Ok, final set :)
I really tried to soak in every moment of the ride back to Las Vegas. That end-of-day light brought out all the colors of the terrain and draped a sense of calm over the landscape.
There are so many striations, rivulets, grooves, nooks, crannies, and gorges here.
And colorful mineral deposits. It’s very possible that this is somewhere near the Mount Wilson wilderness area, since we took the southern route back (the northern route passing over the Hoover Dam).
What a day. Not so often that a single day gets a 3-part Quelle series!
Here it is! THE GC!As we are coming from Las Vegas, this is the West Rim, home of the Skywalk. The Skywalk is a glass walkway hanging 4,000 above the floor of the GC. It will definitely get your heart going! Although, I was probably more nervous in the helicopter:
Clench those hands tight!
The helicopter traced the CO River, with the steep canyon walls on either side. I recently learned that the deepest canyon in the USA is not the Grand Canyon (but OH MY GOODNESS). Hells Canyon in Idaho is the deepest river gorge: 7,993 feet. And Kings Canyon in CA has a depth of 8,200 feet (winner!). The difference? Kings Canyon is a glacial valley. The depth of the GC is 6,093 feet.
Leaving the GC at the end of the day!
My beloved college roommate got married last year, and her bachelorette party involved —-a helicopter ride to and through the Grand Canyon—- (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
It’s the most visually overwhelming thing I’ve ever done. It felt so unreal the entire time. I can’t imagine being a helicopter pilot and seeing it day in and day out.
We took off from Las Vegas, and it was 30 minutes one-way.
Here we are passing the Hoover Dam:
Lake Mead, looking low
Sooooo much wild landscape!
Next up…Reaching the GC!
I thought this would be simple.
After hitting up Knapp’s Castle for sunrise, I would head just down the road to the trailhead for Fremont Ridge and 2 miles out, 2 miles back. As I went along downhill, the trail kept going…and going… I was the only person on that trail that day, and I now suspect that I made a wrong turn along the way. This “trail,” mostly an unmarked fire road, provides great views of the green 154 bridge, aka the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge. It’s the highest arch bridge in CA, and one of the highest in the USA, at 400ft above the canyon (thank you, Wikipedia). You can also see (barely) Lake Cachuma (a reservoir) in the above photo, that blue spot to the right of the mountains.I eventually decided that I had to turn around and head back uphill! I was glad to get back to the car and rewarded with this view of Santy B:
In December 2014, we decided to travel back to New York from California by train. Amtrak’s California Zephyr and Cardinal routes took us one-way with a change in Chicago for less than $250. We didn’t have sleeping cars, but the leg rests in coach served us fine enough. The amazing views, which I’ve put in this story map, make the train one of the best ways to see the incredibly diverse American landscape. Click the map above and enjoy!
Here’s a taste:
Check out the story map to see where these are!