It’s a Dog’s Life at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park

Set in the mountain community of Williams, Arizona—Gateway to the Grand Canyon—the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park an ideal place to unwind and relax.

The Observation Dome is an unforgettable experience, thanks to a glass-enclosed streamliner that offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. (Source: thetrain.com)
The Observation Dome is an unforgettable experience, thanks to a glass-enclosed streamliner that offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. (Source: thetrain.com)

Adjacent to the historic train depot, the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is just two blocks from Route 66 and downtown Williams.

Canyon Railway RV Park offers three types of RV spaces: pull-through sites, buddy spaces, and back-ins. All 124 sites have full service utilities with 50-amp electric service, cable TV, wireless Internet, access to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.

The property has coin-operated laundry machines and a common picnic area with gas grills and a fire pit. Daily rates are $39.

Grand Canyon Railway Pet Resort

While pet parents enjoy a trip to the Canyon, their furry friends have something to wag about at the Grand Canyon Railway’s Pet Resort.

The Pet Resort boasts an entire residential wing for pets: 28 spacious rooms for dogs and 16 comfortable custom-made condos for felines. The Pet Resort is a modern retreat for pet parents who want to experience the iconic Route 66 in the town of Williams, an entertaining historic train ride, and take in the splendor of the Grand Canyon without leaving their four-legged family members at home or in a kennel far away.

Embark on a new era of luxury rail travel with the Luxury Dome Class, combining the breathtaking views of the Observation Dome with the opulence of the Parlor cars. (Source: thetrain.com)
Embark on a new era of luxury rail travel with the Luxury Dome Class, combining the breathtaking views of the Observation Dome with the opulence of the Parlor cars. (Source: thetrain.com)

It offers a safe, comfortable, secure, and modern environment while the staff ensures your furry friend will have a great vacation.

When checking in your pets to the Pet Resort, allow extra time the morning of your train departure. The Pet Resort recommends checking them in by 8:00 a.m. to ensure enough time for you to board the train.

The Pet Resort is available to guests of both the RV Park and Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, as well as Grand Canyon Railway passengers and the general public.

Dogs and cats are kept cool and comfortable with separate central air conditioning and evaporative air-cooling systems during the summer months, and heat in the cooler Northern Arizona winter months. That’s right—separate state-of-the-art air systems—because we all know how dogs and cats think of the others’ scent!

This may be the cleanest air in Northern Arizona, which is already known to have some of the cleanest air in the nation.

Our canine friends enjoy their own private indoor/outdoor space, with standard size runs 4 feet x 4 feet on the inside and 4 feet x 10 feet on the outside. For bigger dogs, there are four extra-large runs that measure 6 feet x 4 feet on the inside and 6 feet x 10 feet on the outside. All outdoor runs are covered for your dog’s contentment.

Canine guests also enjoy individual playtime in the exercise yard during their stay at the Pet Resort.

The Pet Resort has soft background music playing for your pet’s enjoyment.

To make their stay even more comfortable, you are encouraged to bring your pet’s favorites: food, snacks, beds, bowls, bones, chewing items, and toys.

All animals must have paperwork to provide proof of current shots.
Each cat condo is custom-made and has a sitting ledge. The cattery looks out to the basketball and volleyball courts: built-in entertainment! And there are plenty of windows to let in natural sunlight, making it the perfect setting for—you guessed it—a catnap.

The pet resort is conveniently located adjacent to the Grand Canyon Railway, Hotel, and RV Park.

The  Luxury Parlor Car is the most exclusive seat on the train. (Source: thetrain.com)
The Luxury Parlor Car is the most exclusive seat on the train. (Source: thetrain.com)

Daily rates begin at $16 for cats and $23 for dogs, with the option of adding a second cat or dog to the same kennel for just $12 and $16 respectively. Extended stays of seven nights or more are available for a weekly rate of $98 for cats and $140 for dogs.

Details

Grand Canyon Railway

Xanterra Parks & Resorts owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway as well as restaurants and lodges in several national parks.

The Grand Canyon Railway operates year-round and departs Williams at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:30 p.m. daily.

Train rates start at $59/adult; $29/child. Numerous package options are available.
Address: 601 W. Franklin Avenue, Williams, AZ 86046

Phone: (800) THE-TRAIN (843-8724)

Website: thetrain.com

Worth Pondering…

Trains are wonderful… To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers, in fact, to see life.
—Agatha Christie

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Top 5 National Parks: Is Your List Better Than Mine?

People like lists. No, check that, they love them. Particularly when they disagree with them and think they have a better list. So, here’s my personal Top 10 list of national parks.

How does it match up with yours?

5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee, North Carolina)

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits astride the Tennessee-North Carolina border amid the majestic southern climax of the Appalachian Highlands. The most visited national park draws more than nine million adventurers and sightseers each year. And for good reason—the Smokies are within a day’s drive of a third of the U.S. population, and very few places in the East are in their league as an outdoor-recreation destination.

Great Smoky Mountains protects one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, a place that supports more than 4,000 species of plants, approximately 100 species of native trees, 66 mammals, approximately 240 species of birds, and more species of salamanders than are found anywhere else on earth.

Continue reading →

4. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

A highlight for most visitors to Capitol Reef is the scenic drive from the visitors center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A highlight for most visitors to Capitol Reef is the scenic drive from the visitors center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Capitol Reef National Park splashes color for 100 miles from its northern to southern boundaries. The central geologic feature, the Waterpocket Fold, is a bulging uplift of rainbow-hued sandstone “reefs” and canyons. Much of Capitol Reef is an inviting wilderness of sandstone formations such as Capitol Dome, Hickman Bridge, and Temple of the Sun and Moon in the backcountry of splendid Cathedral Valley.

Rock art petroglyphs are abundant in the midst of Capitol Reef’s red rocks and tell the story of the early indigenous people, the Fremont Culture. Close by are the large orchards of Fruita, an early pioneer settlement—and now headquarters for the park. Several easy hiking trails and a 25-mile scenic drive are found in this area. Cathedral Valley and other backcountry regions are reached by traveling on dirt roads.

Continue reading →

3. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

The Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands is a wide high plateau with commanding views across many miles of deep canyons in all directions. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands is a wide high plateau with commanding views across many miles of deep canyons in all directions. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Canyonlands likely won’t make everyone’s list, but then, that’s probably because they haven’t visited.

Canyonlands National Park covers a vast area of rock wilderness in southeastern Utah. Over millions of years, the rivers and their small tributaries have carved the flat sandstone rock layers into many amazing forms with a wide range of colors.

The 530 square miles of the park contain countless canyons, arches, spires, buttes, mesas and a myriad of other spectacular rock formations.

The sheer unbridgeable canyons of the Green and Colorado rivers divide Canyonlands into three distinct sections—Island in the Sky, The Needles, and The Maze—which differ in the types of landscape found there, the number of visitors and the available facilities.

Continue reading →

2. Grand Canyon National Park

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. Unique combinations of geologic color and erosion decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Nearly five million people see the Grand Canyon each year. Most of them see it from their car at overlooks along the South Rim.

A much smaller number of people see the Canyon from the North Rim, which lies just 10 miles (as the condor flies) directly across the Canyon from the South Rim. The North Rim rises a thousand feet higher than the South Rim, and is much less accessible.

John Wesley Powell said it best, “The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself.”

Continue reading →

1. Arches National Park

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located five miles north of Moab, Arches National Park is a geological wonderland and one of Utah’s most accessible parks. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures unlike any other in the world.

The greatest density of natural arches in the world occurs in Arches which preserves more than 2,000 imposing natural sandstone arches—including the world-famous and much-photographed Delicate Arch. Towering spires, fins, petrified dunes, massive sandstone buttes and walls, and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area.

Continue reading →

How can a Top 10 List omit such icons of the national park system as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Acadia, you ask? Only because they’re on my Bucket List.

Worth Pondering…
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
—Susan Sontag

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Arizona’s Big Hole

Camping inside of the park allows you to spend more time experiencing the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and less time driving back and forth.

Camping

The South Rim offers Mather Campground with no hook-ups and a 30-foot maximum RV length and Trailer Village with full hook-ups and a 50-foot-maximum RV length. Pictured above Trailer Village. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The South Rim offers Mather Campground with no hook-ups and a 30-foot maximum RV length and Trailer Village with full hook-ups and a 50-foot-maximum RV length. Pictured above Trailer Village. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Each side of Grand Canyon features at least one RV campground situated within the park and other campgrounds found outside the entrances.

The Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of the magnificent Grand Canyon is the site of the most of the park’s services and activities. Camping in this area provides visitors with access to restaurants, showers, laundry facilities, an ATM and bank, a store, a post office, a medical clinic, visitors’ centers, a ranger office, a train depot, trailheads, observation areas, and park attractions.

You have a choice between staying in a campground with no hookups or a campground that offers full hookups.

The South Rim offers either Mather Campground with no hook-ups and a 30-foot maximum RV length or Trailer Village with full hook-ups and a 50-foot-maximum RV length. Both campgrounds are within the Grand Canyon Village, the location of most of the South Rim services, attractions, and activities.

