succulents, bushes, and small trees stand near the edge. Though no cacti are visible in this photo, they are common throughout the park. These are all desert plants, very slow growing, and careful about preserving moisture. 
An inviting area under the welcome shade of a few gnarled trees. This is a good spot to enjoy a view of the canyon without being baked by the sun.
Clouds and the motion of the sun, change the look of the canyon constantly. The north rim, like the true canyon floor, is not visible from all areas of the park.
The stark openness of the lower areas of the park make for dangerous traveling during the heat of summer. 
A look at the bottom of the world.
Paths skirt the edge of the canyon in many places, often ending in a shear drop. Several people actually do die here every year, by falling into the canyon. There are generally also a few suicides each year, and there have even been a number of murders.
Different layers of rock with different compositions wear away at different rates. This gives the stepped look of many of the canyon walls. 
A close up view of the eroded surface of a nearby canyon wall. Rock layering is obvious everywhere you look. 

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