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Anything is Possible if you Dare to Dream

June 23, 2008

Grand Classroom - Day 2

Wow what a day! Kudos to the Grand Classroom. I haven't had this much fun in years and I'm really enjoying the scientific aspect of the trip. That says a lot for an attorney/writer/editor, who spends most of her time in cyberspace.

We started our day at Sunset Volcanic Crater and the Wupataki National Monument. Sunset Crater is part of a group of 600 volcanoes called the San Francisco Craters, which were named after St. Francis long before their namesake city was established. Sunset Crater erupted in 1064 A.D. (two years before the Normans invaded England) and the formations created by the lava flows are fascinating.

We saw a number of interesting desert plants and flowers growing in the lava rocks, including a Sky Rocket: a red flower in the phlox family.

Wupatki National Monument hosts the famous Pueblo Indian ruins, which were built by groups of Pueblos known as the Sinagua, Cohonina and Kayenta, who lived in the area until the mid-1100's. The main structures include a 100-room pueblo with a tower, community room and ceremonial ball court.

After visiting the Wupatki Monument, we drove through the Navajo Reservation on the way to Glen Canyon. In additional to the morning matinee movie, we were treated to some really great scenery, including a cool looking Butte (french word meaning a small conical rock formation), several Hoguns (traditional octagonal living areas for the Navajo Indians) and triplet sand devils (small desert tornados). We also got a great view of Marble Canyon.

Finally, after a 2-hour ride, we arrived in Page, Arizona for the pièce de résistance : our river float trip. Totally awesome. We drove through a 2-mile tunnel cut into the solid rock on a Homeland Security Bus, arrived at the country's second largest dam and boarded our Colorado River Discovery tour boats.

We got an absolutely awesome view of the Glen Canyon dam, toured the "famous" waterfalls, braved the "mighty" white water mini-rapids and declared "war" on our other group boat.

Thanks to our ingenious captain, Makayla, we had a secret weapon, a mega water gun. The Glen Canyon Pirates (us) won the "water wars" hands down.

We stopped at a beach, swam in the mighty Colorado river, hiked up a trail to view some petroglyphs and got a close-up view of a pair of nesting Great Blue Herons and their two chicks.

What a day! I can't wait for tomorrow.

Nianya

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