Friday, October 10, 2014

The Grand Canyon

Without a doubt, the highlight of the entire trip to Las Vegas, was this tour in which we visited the west rim of The Grand Canyon and then Hoover Dam. I completely loved the contrast of being able to witness a wonder of nature then a man-made wonder.

We got picked up pretty early. The Grand Canyon is not exactly close to Las Vegas so it requires some time and planning to go there(you actually have to head over to Arizona). We chose Pink Jeep Tours to take us there and yes, their vehicles are indeed pink. The ride was pretty comfy and it wasn't a big huge bus so you get more personal attention. The guide/driver was great and very knowledgeable. If you are thinking about doing this tour or something similar I highly recommend them.

On the way to the Canyon we drove by Joshua Tree National Forest which is an area completely covered in... wait for it, Joshua Trees. Interesting since a Joshua tree is not really a tree and since we didn't stop I wasn't able to get a decent picture. This one is the best I could do.

Joshua Tree

Then we stopped in a rest stop in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. This little town right in the middle of the desert, for a bathroom break. They have this pseudo-fake Starbucks sign. They don't sell Starbucks coffee. They only have this little fridge with those bottled Frappuccino drinks you see in gas stations. I thought it was funny.

Even in the middle of nowhere, there they are... Sort of.

Then we arrived at the Hualapai reservation who own the land where this area of the Canyon is located and after switching to one of their buses we were taken to Eagle Point.

Folks, there simply are no words. Once we got there my jaw just dropped. This is truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. I can only hope the pictures do it any justice but I don't think so. I have seen pictures and video of the Grand Canyon all my life. Nothing prepares you to see it in person. With the exception of the Skywalk, (I'll get to that in a second) the Hualapai tribe has not really developed the area -a good thing in my opinion- so all you get is this vast, natural beauty. It's dangerous though. There are no railings or fences. Take a wrong step and you will get to experience the "Grand" part of the Grand Canyon first hand. The place is called Eagle Point for a reason and I hope you can make it out in the picture. Can you spot it?


The shot above is a Panoramic shot Phostoshop stitched together of several shots I took of the area. It's really the only way to get it all in there. (I think you can click on the pic to make it bigger) It is that vast. What looks to be right next to you is actually miles and miles away. You only notice when the many helicopters that tour the area go down there and they end as tiny dots in the distance.

After catching our collective breath, we headed over to the Skywalk. This building has a horseshoe-shaped cantilevered bridge in which the floor is made glass. This is how it looks from the outside. That drop right below the bridge is 800 feet. The entire way down? over 3,600 feet. Yeah, so its a bit of a way down...
Looks scary? Try walking on it.

The bridge is designed to withstand the weight of 71 Boeing 747's and there is whole story and explanation as to how it was built and how safe it is. Bullcrap. Once you start walking on top of the glass, every fiber in your body and mind is telling you to get off that thing. The sensation is weird and scary as heck. It took me a while to get used to it enough to walk freely. Most in my party never did. It made for some funny moments. There are painted sections of the glass on either side of the bridge and people can't help but walk in that area to feel safer. 
800 ft down? No problem!

My brother was not so successful. lol

Yeah, the painted glass is gonna save us all.

By the way they don't allow cell phones or cameras or anything else for that matter, on the Skywalk. You can only buy the pics the employees take of you. (Those three pics above were taken by them)They did come out pretty nice in our case so while I couldn't shake the feeling of being ripped off, I was happy with the results. People have to earn a living I guess and besides, the pics are more expensive at Disney World and especially on a Disney cruise. By the way, we chose to get a USB drive with all our pics for $68 and it included some stock photos of the Skywalk that are quite striking.

After getting our trembling legs off the Skywalk we took another bus to Guano Point. Guano. As in bat poop. Apparently there are some caves in the area filled with the stuff and some people tried to extract it for profit many years ago but they went under. Some structures still remain though.
So apparently extracting guano here was not a good idea.

There are two points of interest in Guano Point. The first is getting to the edge of the point. Once there you are almost completely surrounded by the canyon from all sides and its a sight to behold.
The Canyon and the Colorado River

The other is this mound of rocks  you see in the next picture. You can climb to the top of it and get a pretty glorious view from there. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment.

As I made my way up, there was a couple from Korea at the top. I helped them take some pics and they returned in kind and took this shot.
Yes, those are in fact, my running shoes. Wait, is that my house I see?

Then, they wanted to take a picture of them with me, which I thought was weird but they didn't speak English so I couldn't just ask them. Fans of The Fat Runner from Korea? Anyway, after going back down I rejoined the group.

I also saw this bush (or what's left of it I guess) I thought looked interesting. It kind of reminded me of the biblical image of the burning bush Moses saw in the book of Exodus.

After Guano Point we got back in the pink jeep and our guide had lunch ready for us. he gave us the choice of eating it at Guano Point or on the Jeep while driving to our next destination, which we chose. Next was Hoover Dam! But that is another post. This one went too long as it is.


  1. Love all the pics! I went there as a kid and definitely want to go back!

  2. Frank these pictures are AMAZING!!! I've always wanted to see The Grand Canyon! Maybe one day!!!

    1. You would totally love it Mindy but I warn you, it's a bit unnerving. All I could think of was how much the girls would love it but I don't think I would take them yet. It's a bit dangerous.

  3. I did a cross country trip a few years back and stopped off at the Grand Canyon. I was only gonna spend a couple hours but once I started walking around it and taking it all in, I decided to spend the night. It's such a euphoric feeling being there. I really didn't want to leave. Also did the Joshua Tree National Park on that trip. That was also a great park to visit.

    1. Yeah, I'm kind of bummed we didn't get to stop at the Joshua Tree Forest. I didn't even have time to take pictures.