Select Mather Campground if your RV is 30 feet or less, you want to camp in a tent, and you do not need any type of hookup. Mather Campground is open all year round, but accepts reservations for stays only from the beginning of March through the middle of November. Stays during the winter are on a first-come, first-served basis and arranged at a machine in the office.

From March 13 to October 18 the park operates a free shuttle bus system on the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village and along the West Rim Drive. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
From March 13 to October 18 the park operates a free shuttle bus system on the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village and along the West Rim Drive. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Choose Trailer Village if you need hookups or paved sites, or your RV is between 30 and 50 feet in length.

Desert View Campground—within the park, but 26 miles from the others—does not have hook-ups and limits RV lengths to 30 feet.

The North Rim Campground has no hook-ups or RV length limit and is the only campground in the park located on the North Rim.

Use the National Recreation Reservation Service (see link under Details) to make your reservations online up to 6 months in advance of your camping trip to the Grand Canyon. Group tent camping reservations are accepted up to a year in advance.

The South Rim is accessible off Interstate 40 from Flagstaff or Williams, Arizona. The North Rim is accessed through Utah from Route 389 or Highway 89.

The weather at the Grand Canyon fluctuates throughout the year. Summer can range from 80 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of the Rim to well over 100 degrees at the bottom and winter temperatures often fall below freezing.

DUDE

Grand Canyon Summed up in one word: DUDE

D: Desposition

U: Uplift

D: Down Cutting

E: Erosion

Details

Grand Canyon National Park

Location: South Rim is located 60 miles north of Williams (via route 64 from I-40) and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff (via route 180); North Rim is located 30 miles south of Jacob Lake (in northern Arizona on Highway 89A) on Highway 67 with the actual rim of the canyon an additional 14 miles south

Operating Hours: South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; North Rim is open mid-May to mid-October weather permitting

Entrance Fe: $25/vehicle (good for 7 days), all federal lands passes accepted

Weather: Summer temperatures on the South Rim are relatively pleasant (50°s-80°s F) but inner canyon temperatures are extreme; daytime highs at the river, 5000 feet below the rim, often exceed 100° F; North Rim summer temperatures are cooler that those on the South Rim due to the increased elevation

Pets: Must be physically restrained at all times; leashed pets are allowed on the rim trails but not below the rim, except certified service dogs

Camping: Mather Campground (over 300 sites), NO hookups, 30-foot RV maximum; Trailer Village, full hookups with 30/50 amp electric service, cable TV, 50-foot RV maximum; Desert View (50 sites), NO hookups, 30-foot RV maximum

Camping Fees: Mather Campground, $18; Trailer Village, $35; Desert View, $12

Grand Canyon National Park receives an average of 5 million visitors a year; this means the park is crowded most of the year. Expect heavy crowds during spring, summer, and fall months. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Grand Canyon National Park receives an average of 5 million visitors a year; this means the park is crowded most of the year. Expect heavy crowds during spring, summer, and fall months. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping Reservations: Reservations for Mather Campground and Trailer Village may be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service by calling (877) 444-6777 or online at recreation.gov; NO reservations accepted for Desert View

Address: P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

General Visitor Information: (928) 638-7888

Website: nps.gov/grca

Note: Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it’s still current before making your travel plans.

Did You Know?

The Colorado River is 1,450-miles long from its source in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the Gulf of California, south of Yuma, Arizona.

Please Note: This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on the Grand Canyon National Park

Part 1: The Magnificent Grand Canyon

Part 2: Lure of the Grand Canyon

Worth Pondering…

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.
—George Will

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Lure of the Grand Canyon

No one knows for sure how the Grand Canyon came to be.

The Grand Canyon has been touted as the Eighth Wonder of the World ever since John Wesley Powell braved the raging whitewater in its depths in 1869. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Grand Canyon has been touted as the Eighth Wonder of the World ever since John Wesley Powell braved the raging whitewater in its depths in 1869. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Much of it was formed from rocks nearly two billion years old, and it was once a seabed. Seismic shifts and wind and water erosion continue to create a kind of living work of art. At the centre of it all is the Colorado River, which threads its way through 277 river miles of the canyon, from west to east.

Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. The land is semi-arid and consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the southwestern United States.

Drainage systems have cut deeply through the rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of desert basins.

Well known for its geologic significance, the Grand Canyon is one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world. It offers an excellent record of three of the four eras of geological time, a rich and diverse fossil record, a vast array of geologic features and rock types, and numerous caves containing extensive and significant geological, paleontological, archeological, and biological resources.

