Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight

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Welcome to the Grand Canyon, everyone. Down below us you can see the Colorado River. That runs the entire length of the canyon. And it’s about 300 feet wide and it drops 2,000 feet on it’s way through the canyon. Over to our left, there’s a single peak there between us and the north rim. That one’s called Vishnu Temple, and it’s one of the higher peaks on this end of the Canyon. Just out in front of us, you’ll see a little cone there with a flat, white top. That one’s called Apollo Temple. Further up, to the left is a white-tipped peak called Jupiter Temple, and both of those are named after Greek Gods.

And to our right side are the Desert Palisades. Those cliffs are 4,000 vertical feet from base to top. Over to our right side, extending out across the desert you can see the Little Colorado Gorge. And just ahead of us is the confluence between the Little Colorado River and the Colorado River. We’ll be flying around three sides of that today. And on our way around, you should get a pretty good look at the gorge.

Just out in front of us you can see the North Rim of the canyon. The North Rim has an average elevation of about 8,000 feet, making the North Rim about 1,500 feet higher than the South Rim, which we’re flying over now. Here along the South Rim you might notice that it slopes away from the canyon. Because of that, we don’t have much erosion under the South Rim, it’s more of a sharp cliff there going into a river. In contrast to that, the North Rim and the plateau beyond that all slope down into the canyon. It’s that drain that’s coming off of the North Rim that carved out everything that you can see out in front of us now.

Just out in front of us you can see a rock cap popping there on the ridge line, that one’s called Mount Hayden. Mount Hayden is 30 stories high from base to top. And to the right of that, the first point you come to out in the North Rim is called Point Imperial. That is the highest point in the canyon. It stands at 8,803 feet. Stretching out away from us is a part of the canyon called Marble Canyon. That goes back from here about 50 miles to Lees Ferry. And Lees Ferry is the official beginning of the Grand Canyon, at one time was the only river crossing in the Colorado River to early settlers of the area.

Today, they use that location to start all the rafting trips on the river. It takes the rafts about two weeks to make their journey all the way through the canyon. As we come over the North Rim, on our left side, you’ll see Bright Angel Canyon. Bright Angel is the widest point in the canyon, 18 miles from rim to rim. And now we’re just flying over an area that we had a fire in in 2001, it burned about 14,000 acres here on the north side of the canyon. And this is here on our left. You can see a ridgeline extending out into the canyon. That’s called the Dragon Formation. The dragon’s head pointing out towards the middle of the canyon has that knobby peak on top. Following that back, he’s got a bumpy neck and it humps up over the dragon’s back. We’re going to re-enter the canyon right by the dragon’s tale.

Over to our right side, you can see the Coconino Sandstone Layer to the canyon, that particular layer is about 275 million years old. And at one time that was all sand dunes that covered this entire region. Over to our right side, you can see the dragon’s head a little closer this time. And over to our left, there’s a large flat-top butte called Shiva Temple. It’s named after a Hindu god and it’s the largest butte off of the North Rim. There’s about 300 acres of ground on top of Shiva, and 4,000 vertical feet from base to top.

Coming up here just in front of us again, down on the canyon floor, you can see where the rocks stand up on edge there. That indicates a fault line here in the canyon. There are 13 major fault lines found throughout the canyon. All of those are evidence of the uplift event that we had here in North America about 19 million years ago. An uplift event lifted up the North Rim to where it is today. It was a major catalyst in the formation of the canyon.

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