Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.






Route 66: Day 5

by Kathy 15. February 2010 21:17

<< Day 4: London Bridge is (Not) Falling Down | Day 6: Caves and Wild Animals >>

 

Grand Canyon Skywalk

 

Today was the last day of 2009. We thought we would end the year with a “thrill”—we would venture out onto the glass Skywalk that hangs above the Grand Canyon.

The Skywalk is located on the Hualapai Reservation, about an hour and a half north of Kingman, Arizona. There is a hotel on the reservation, but no campgrounds, so we would be returning to Kingman tonight.

We had a short drive on Interstate 40 before heading north. Up ahead, I could see where the road builders had sliced a wide path through the mountain.

The slice revealed the mountain’s internal rock patterns, which are always so fascinating to me. Here, I wondered what drastic environmental change had occurred (hundreds of thousands of years ago) to leave behind the horizontal ribbons of lighter rock.

Heading north:

Against a mountain were the telltale signs of a mine.  When material is extracted from a mine, a large portion generally contains no minerals or useful substances; this leftover material is deposited into giant heaps--long, barren, flat-topped hills--called “overburden dumps.”

Mobile homes were common.

Many signs advertised 5-acre lots for sale.

We turned here:

The Hualapai Reservation was reached by traveling a long, two-lane road.

We passed through fields and fields of large Joshua trees—some of the biggest I have ever seen.


We eventually reached an area that was marked as the “Joshua Tree Forest” on my map. There were Joshua trees stretched out into the distance, as far as we could see, on both sides of the road.


I love the vertical stripes in the rocks along the mountaintops.


We climbed gradually and eventually reached the snow-line.

This cow welcomed us to Grand Canyon West and the Hualapai Reservation.

The southern rim of the Grand Canyon is significantly lower than the northern rim. We could see the snow-dusted northern side rising above in the distance:

The Hualapai Reservation is located on the southwestern portion of the Grand Canyon. Unlike the Grand Canyon National Park, to the east, the Reservation allows helicopters to fly over and through the canyon. Many tourists come here from the National Park and from nearby Las Vegas to get that bird's eye view of the canyon that they can’t get anywhere else. The air around the visitor’s center vibrated from the noise of helicopters taking off and landing.

To reach the canyon rim, you must purchase an entrance ticket and take a 5-mile bus ride to the Skywalk area.

Genevieve and Sebastian at the rim:

We wanted a good view of the Skywalk, so Ben and I crept out onto a rocky area with some large gaps, where we could see the Colorado River down below.

There was the Grand Canyon Skywalk!

Yes, I was actually there!

The Skywalk has a glass walkway that extends almost 70 feet out into the canyon, in a big loop. It is suspended about 4000 feet above the Grand Canyon floor. The designer envisioned a platform that would allow visitors to feel as if they are floating in the air.

A view across the canyon from the rocks:

Here is a rock formation known as “Eagle Point”--the body of the eagle is in the center, and its wings are the rock ridges on either side.

The Hualapai believe that an eagle led their people here many years ago.

Michael, a member of the Hualapai Tribal Nation, was keeping an eye on all of the people that were stepping out onto our rocky viewing spot.

He said that the light changes the canyon colors throughout the day. This afternoon, the walls will change to purple. When he arrived this morning, the canyon was filled with white fog. He never tires of looking at the changing scenery.

Another view of the canyon.

Michael was kind enough to take a family photo of us:

Near the Skywalk was a traditional house that the children explored.

We stopped to watch some Native American dancers. Nate Bahee, from the Navajo Nation, did a men’s grass dance that honored the Native Americans who fought in Iraq:

The dancers included a young boy, Terrice Jenson, who is a champion hoop dancer. He twirled various hoops, which he subtly combined together to end up with a sphere shape. We were all impressed!



The dancers encouraged us to take photos and ask questions. Here are Genevieve and Sebastian with Nate (on the right) and Terrice’s father (on the left):

There was no line for the Skywalk today. We put on special booties over our shoes to prevent the glass from getting scratched. Then we waited for our photographer guide (Barry) to lead the way. (No cameras or personal belongings are allowed out onto the glass walkway, so a photographer accompanies you to take photos.) I was a bit hesitant about the first few steps out onto the glass, but then I was fine.The experience wasn’t quite as “freaky” as I thought it would be, but we all enjoyed peering down to the canyon floor.

Here we are on the Skywalk:

The Skywalk was designed to hold 70 tons, but only 120 people are allowed on it at a time. We were lucky to have only six other people out with us. There is no time limit, and you are permitted to stay out as long as you want. We stayed about 20 minutes, gazing at the view and talking about the physical engineering involved in building the Skywalk.

Here I am with Barry and the kids afterwards:

Barry was originally from New York, and has retained his accent over the years despite living in England, Maui and other places.

