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The Grand Canyon
The final leg in our journey and then our first views of the big ditch itself. Park workers and locals often refer to it as "the big hole in the ground", which is true as far as it goes. Though a few days spent here hardly qualifies me as an expert, I hope that I got a feel for the place. These photographs were extremely difficult to sort. Altogether, I took over 3600 photos, on my visit. Digital cameras, with their huge capacities (721 photos per microdrive, in the case of my D30), tempt one to record images with no restraint. Every photograph of the canyon on these pages, probably represents dozens of others which, for whatever reason, didn't make the cut. It is impossible to take a bad photograph here.
Coming down out of the San Francisco's after leaving Flagstaff.
We are descending through pine forests onto the plain in which the Grand Canyon is cut. It is a journey of a few hours, but it brings many changes. 
As the plain opens up before us, we see a few low peaks. Off in the distance, we may even be looking at the north rim of the canyon, though it is hard to tell for certain. 
My first view of the Grand Canyon, appropriately under mystical skies.
Bluffs, palisades, and sheer drops are everywhere here. So is more geology than most people are able to digest in the (according to the park service) average 6 hour visit.
A look out across the million year landscape of the Grand Canyon.
I had always considered this to be a very dry place (which it is), but there was a considerable amount of plant and animal life, all through the park. In many cases bushes and small trees grew right up to the cliff's edge and beyond.
A stereotypical view of the canyon, full of reds, browns, and grays. 
Fascinating spires, and columns edge the canyon, while curves, angles, and rough cut channels fill it's center.
More plant life than I expected, up on the rim. Down below, however, it is obviously a different story. Little vegetation can be seen on the floor, or the lower slopes of the canyon. 
Twisted, and often barren trees, show the effects of the blazing sun. The heat and dry air of the place can leave living trees with a smaller moisture content than milled lumber.
Even on the sloping sides of some of the cliffs, bushes, and stunted trees grasp for a foothold. Life is not easy here, for anything.
If the lack of water is a threat to the area's specially adapted life, then the persistent action of what little water there is, threatens the rock itself, wearing it away relentlessly over thousands of years. 
A view through two results of the action of water. The first is the plant life it supports, while the second is the canyon it has carved. 

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