A night and a day in the Grand Canyon West .

Asha Desh By Asha Desh, 25th Aug 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/12q-8yxc/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>United States>Arizona

My first article for Wikinut was about a trip to the National Parks in America. I have been away but have wanted to start writing again. What better day than today! August 25th 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of National Parks! .
Today, I revisit Wikinut with a narrative of a recent visit to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon West Rim

Grand Canyon National Park includes the North and South Rims.
Grand Canyon West is not part of Grand Canyon National Park. It is privately owned and operated by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. Pronounced as Wall uh pie, this Hualapai Reservation is almost a million acres, extending from the west corridor of the Grand Canyon to a small town called Peach Springs, Arizona, via the famous Historic Route 66. Even though comparatively new to the tourism industry, the West Rim has become increasing popular for a couple of reasons. One is the proximity to Las Vegas, which makes it easier for tourists. The other is the attraction of the Skywalk Glass Bridge, a man made entity in the wilderness of nature.

Los Angeles to Grand Canyon


Our journey started in Los Angeles in a tour bus. As usual with such trips, one starts off with complete strangers and ends up making a few friends. After picking up several passengers in few locations, the bus took us through the large Mojave Desert towards Las Vegas. Driving in the air conditioned bus , sheltered by the blistering heat outside, and looking at miles and miles of the desert one can’t help but wonder at the creation of nature - or God, or the Universe, which ever name one may choose to call it. The tour guide was giving a good description of the geography and the history of the place. His voice droned on, some cameras clicked and several heads nodded in sleep. After all, most of us had an early start in the morning. We stopped briefly in Barstow for lunch and proceeded to the Grand Canyon.

Arrival at the Canyon


It was late afternoon when we arrived at the Canyon. When the tour guide announced that we would have about half an hour just to stretch our limbs, we could hardly wait to scramble out of the bus. He had stopped right in front of the main station which had amenities, food and gift shops. But what attracted us the most was the scenic view of the beginning of the West Rim. The sunlight hitting the rocks at a certain angle made them shine like gold. Pictures were taken from every one at every angle, but not one could do any justice to the reality of it. After spending sometime there we went to our halt for the night, the Hualapai Ranch.

The Hualapai Ranch:


If one could go back in time, it could be at this ranch. The settings were just like an old western town. There was a market place, an eatery, cow shed, hay wagons, horse shoe games, a jail and even the gallows. There were about 24 cabins in all. We did not have many children travelling with us, but the adults almost went back to their childhood in that environment. The cabins were very clean and quaint. After settling in into our respective cabins, we all came out to enjoy the atmosphere outside. By then, some of us had become fast friends and grouped together. After going around the village setting, taking pictures, and having fun, we settled down to watch the gorgeous sunset. The night sky that followed, lit by brilliant stars, accompanied by a bit of lightening, was a great adventurous feeling. Dinner was followed by a camp fire with enthusiastic participation by everyone. We listened to old Indian folk tales, narrated by a local Indian with a great sense of humor, roasted marshmallows, made S’mores, told jokes and had a jolly good time. We reluctantly bade each other good night since we had to get up early the next morning.
And what a gorgeous morning it was! Watching the sun rise over the Canyon is a sight I will never forget. We had breakfast at the restaurant and left for the rest of the sight-seeing tour. We were dropped off at a point from where we took the “Hop on Hop off” shuttle bus.

Eagle Point:

The first place we went to was the Eagle Point. By far the most popular scenic overlooks on the Grand Canyon West Rim. The point gets its name, because the formation looks like a huge bald eagle, with its wings outstretched. It offers stupendous views of the Canyon and the Colorado River below.

Skywalk Glass Bridge:

We walked up to the Skywalk Glass Bridge. It is a horse shoe shaped, cantilevered bridge, with glass floors that look down straight into the canyon below. It is said to be an engineering marvel of modern times. The Hualapai Tribe oversees the whole operation. They mandate that no cameras or cell phones are taken on the bridge and provide locker facilities. Plenty of professional photographers are available to take the pictures for tourists.
We were all given special cloth coverings for our shoes to walk on the bridge. It was amusing and interesting to see the reaction of people as they slowly started to walk on it. Definitely not for people who have fear of heights. Even though everyone knew that it was just an illusion, it was with great trepidation that they started to walk on the glass floor. Some people did not want to look down, which took away the most exhilarating feeling that the glass bridge offered. Some spent more time; others did a quick short walk. Each to their own, they enjoyed the experience. I had read somewhere that the first steps were very hard, but the hardest were the last ones, not knowing when they would be there again. I could relate to that feeling.
We walked around after getting off the bridge. We saw a lot of different types of Indian tents constructed along the pathways, with descriptions of each one. We were entertained by music and dance performances by local artists at the “Native American Village”. We shopped for local authentic handmade jewelry and crafts at the gift shops.

Guano Point:

Our next stop was at the Guano Point which is a vantage point along the rims, overlooking an old Bat Cave Mine. The restaurant which sits on top offers both great food and excellent views, of the canyon and the Colorado River below.

Farewell

Upon completing the tour, we were awarded “Certificates” in testimony of having toured the place. We walked up to our tour bus and waited for the others to join us. As we waited, we could see the helicopters taking people to their “Air and boat” tours. These tours offer a great “Up Close” feeling to the magnificent Grand Canyon.
There were a large number of tour buses, just like ours, with many tourists, just like us. I marveled at the number of sight seers that benefit from seeing such nature made sights. A large number of them were day tours, but I am really glad I got to spend one night, amidst those grand canyons. We saw nature at its best, in different times. We had good times. We returned to our normal life styles with great memories, and yes, a couple of new good friends.
I sign off this narrative with words borrowed from Wordsworth.
He had said in “The Daffodils”,
“I gazed and gazed but little thought, what wealth the show to me had brought”.
I paraphrase it a bit and say:
“I gazed and gazed, and firmly thought, that years from now, I can visualize those glittering canyons”

Tags

Eagle Point, Grand Canyon, Hualapai Ranch, Skywalk Glass Bridge

Meet the author

author avatar Asha Desh
Freelance writer. My genre is a mixed bag . My articles include Reflections on life, Humor with meaningful messages, Travel, Light reading and Fiction.

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