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UNSEEN GRAND CANYON

As the Grand Canyon celebrates 100 years as a national park, we take an epic of-season walk to the bottom of the mighty crevasse

@thewideopenroad

For geologists, there’s no place on Earth like the Grand Canyon. Nearly two billion years of the planet’s history are encapsulated in the canyon’s mile-high jumble of fossil-laden rock layers, allowing scientists to take a mesmerising walk back through time.

Science was never my thing, but universities have standards, and mine wanted me to complete three science classes. So when I saw ‘Geology of the Grand Canyon’ among the autumn course options for my second year, it was manna from heaven.

Taught by two long-haired graduate students, this course’s big appeal was that its weekly classroom sessions would be complemented by a semesterending Thanksgiving trek under the full moon into the depths of America’s greatest natural wonder. I signed up on the spot. Two months later, on a chilly late-autumn evening, I found myself driving through the night from the San Francisco Bay Area to the canyon’s South Rim, serenaded by the Grateful Dead in a car of like-minded renegades.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - March 2019
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