We then visited Guano Point, a rocky peak that was a few miles away. Here are Sebastian and Genevieve at the entrance.


There were two small rocky peaks to climb. The first was easily accessible via a short trail. At the top were some views of the canyon and Colorado River.

Ben and Sebastian:

The children were fascinated with the snow:


Here is a patch of snow on a dry desert plant:

The second climbing peak (shown behind Ben and the kids in the photo below) was near the edge of the canyon.

To get to the second point, we had to walk along a wide area that had a steep drop-off on either side. Here is a view from the second point looking back toward the first, with the café roof behind it.

We had to use caution, which included instructing Sebastian to quiet his “happy feet” (our term for those constantly skipping and dancing little feet that are on the ends of his seven-year old legs).

There was no obvious path up to the second point. Genevieve led the climb over the large rocks.

She was the first to reach the top:


But Sebastian soon joined her:

We had a wonderful view of the river below:

The canyon walls:

A close-up of the snow across the canyon:

Some nearby ravens:

Genevieve and I, at the top:

Ben:

A helicopter blended with the colors inside the canyon:

The only other person near us was a Chinese man who was busy photographing the scenery.


I struck up a conversation with him and discovered that he has been living and working in New York City for the last several months. He was traveling through the U.S. during the holidays. He asked us if we had ever been to China, and seemed excited about the fact that we would be spending a few weeks there this spring.

Here is another view back towards our starting point:

The day was so beautiful, and I was happy. Ben caught me kicking up my heels!

From our overlook, we could see some mining equipment below us, on the edge of the canyon rim.

Guano Point got its name from the abundance of bat guano (excrement) that was mined from a nearby cave in the 1950’s. We hiked down to explore what remained of the mining facility.





The view from the mining machines:



Genevieve and Sebastian were happy:


On top of the world:


They honed their acting skills by finding a ledge and pretending to be dangling precariously—oh, the drama!


With its dusting of snow, and range of colors, the Grand Canyon mesmerized us completely.  We stood quietly and soaked in the beauty.





We eventually tore ourselves away from all of this glory, and headed back to Kingman. 

We chose a route through a deserted valley. The road ahead:

We all agreed that our visit to the Grand Canyon West Skywalk had been the perfect way to celebrate the end of 2009. We closed our eyes a little after midnight, with a full moon shining down on us.

<< Day 4: London Bridge is (Not) Falling Down | Day 6: Caves and Wild Animals >>

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map



Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

Bhutan
   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Kanglung
   Mongar
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Thimphu
   Tongsa
   Wangdi Phrodrang

Bolivia
   Caranavi
   Guanay
   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Llica
   Potosí
   Queteña
   Rurrenabaque
   Sajama
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sorata
   Sud Lipez
   Tupiza
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

Canada
   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Chetwynd
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Isle-aux-Coudres
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Montreal
   Niagara Falls
   Ottawa
   Quebec City
   Quesnel
   Thousand Islands
   Toronto
   Vancouver
   Vancouver Island
   Victoria
   Watson Lake
   Whistler
   Whitehorse

China
   Beijing
   Datong
   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   HuaShan
   Lijiang
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Xi’an
   Yangshuo
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Quepos
   Sarchi
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves
   Zarcero

France
   Paris

Ecuador
   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Quito
   Yasuní National Park

India
   Bagdogra
   Darjeeling
   Delhi
   Gawahati
   Jaigaon
   Kalimpong

Mexico
   Baja California
   Crucecita
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Huatulco
   Marietas Islands
   Mazunte
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Patzcuaro
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Sayulita
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotihuacán
   Teotitlán del Valle
   TzinTzunTzan
   Yagul
   Yelapa

Namibia
   Caprivi
   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Katutura
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisfontein
   Seisriem Camp
   Sossusvlie
   Swakopmund
   Treesleeper Camp
   Twyfeltein
   Windhoek

Peru
   Balsas
   Barranca
   Cajabamba
   Cajamarca
   Caraz
   Cañón del Pato
   Celendín
   Cerro de Pasco
   Chachapoyas
   Cusco
   Huamachuco
   Huánico
   Huaraz
   La Oroya
   Leymebamba
   Llanganuco
   Lima
   Machu Picchu
   Moyobamba
   Nuevo Jaén
   Pallasca
   Pampas
   Tápuc
   Tarapoto
   Tarma
   Tingo Maria
   Tocache
   Yungay Memorial

Portugal
   Burgau
   Coimbra
   Evora
   Lisbon
   Marvao
   Nazare
   Obidos
   Portimao
   Sintra
   Sitio

South Africa
   Johannesburg

Spain
   Barcelona
   Bilbao
   Hondarribia
   Madrid
   Montserrat
   Nerja
   Rock of Gibraltar
   Ronda
   Santillana del Mar
   Tolosa
   Zaragoza

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.


Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin