With this episode we move on to the famous canyons in the USA. Needless to say, the Grand Canyon is undoubtedly the most popular and commonly visited canyon. There are other canyons which are more picturesque as you will discover in the forth coming episodes. We traveled to the canyons from Las Vegas….since there are day trips available from there.
One can visit various parts of the Grand Canyon like the north, south or west rim. The West Rim provides one with an opportunity to walk on a glass bridge called the Sky Walk. This Sky walk is 10 feet wide, and extends 70 feet over the rim to get a clearer view of the canyon floor. There are various options like helicopter ride to get an aerial view as well as visiting the Colorado river float where a boat ride on the river is available.All these are of course at additional cost.
Be that as it may…let’s start our journey to the Grand Canyon
Our trip to Grand Canyon was booked with Canyon Tours. It was a one day bus tour to the South rim of the Grand Canyon. We had made the online reservations from India itself. On arrival at Las Vegas, they needed a confirmation call to inform the room number of the hotel. Having completed all this, we were all set to go to the canyon. The cost of the tour was 75 dollars per person.
The pickup was from The Excalibur Hotel and we reached there around 6.15 am. There were lot of tourists waiting there for multiple pickups. After some eager waiting, our Gray line bus arrived and we boarded it. This bus took us to their office and we were separated into different groups depending on the part of the canyon chosen and additional activities opted for. We were provided with green wrist bands for easy identification!!
We got into our specific bus and our first halt was at Hoover Dam. Hoover dam is an arch gravity dam on the Colorado river on the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. This dam protects Southern California and Arizona from the disastrous floods in the Colorado besides providing power and irrigation to many areas along its path. It has also resulted in the formation of Lake Mead. It is located close to Boulder city, Nevada
Repeated years of drought have reduced the water level in the dam reservoir which is clearly seen along the reservoir walls.
Located between Nevada and Arizona following different time zones, this dam provided the opportunity to pass through the two time zones as we drove along.
The Hoover Dam and the winding roads leading to it
The Arch Bridge
The white line represents the original water level …..effect of drought
Clock showing Arizona time…there’s a similar one for Nevada
The plaque showing the location in the two states
At Hoover Dam
From Hoover dam we boarded the bus and reached the visitor centre at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park by noon. Our guide asked us to look out for elk as we drove by but we were not so lucky to spot one.
The drive to the canyon
At the Visitor centre, we were provided with a sumptuous lunch which was part of the deal. We had a choice of dishes for the meal. Meanwhile, the tourists who had booked for a helicopter ride over the canyon had finished that and they joined us at the visitor centre. Needless to say, the helicopter ride over the canyon provides an ariel view of the wonder…..
The Park Entrance and Visitor centre with the stone Elk …note the green wristband!
The driver who doubled up as a guide( something that is usual in these tours here compared to what happens in India) gave us an insight about the details of the Canyon.
The Canyon and the rim are located within the Grand Canyon National park in the Colorado Plateau and consist essentially of horizontally layered rocks predominantly reddish in colour. The Grand Canyon is actually carved out by the Colorado River and is about 450 km long, 29 km wide and more than 1800 metres deep. This canyon was formed about 5 to 6 million years ago and the river continues to carve deeper and deeper into the rocks.
We reached the first View Point….Mather point lookout
After a short walk , we reached the rim of the canyon and the sheer size and depth of the vast expanse that one beholds was truly amazing. The rim is protected with metallic grills and we stood at the tip of the rim and enjoyed the scenery. Took a lot of pictures and walked along the rim.
The first view as one walks up to Mather Point
The differently coloured horizontal layers of rock
Different views along the rim
A short video of the canyon
On the Edge!!!
The Colorado River(dry) at the bottom of the canyon
After spending half an hour at Mather point, we boarded the bus and were taken to The Bright Angel Lodge view point.
Here we walked through the Lodge which has a small cafeteria and toilets and came out at the other side which literally opens into the canyon. The view from here too was awe inspiring! At bright angel point, we saw some hiking trails and also the Grand Canyon Railway station. As we walked along the trails, there were some really isolated points where people were indulging in daredevil photography! Unlike at Mather point, people can really walk up to the edges of the canyon and there are no protective railings. This probably explains the dubious distinction that the canyon has….of swallowing people into itself!!!
The lonely tree at the edge
People risking their lives at unprotected edges of the canyon
Is your life worth wasting for a few likes on Facebook??
The Train at Grand Canyon Station
It was a bright and sunny October day and after the walk, we enjoyed some awesome icecream at the lodge.
Boarded the bus back to Vegas and were dropped back at the hotel at 9.30 pm after a short dinner break at a Mc donald’s joint on the way. After the sun goes down, it tends to get chill very quickly….typical of the desert climate.
As we drove up to Vegas, it was an amazing sight of the lit up city with its bright neon lights. A tiring but satisfying trip to the south rim of The Grand Canyon had come to an end!!
I hope I have succeeded in taking you all through a virtual trip of the Grand Canyon….would appreciate comments and feedback please….
See you all next week at The Antelope Canyon….a photographer’s delight….
If you like my blog, do subscribe below: