A Long Way Down!

Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 27, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, August 20, 2009

After a longer lie til 8am (compared to getting up at about 4am the last 2 mornings!) I nipped to Denny's next door to the motel for breakfast. I tried to pick something reasonably small as everything looked like massive portions but even my simple scrambled eggs on toast came with hash browns that nearly doubled the quantity of food! Plooughed my way through as much as possible before getting on my way to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon for the Skywalk.

The road was pretty straightforward most of the time (there weren't exactly many turn offs and very few other cars) but for the last 20 miles or so it was like driving in one of the desert courses on Colin McRae's Rally....except much, much slower! Finally got to the parking lot for the Hualapai Visitor Centre and after paying all my ticket and admission fees and nearly losing my hat when a helicopter took off closer than I expected I jumped on the shuttle bus out to Eagle Point (named because the rocks look like an eagle in flight) and the Skywalk.

There is only really one angle to take pictures of the Skywalk so after a quick couple of snaps I went to hand in my rucksack and get my little shoe protectors to stop me from damaging the glass. Walking out over the edge was quite a strange experience but once I was past the initial drop off it didn't actually look as though there was a 4000ft drop under my feet because it's pretty much a sheer cliff with no reference points to gauge the height. After getting a few pics taken I was allowed to stay on the platform as long as I wanted. There isn't much to do other than look down though and since I wasn't allowed to take my own camera I couldn't take any other pictures so it was only about 10 minutes later that I joined the queue to view my potential souvenir pics. The queue took longer than anything else the whole day but eventually I got to the front and bought a picture - can't be jumping about with only a sheet of glass stopping me from a 4000ft fall without a souvenir after all!

After a quick bus ride I got to Guano Point and one of the best views of the canyon and the Colorado river of the whole trip. It really is amazing to think that where I was standing used to be part of the ocean floor and then the depths of the canyon were carved out by the power of the river (with a little help from some earthquakes). The Skywalk is definitely one of the highlights of my trip so far and worth the effort it took to get there. The bizarre sight of seeing helicopters flying below where you are standing also makes it worth the journey!

After winding my way back to a paved road (and being very thankful that I wasn't on one of the many buses making their way along the windy roads!) I made my way back toward Las Vegas. On the way I made a quick stop to take in the views at the Hoover Dam - the new bridge that is being built to take some of the traffic off the top of the dam is quite a sight, when it eventually opens people driving on it will have a great view of the dam and the beginning of Lake Mead, although they'll be passing at a much quicker speed than I did so maybe won't have time to take it in!

Got back to Las Vegas in time to use the accommodation booking service at the Visitor Centre and got a room at Circus Circus for a bargain price. Went for a wander before settling down to sleep but restrained myself from any gambling!

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