The Place

In the forward to "Brighty," Marguerite Henry, who died in 1997, wrote that she was grateful to the burro for "luring me to the Grand Canyon." Her book is chock-full of vivid details -- for example, rocks that looked as if "some giant devil had ground his teeth and spit and spewed them in every direction" -- that speak eloquently to her appreciation of the canyon.

When President Theodore Roosevelt first visited, he, too, was awestruck. He said: "Leave it as it is. You cannot improve upon 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." A few years later, he made the canyon a national park.

So what is the Grand Canyon? As its name suggests, it's a huge hole that has been carved in the earth by 277 miles of the Colorado River over millions of years. The canyon is about 1 mile deep and 15 miles wide. It is home to many species of plants and animals, and humans have lived in the canyon for 4,000 years. But the canyon isn't just grand because it's old and big; it's beautiful, too. The walls of the canyon are spectacular; the layers of rocks provide an amazing geology lesson and the incredible formations and colors are even more breathtaking at sunset.

If you get tired of gazing at the scenery (which we doubt!), there's lots of other stuff to do: You can hike, take a mule ride, camp, even raft the Colorado River. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grca.