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion in the world. The Canyon, incised by the Colorado River, is immense, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point and 15 miles at its widest.

However, the significance of Grand Canyon is not limited to its geology.

When hiking along one of the canyon’s rims, look down and try to spot the tiny ribbon below. That’s the Colorado River.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
When hiking along one of the canyon’s rims, look down and try to spot the tiny ribbon below. That’s the Colorado River. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Park contains several major ecosystems. Its great biological diversity can be attributed to the presence of five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America. The five life zones represented are the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. This is equivalent to traveling from Mexico to Canada.

The Park also serves as an ecological refuge, with relatively undisturbed remnants of dwindling ecosystems—such as boreal forest and desert riparian communities. It is home to numerous rare, endemic (found only at Grand Canyon), and specially protected (threatened/endangered) plant and animal species. Over 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammalian, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in the park.

It’s believed that the first human visitors to the Grand Canyon were Native Americans who hunted here some 4,000 years ago. Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century; American fur trappers followed in the late-1820s.

During his exploration of the Colorado River in 1869, the first successful expedition to travel the length of the river, John Wesley Powell noted in his journal, “The glories and the beauties of form, color, and sound unite in the Grand Canyon—forms unrivaled even by the mountains, colors that vie with sunsets, and sounds that span the diapason from tempest to tinkling raindrop, from cataract to bubbling fountain.”

This perhaps explains why the Grand Canyon was named a World Heritage Site in 1979.

After 1880, prospectors came to the canyon in search of copper, silver, and asbestos.

Tourism took off in 1901, once the railroad reached the canyon’s South Rim.

In 1919, the Grand Canyon was declared a national park. Today, it gets up to 5 million visitors annually.

Photo Tips

The Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world, lives up to its reputation in every way. There’s no shortage of photographic experiences in the Grand Canyon either. A photo-taker could spend days in one single spot and never get the same image twice. Wake up early to see the brilliant sunrises or stay late for sunset and watch as the canyon change colors. Stop at all the scenic overlooks as you drive or ride the tram from one end of the park to the other. Be sure to find a hike that is comfortable for you to really get into the depths of the canyon.

Water and wind erode the rock and sweep it away. It’s hard to imagine that the river was once on top. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Water and wind erode the rock and sweep it away. It’s hard to imagine that the river was once on top. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For a classic shot of a Grand Canyon sunrise or sunset, head to the Hopi or Mohave overlooks along West Rim Drive on the South Rim. Remember to go early to give yourself plenty of time to find the right spot and set up.

DUDE

Grand Canyon Summed up in one word:

DUDE

D: Desposition

U: Uplift

D: Down Cutting

E: Erosion

Did You Know?

President Theodore Roosevelt said of Grand Canyon, “Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see.”

Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on the Grand Canyon National Park

Part 1: The Magnificent Grand Canyon

Part 3: Arizona’s Big Hole

Worth Pondering…

We sat at this point and let our eyes wonder across the canyon. All worries seeped away into the stony stillness and there was silence.

—Gena McCaffert

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The Magnificent Grand Canyon

The scale of Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona strains the vocabulary.

The sights at the Grand Canyon are unlike anywhere else in the world! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The sights at the Grand Canyon are unlike anywhere else in the world! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.

It’s slightly ironic that the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were all man-made objects, as if Gaia the earth mother, in all her glory, was seemingly incapable of providing wonders as stunning as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the Colossus of Rhodes.

The Grand Canyon is a natural wonder which was geological eons in the making.

Grand Canyon National Park is located in the northwest corner of Arizona, close to the borders of Utah and Nevada. The Colorado River, which flows through the canyon, drains water from seven states, but the feature we know as Grand Canyon is entirely in Arizona.

The Grand Canyon is probably the best known national park in the U.S., if not the world. Grand doesn’t really even begin to describe it. The park includes more than a million acres of land.

Unique combinations of geologic color and erosion decorate the canyon that travels 277 river miles from Lees Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

The Grand Canyon has two very different personalities.

Scenery, climate, and vegetation are noticeably different between north and south rims due to differences in elevation. It is almost like having two parks in one and it takes time, planning, and effort to be able to visit both sides of the Canyon in a single trip.

The North Rim, which at about 8,000 feet above sea level, cuts across the horizon 1,000 feet higher than the South.

The awe-inspiring feeling that you get when you stand at the rim and look out across the grandest canyon in the world is unrivaled! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The awe-inspiring feeling that you get when you stand at the rim and look out across the grandest canyon in the world is unrivaled! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And in between are countless side canyons, buttes, and temples with more than one billion years of geology on display.

Nearly five million people see the one-mile-deep Grand Canyon each year.

