Despite Chloe’s dire foretellings of doom, death and destruction, we survived the helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon. In fact, we did much more than survive. It was one of the single most spectacular sights that either of us has ever seen. After Chloe was comforted by our pilot, Chuck’s, CV (he flew black hawk helicopters at a height of 10ft at night for much of his career), we were free to enjoy the ride.
Travelling north west out of Boulder City, the flight took us over the Hoover Dam. Commissioned during the Great Depression, when US unemployment was at 25%, it employed thousands of citizens. Over 100 died in its construction, mainly of heatstroke, but it has provided this corner of America with electricity for nearly 100 years and paid for itself ten times over. Who said ambitious public investment wasn’t a good idea during a recession?
Lake Mead was created as a result of the Dam. It is into Mead that the Colorado River, which runs Roadrunner-style through the bottom of the Grand Canyon, flows. We found the point where the river meets the lake. A gentle turn to the right and…
…wow. It’s the Grand Canyon. At this point words fail both of us. We have seen the desert at Wadi Rum in Jordan and the Ella Gap in the Sri Lankan mountains, but nothing comes close to this scale. Both of those places elicited wonder but also a sense of how other people have lived there, seeing them and being part of them on a daily basis. It’s very hard to connect with something this vast.
Packed lunch and a glass of champagne, a short wander around (which most of us chose to use by just standing and looking, open mouthed) and we were off again.
Perhaps it was the mighty awesomeness of nature, perhaps it was the wine, but Chloe forgot to be scared on the way back. We took another route this time, across more open desert studded with the odd building and one particularly desperate looking town. Chuck, observed that you essentially had to be crazy or a felon to choose to live somewhere so inhospitable.
Back to Vegas, where our drop off to the hotel was (for some reason none of us could quite work out) completed by limo. They really are not very comfortable, but it was a glamourous way to end an incredible morning.