Big Hole Remains Vast

I’m here to report that the world-famous Grand Canyon in northern Arizona lives up to its billing and is undiminished by time.

In fact, time, which gradually dismantles you and me and blunts the overall effect of abslutely everything else,  only increases the canyon’s grandness.

Such has been the case for either 6 or 70 million years, depending on which creation story you happen to believe.  In a remarkable double-reversal, the old theory is that the canyon is new, and the new theory is that the canyon is very much older, having formed as a by-product of an earlier river that flowed in the opposite direction – as a result of a powerful, rock-cutting  runoff from mountains that no longer exist.

And that mountain range existed in the basin where Las Vegas sits today.  What are the odds?

Name your favorite natural feature of the Earth’s surface. 

 

 

37 thoughts on “Big Hole Remains Vast”

  1. That hardly seems like a fair question, Dale. How can I pick only one? Have you ever driven over the Bear Tooth Highway? Seen the Grand Tetons or the Alps? The Norwegian fjords?

    I’ve always been fascinated by mountains, possibly because I grew up where there were none. But awe-inspiring as mountains are, my favorite natural feature is water: I love oceans, lakes and rivers.

    There’s something about an ocean that keeps me spellbound. The constant movement, the smell, the vastness and power of it. Living as far inland as I do, Lake Superior is an acceptable substitute although it lacks the briny smell. I envy Steve that he lives within range of both mountains and a magnificent ocean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kindred spirits
      your post want there when I started typing

      I’m not big on briny smells so that is t part of my requirement for ideal but the ocean does have the ability to out wow Lake Superior.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the mountains. I went to banff when I was a kid and could believe how beautiful the mountains were. I would stop the car get out and take a picture and proclaim that is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen. the. I got in the car drive a mile pulled around the corner and had to stop the car get out take a picture and proclaim that is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen. and get back I. the car only to drive 1 mile stop the car and I believe it took me the entire day to get through the scenic drive part of the park. I was exhausted. it takes a lot of juice to get so emotionally involved in the world. I was spent.

    but the first response I had to the question what is your favorite feature is very different.

    water lapping on the shore.

    I love water lapping on the shore in all its variations. the lake on a July morning, the shoreline on a blustery day wher the waves crash and spray, the ocean curls of foam. meditation in a nutshell.
    love it love it love it

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I do love mountains and have seen plenty of awe-inspiring ones: Tetons, Canadian Rockies, Southern Alps (New Zealand), European Alps, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Himalayas, and am about to see the Andes.

    However, like PJ, it’s water that grabs my soul. I find waterfalls particularly entrancing. I can sit by a shore (ocean or lake) for hours watching and listening to waves, whether they are gently lapping the shore or crashing in fury.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There’s nothing more relaxing than the sound of waves gently lapping at the shore. The small house we stay in when we go to Mexico is no more than 100 feet from the Sea of Cortez, and our bedroom faces the ocean. Lying in bed at night, listening to the waves as I drift off to sleep is my idea of heaven.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning. I pick Lake Superior. If I lived closer to an ocean or mountains I might pick an ocean or a mountain. I am also a big fan of native prairies and old growth woods. The Grand Canyon is not on my list of favorite natural features because I haven’t seen it although it is a natural feature that I look forward to visiting some day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I would have said Lake Superior, had this question been asked years ago. So I’ll mention something closer to home, now that home is so far from where it used to be. The Cascade Mountain Range runs north and south, paralleling the Pacific coastline. What is the least-likely behavior from an east-west river when it meets a mountain range? The strangest thing a river can do is to run smack at the mountains and cleave a sharp gorge right through them. But that’s what this river had done, running bullheadedly at the Cascades, knifing through rock as if it were soft. The result is the Columbia River Gorge, which is as odd as it is beautiful. You’d never expect a river to do that. But if a river acted so capriciously, you might say, “Damn. I’ll bet the waterfalls are world-class.” Which they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The amtrak train that runs from Portland OR to Minneapolis runs along the Columbia River Gorge for a while. When I took that train a couple years ago, it was late afternoon when we pulled out of Portland and the sights along the river until it got dark were so. very. beautiful.

      Like

  6. I am a martyr to altitude sickness, and both heights and large bodies of water make me anxious. I have a great love of large expanses of grassland, so it is a good thing I live on the northern plains. I love being able to look as far as a person can look and experience the vastness and the big skies.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That vastness has different impacts on different folks, Renee. I once hunted some vast grasslands with an Iowan who was so spooked by the huge, unbordered sea of grass and sky that he had a panic attack. Friends who lived in Pierre, SD, could enjoy the BWCAW for four or five days, after which they felt claustrophobic by the nearness of trees. They were unsettled until they got back in open prairie.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You have to be comfortable in your own skin to tolerate the nothingness. When there is nothing except infinity when you gaze out, the gaze has no where to go but back to you and then you have to gaze inward. That is often uncomfortable.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I am reminded of the spring break and reading Giants in the Earth while sitting outside in western Iowa.

          Got to the part where the immigrant wife hid in her trunk to escape the vastness. It had never occurred to me that could be frightening.

          Stick me in mid-town Manhattan, unable to see a horizon for a day and I do get a bit anxious.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. One of my Danish co-workers in Greenland felt claustrophobic because of the low mountains that surrounded us. Any chance she got, she’d hike to the top of one of them in order to look beyond them.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. My oh my! Like PJ, I don’t think I can single out just one! The summit of the Haleakala volcano on Maui is one of my favorites, but the fjords in southern New Zealand took my breath away. And I’ll always remember the black pebbles on the beach at Middle Beach, near Kennebunkport, Maine!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Ditto PJ’s question: How can I choose? I also agree with everyone’s sited faves. Lake Superior is a marvel on its own. Then you add winter and the ice caves, the Madeleine Island Beaches, geodes, etc. And that is just one place. All of Italy is a natural wonder. I can’t choose. As always, I like everything.

    I am in AZ now watching clouds move back and forth over the Four Peaks, usually visible outside the window. But it is raining here now so the Four Peaks are swathed in clouds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i love the mountains. I went to banff when I was a kid and could believe how beautiful the mountains were. I would stop the car get out and take a picture and proclaim that is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen. the. I got in the car drive a mile pulled around the corner and had to stop the car get out take a picture and proclaim that is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen. and get back I. the car only to drive 1 mile stop the car and I believe it took me the entire day to get through the scenic drive part of the park. I was exhausted. it takes a lot of juice to get so emotionally involved in the world. I was spent.

      but the first response I had to the question what is your favorite feature is very different.

      water lapping on the shore.

      I love water lapping on the shore in all its variations. the lake on a July morning, the shoreline on a blustery day wher the waves crash and spray, the ocean curls of foam. meditation in a nutshell.
      love it love it love it

      Like

  9. I sorted through a few candidates but will settle on the Na Pali coast of Kauai.
    My family took the vacation to end all vacations in 1966 and one day was spent on these beaches, delivered and retrieved by helicopter, the only people there. Ocean, green mountains, beach, waterfall, huge natural arch, sky, sun.

    I don’t think you can get a helicopter to drop you off anymore. Probably for the best as the beach would be overrun. So lucky to have had this opportunity.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Having lived on the shore of Lake Superior, I agree with that selection, but including the adjoining forest. To me they are inseparable. The Grand Canyon might be at the top. But with Steve I say the Cascades and the Puget sound and its islands, which I also see is bound alone. Rainer is very high on my list. Carlsbad Cavern. Badlands. Many others.
    OT: I am at a coffee house for Internet. Because I live in apartment building with all is networks and wires meeting at a central point for two suppliers, my home network is down again. It went down Sunday, but in part because of Sandy’s schedule, I will have to cancel that. I think I will give up on the Internet. Four days have told me what is a née and what is a want. The need list boils down to two thinks. After I pick up Sandy, I am going to talk to Verizon about costs of using a data plan for FaceTime and messaging only.

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  11. Oops. Meant to say a tech is scheduled for tomorrow but will likely have to cancel. You have to be home all morning or afternoon. With Sandy problems, it can only be afternoons.

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  12. Morning–

    In my dairy farmer days, one of my favorite places was sitting on the step in front of the barn or leaning on the window sill of that open window – both facing East across the pasture and fields and onto the farm pastures.
    I imagine how that looked to my Grandfather 80 years ago. Other than trees, the shape of the land was about the same and it just fills me with peace.

    These days, in a tractor up on the higher hills of the farm and looking over that particular region of the neighborhood gives me peace.
    I’m waiting for my corn to be harvested yet and then I’m really itching to get out and spend a few days chisel plowing. It’s the whole ‘closure’ of the season thing and wrapping things up for fall / winter.
    My brother hated it; it was just ’round and round’. yeah, but it’s a peaceful (loud) round and round with such a connection to the seasons and the dirt and the farm.
    Even years ago in the open tractors when the weather was nice, it was more so; the wind, the smells and the sounds. It’s a nice thing. Not so much in the cold rain… 🙂
    (And all the old farmers deaf in their left ear from looking over their right shoulder at the machine behind them.)

    There’s also a spot down in the pastures where Silver Creek runs along a limestone cliff. And where some of the limestone has slid off into the creek leaving huge slabs of limestone and it’s a lovely place to visit.
    Getting over-grown with trees and ‘returning to nature’ so it’s appeal is changing.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I think the squirrels in my neighborhood took a couple of days off. It was almost 2 days before little bite marks started showing up on the pumpkins in my front porch!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve lived near the ocean, I’ve lived in the mountains, I’ve lived between ocean and mountains…and here I am in northeast mn surrounded by nothing but trees…no mountains, no ocean, no water. In my youth I thought I would live in the summer on a San Juan Island in Washington, fall in MN or New England along the coast, winter in the Colorado mountains, spring on a Greek Island. Have never lived on the open prairie, but I love driving through eastern Montana and ND. Now I am content living with trees, but love visiting the Norwegian fjords and the Colorado mountains….and a visit on occasion to get my Lake Superior “fix.”

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Trees. The most dramatic are the Redwoods, of course, and I would like to spend more time in that cathedral-feeling place. But I’ve always been in awe of great trees, and if you watch, they are everywhere. They provide homes for animals, shelter from the elements, adventure and at times safety if you can climb, a place to tie on a rope swing. They take in CO2 and release oxygen… they’re really pretty miraculous things.

    I remember a banyan near the San Diego Zoo, a great old pine we used to play under near the trailer court, and the boxelder in our back yard when we first got here and had all its limbs, to name a few favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m going to be unoriginal and say Lake Superior. Because it is beautiful in every season and weather and changes every day. And if you get tired of the piece of shore you’re on, just move to a different spot – there’s a lot of shoreline from which to choose. I think I could live at one spot on The Lake and never, never get tired of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Some of the haze is due to dust or smoke from fires. Unfortunately most of the haze is due to air pollution. And the presence of haze varies according to what direction the wind is blowing from.

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