An overwhelming percentage of the visitors to Grand Canyon National Park visit the South Rim which is open all year. Most of them see it from their vehicle at overlooks along the South Rim—Grand Canyon Village, Hermits Rest, and Desert View.

In a well–known film lampoon of the family vacation, Chevy Chase stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon, nods his head in approval, and leaves. Visitors in real life tend to linger a bit longer—but not much. Too many come and go without wandering more than 100 feet from their vehicle.

At a chasm a mile deep and 277 miles long, the average stay is less than a day.

The best way to take in the views is to walk. The 12-mile Rim Trail stretches from Pipe Creek Vista west to Hermits Rest and is accessible from many overlooks and the campgrounds in the park. Most of the trail is paved and most of it is flat, something to be grateful for at 7,000 feet. Take time to take in at least a portion of the trail.

The South Rim is located at seven thousand feet above sea level. This means there is snow in winter and there are cool nights in the summer. But, summer temperatures at the bottom of the canyon, along the Colorado River, can reach 120 degrees.

A much smaller number of people view the Canyon from the North Rim, which lies just 10 miles (as the condor flies) directly across the Canyon from the South Rim. The North Rim rises a thousand feet higher than the South Rim, and is much less accessible.

Heavy snows close the road to the North Rim from late October to mid May each year. Even in good weather it’s harder to reach. It is a five-hour drive of 215 miles by vehicle from the South Rim, or 21 miles by foot across the Canyon by way of the North and South Kaibab Trails.

Hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a wonderful way to experience some of the Canyon’s rich natural beauty and immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a wonderful way to experience some of the Canyon’s rich natural beauty and immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Inner Canyon includes everything below the rim and is seen mainly by hikers, mule riders, or river runners. There are many opportunities here for adventurous and hardy persons who want to backpack, ride a mule to Phantom Ranch, or take a river trip through the Canyon on the Colorado River which can take anywhere from a few days to three weeks—there are no one-day river trips through Grand Canyon.

DUDE

Grand Canyon Summed up in one word: DUDE

D: Desposition

U: Uplift

D: Down Cutting

E: Erosion

Did You Know?

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world largely because of its natural features. The exposed geologic strata, layer upon layer, rise over a mile above the river, representing one of the most complete records of geological history that can be seen anywhere in the world.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on the Grand Canyon National Park

Part 2: Lure of the Grand Canyon

Part 3: Arizona’s Big Hole

Worth Pondering…

The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.

—Major John Wesley Powell, Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons

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Grand Canyon Deaths Murder-Suicide?

Three people died early Monday (October 3) when a motorhome caught fire near the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim entrance.

The Grand Canyon's South Rim was the site of three deaths on Monday. (Credit: exploreamerika.com)

Park rangers were notified at 7:22 a.m. of a motorhome with smoke in the cab, Shannan Marcak, the park spokeswoman, said.

By the time firefighters arrived to the parking area, the RV was fully engulfed in flames. Once it was extinguished, investigators were able to enter the RV and found the occupants’ remains, Marcak added.

The bodies were taken to the Coconino County medical examiner’s office for autopsies.

The RV was in a parking area along the most-traveled road into the Grand Canyon’s popular South Rim near a sign where tourists often pose for pictures. Authorities had reopened the area to the public by Wednesday (October 5) afternoon after removing what was left of the RV, Marcak said.

The South Rim lies in Grand Canyon National Park, one of the most popular national parks in America. (Credit: incadventures.com)

Authorities have not released the identities, but a Minnesota school district identified the three as two students and their father, the Washington Post reported.

Jennifer McNeil, a spokeswoman for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District, identified them as Jersey DeHaven, a kindergartener at Skyview School in Oakdale, sixth-grader Jace DeHaven, and their father, Anthony DeHaven, who had been vacationing in Arizona. She said a grandmother of the students informed school officials of the deaths Tuesday.

“Our hearts go out to the entire DeHaven family,” McNeil said. “Jace and Jersey DeHaven were both bright and wonderful students.”

“The accident that tragically took the lives of two of our students has deeply affected the entire Skyview community,” a letter home to children and parents said.

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The sheer majesty and beauty of the scenery found here is beyond belief. (Credit: grandcanyonadventures.com)

The investigation into the deaths points to a possible murder-suicide, National Park Service officials said Wednesday.

Marcak did not elaborate, other than to say the bodies appear to be those of an adult and two children and that no one else is involved.

One autopsy was conducted Wednesday but the results weren’t released. Marcak said she didn’t expect positive identification until later this week.

Worth Pondering…

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.

—Martha Washington

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