I drink so much jake, it have settled down in my knee I retched for my lovin’, my baby turned her back on me. —Ishmon Bracey, “Jake Liquor Blues,” 1930
Neither Wendy nor I had a good sleep. We are both suffering from a bit of a head cold. Keeping up with the blog is a little difficult as we are cramming a lot into each day. I know I had two typos in the last upload.
Today is helicopter day and my palms are already sweating. This will be my first flight in a helicopter and what a scary start it will be flying over the Grand Canyon. We get on the road at 7:30. I mentioned in the last blog that there is still some snow around Flagstaff. Also noticed today that some homes still have sandbag protection around the fence line. Another beautiful day is in store for us, bright blue sky and still a bit of a chill in the air. We will be seeing a lot more snow shortly as we head out of Flagstaff and head up the mountain to a height of 7000 feet. Flagstaff is one of the snowiest cities in the country with up to 100 inches annually. By the way, this is only the second time I have seen snow! Once we leave the mountain we head into the open plains. We take a left off the highway and are now only 23 miles for the Grand Canyon.
We arrive at the airport just after 9. Plenty of time to confirm our booking. We are flying with Maverick Helicopters. It is still perfect weather for flying but my apprehension is rising. We get called to meet our pilot (I wish I could remember his name). There are four flights taking off at 10-minute intervals. We are flying with a German couple and a Dutch couple. Safety procedure done we are strapped in with a small life jacket around our waists (we will be flying over the Colorado River) and each of us has our own headset and microphone. Nice touch, as we wait to take off with music playing through the headphones it is the Star Wars theme. The egg beater is getting faster and just like that we are a few inches above the ground. I can feel a little sway from side to side but no big deal. We gain height and fly over a large forested area. Some snow on the ground. The pilot relays lots of information. I have to say I am pretty relaxed. It hardly feels like you are moving. We bank to our left and are told we are approaching the rim. The pilot lets us know that if you are scared of heights then look away to the side. Once we pass the rim the majesty and size of the Canyon take your breath away. Simply the most amazing thing I have ever seen or most likely will ever see again. We are provided with so much historical and statistical information that it is hard to keep taking notes. Best just to forgo the writing and sit and enjoy the spectacle. Here is a link about the Canyon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon
The Colorado River is below us and from this height does not look so big. We are told it is in parts 100 meters wide and 14 meters deep. You can just see some rafters down below. The Canyon itself in parts is blue, green, and red. Old Lava flows can be seen. We stay over the Canyon for a good 30 minutes, so many things to see and learn about. This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Looming right in front of us now is Point Imperial which is the highest point. The Point gets 10 Meters of snow per year. I feel that we are very close to banging straight into it. Our pilot tells us that we are going over the top. The first time my heart beat a little fast. Due to the scale of the Canyon, we were not really that close, and over the top, we went. We then did a big turnback over some forest. It was bumpier over the forest than over the open Canyon. In this area they can record up to 1000 lightning strikes a year and the strikes have been known to start fires. Bison come into the area when the snow has melted and elk are here all year long. Another statistic that blew my mind is that in some places the North and South rims are 30 kilometers apart with the average being 15 kilometers. All in all the flight was 45 minutes. I said to Wendy I would do it again!
Hoff and Bernie come to pick us up. They have already had a quick look at the park itself. Why you may ask did they not come on the flight. SCARDY CATS. We drove back into the park and joined many other tourists looking over the rim from various vantage points. The elk in the park have no fear of people and a few are wandering around. We caught a free shuttle bus back to the Market Village for lunch. Back in the car we drove around the rim road and stopped off at other viewing platforms. Around 4 PM we left the park and headed back to Flagstaff. Taking a different route home we went through the town of Cameron. we are on Navajo land. The Navajo Reservation is some 25,000 square miles! What is interesting and confusing is that the Navajos do not observe daylight savings time. So when we leave the Reservation we gain back an hour.
We are back in Flagstaff just after 5. Bernie has read about a Cornish Pasty (correct spelling) that has 70 different varieties. The pasties are also BIG. Bernie and I go for a Tiddly Ogie, Hoff the Cajun, and Wendy a Shepard’s Cornish Pasty. Oh, and Bernie also orders a Scotch Egg.
Another fantastic day was had, Early to bed as we leave early tomorrow on another long drive.
4 thoughts on “Day Four – Grand Canyon”
Lucky bugger with the helicopter flight. Very envious. Jennie and I were supposed to do that when we were there, but it was too windy and they wouldn’t put the helicopters in the air. It is an amazing sight. When you stand on the rim and look across, it doesn’t look anywhere near as far as what it is to the other side. Sounds like you are having a great time. I didn’t think you would be one to get in a helicopter. Well done.
You are right Al, it was sensational. Sorry to hear you were unable to do the flight. We have been lucky with the weather however today it is blowing hard and their is a lot of dust around which gets into every crack and crevice. You are right about not being very brave, must be the new medication I am on!
Sounds fantastic. Glad you enjoyed the helicopter ride
It was sensational to say the least