We bid goodbye to Sekhar Annan and Preethi akka at Houston airport; they were going to spend a few days with Sangeeta, their other daughter. We intended to join them in a couple of days. But for now, we had to rush and catch our flight to Phoenix.
At Phoenix, we had to rush and get on the shuttle. Grabbing some doughtnuts and chips, we were soon on our way to Flagstaff. The weather was lovely—warm and sunny. It was a three-hour trip during which the vegetation changed and so did the weather.
These typical Arizona cactus plants were not to be seen after a while.
The shuttle dropped us at Amtrak Station in Flagstaff and the hotel picked us up from there, as a complementary service, which was nice. The air was a bit nippy, even though we seemed to be basking in the sunshine. A goods train passed when we were at the station. I thought that trains in India were the longest in the world. But this one may have been several kilometers long; it seemed that way anyway.
Our hotel Little America was somewhat classy. Christmas decorations were elaborate and pretty.
Pleased to see the Bible in the drawer. May God bless the faithful Gideons.
Meeting Steve and Marla Cole
Knowing that we had this evening free in Flagstaff, over a month ago, I had wondered if we would be able to meet other believers in this town. I searched intelligently online and “chanced” upon the Coles. Steve Cole is the pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship. I emailed him and he suggested that we all go out for dinner.
We found them to be gracious and friendly. We discussed family and church. Philip thought Steve looked familiar and realised sometime during the evening that he had referred to some of Steve’s online material when preparing for his Bible Studies on Acts. It was an enjoyable evening. (The restaurant was called Seasoned Kitchen.)
Marla had decided to join us for the Grand Canyon tour on the morrow. We now knew that both Flagstaff and Grand Canyon registered below-zero temperatures.
Tour to the Grand Canyon
The temperature was minus 12 degrees centigrade and we put on layer after layer of clothing. We felt like astronauts walking on the moon.
At 7:00 a.m. we were met by Nate Loper from Canyon Ministries and Marla Cole. After an introduction from Nate, we set out. He gave us our free copy of Tom Vail’s book Your Guide to the Grand Canyon, A Different Perspective.
We stopped at McDonald’s to grab some egg muffins and hot chocolate for breakfast.
We then got to see a video ‘Wings over Grand Canyon’ for the hour-long drive ahead. Listening to Nate and Marla chatting was also interesting as they both knew a lot about the Canyon, had done stuff there (hiking on many different trails, river rafting, Marla had almost gotten washed away in a flash flood, etc.), and loved it.
On the way we saw patches of snow in the sun.
We entered the Grand Canyon National Park. This national park manages only a part of the Grand Canyon.
The most famous canyon in the world, extending for 277 miles along the Colorado River; many overlooks, hundreds of miles of trails, and vast areas of inaccessible wilderness. http://www.americansouthwest.net/
Among the first glimpses of the canyon
When we came to the Mather Point Amphitheatre, Nate gave us something of a geology lesson, and spoke about the various layers and the types of rocks. We also noticed that various formations of the Canyon had religious names like Vishnu, Shiva, and Zoroaster.
We started to walk along the South Rim for half a kilometer or so, with Marla, while Nate moved the van to the next location and joined us again. We saw some more of the Canyon.
The glare of the sun made me take some photos blindly. But most of our photos were alright.
The Yavapai museum was informative.
The comparison of these three formations (Shiva Temple, Isis Temple, and Cheops Pyramid) was interesting. Isis had all the layers that Cheops had plus one more, while Shiva had all that Isis had plus one more. The Grand Canyon is all about erosion, with some parts more eroded than others.
We saw Bright Angel Lodge that Mary Colter designed to blend with the surroundings. She was indeed a brilliant woman. Before the day is over, we would see another of her great creations called the Watch Tower. At the Bright Angel Lodge, I was glad to see the fire and stood by it warming my toes.
Then there was Bucky’s cabin. In this picture, I had to choose between getting a clear picture of Surendar Annan and Vino’s faces or step back and get a proper picture of the cabin.
The Kolb brothers who set up the Kolb Studio seem to have been a unique set of brothers indeed and were known for the photographs they took of themselves and others at the canyon.
It was time to go and have lunch at Maswik Foodcourt. The food here was reasonably priced and tasty.
Next, we came to Grandview, the point developed by Pete Berry, miner turned hotel manager. The stories about this place were interesting and the views were good.
Next, we went to Lipan Point, where the views were spectacular. The Colorado river is more clearly visible from this point.
A young lady was selling jewelry at Lipan Point, some of it from rocks obtained from the canyon. The pieces were all hand made by members of her family. Her grandmother had taught her the skill, and in turn, she had taught two others in her family. Each piece was priced at $ 15 or at $ 25 for two.
In the van, Nate explained the Creationist position that he holds. This view better explains the Great Unconformity in the sedimentary layers. It also better explains the global nature of the sediments—how similar layers are found all over the world, although the grand canyon is unique in the way the layers are exposed to full view. His explanation of how the tides would have been different during Noah’s flood and it’s role in sedimentation was very new to me and made a great deal of sense.
Finally we went to the Watch Tower, also designed by Mary Colter who designed Bright Angel Lodge.
The reflectoscopes or special mirrors made of black onyx were really cool and gave us a clearer view of the scene in front of us.
The views from here were spectacular, as expected.
Once in the van again, Nate explained the unique nature of the Grand Canyon’s formation. He explained that it was formed by a catastrophic and sudden event, more specifically erosion by a large amount of water. According to Nate’s position on this matter, this catastrophic event occurred shortly after Noah’s flood. He had a reasonable explanation for the large volume of water required, namely from past lakes. His theory better explained why erosion debris was not found at the base of the canyon, why the delta of the Colorado river was so small in spite of the large amount of debris that needed to be accounted for. Explaining this in greater detail is beyond the purview of this post, but if you are interested in this subject, click here.
At some point during this talk, an elk made his appearance. So I got out of the van to take a picture. After I returned to the van, I came to know that elks sometimes attack. Phew!
Nate read from Psalm 104:5-10 and prayed, before driving us all back safely to Flagstaff.
He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.
He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains. Psalm 104:5-10