Friday, October 18, 2019
The Trail of Time is a geological time learning laboratory built to help park visitors understand, in a physical way, the role time played in the formation of the Grand Canyon.
Distance, in meters is the metaphor used for understanding geologic time.
1 meter = 1 million years
I prefer to think in terms of inches, feet, yards and miles.
1 inch = 25,400 years
1 foot = 304,800 years
1 yard = 914,400 years
1 mile = 1,609,340 years (1.61 Billion years)
The trail of time takes the Grand Canyon Rim Trail from Maricopa Point to Yavapai Geology Museum. Maricopa Point represents when the earth was first formed, 4.56 Billion years ago. Yavapai Geology Museum represents our current time, now.
At Maricopa Point, a display sets the starting point in time when the earth was created, roughly 4.56 Billion years ago. The trail ends at Yavapai Museum, roughly 3.1 miles away on the Rim Trail.
Medallions, like the one above, are embedded in the Rim Trail at regular intervals. The number of years ago decreases as one moves from Maricopa Point toward Yavapai Museum.
The part of the Rim Trail corresponding to the Grand Canyon’s formation is shown above and runs from Verkamp’s Visitor Center to Yavapai Geology Museum. Yavapai Geology Museum is where the trail reaches the current time.
Just past Verkamp’s Visitor Center, a Marker shows the beginning of the Grand Canyon’s formation in time.
The time medallions are more frequent in this section.
Along the trail, there are samples of the rock formed at the time corresponding to the location on the trail. There are more than fifty such rocks along the trail. The variety boggles the mind.
Displays help place the rocks being shown at the level they are found in the canyon.
Scopes make it easy to see where in the canyon certain rock formations can be found.
Along the trail of time, a group was listening to their competent geologist tour guide. Based on the lack of an National Park Service uniform, the guide was likely leading a private tour.
The end of the trail is here!
Back in the present time.
Down the trail less than 100 yards is the Yavapai Geology Museum.
Inside the museum, the windows are on the rim. The views are good. Displays along the window help identify visible geological features.
Displays in the museum explore layering or strata and the effects of uplift.
The museum houses a small Grand Canyon Conservancy gift shop.
It seemed more natural to exit the museum from the opposite side it was entered.
Continuing on the Rim Trail to the Visitor Center where I made my way to trails leading back to camp. Back in time for lunch.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!