1100 meters above the abyss

A view from the Skywalk

Skywalk, Grand Canyon, West Rim
Skywalk, Grand Canyon, West Rim

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With a full tank we start from Meadview in the direction of the Skywalk, belonging to the Hualapai, the Native Americans at the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.

After our thrilling drive from Peach Springs to Meadview (you ´ll find this in my post “There is no gas in the desert”) we have lost a lot of time. It´s after 2 pm and we still have to go 35 miles.

Now we can imagine how the last 10 miles to our final destination will look like: dusty and sandy, in other words, an earth road again.

We start to have some concerns on ever arriving at the Skywalk.DSC02926

The earth road winds through barren grass and bush land. Sometimes it´s only a one track road. We see only very few other cars. Are we really on the right track? We don´t have many options, so we go further on.

Grand Canyon, West Rim
Grand Canyon, West Rim

At last we see the Grand Canyon West Airport and the visitors centre with the big parking lot.

We buy our tickets and take a seat in the shuttle bus, which heads to the Skywalk.

Skywalk, Grand Canyon West Rim
Skywalk, Grand Canyon West Rim

The drive doesn´t last long, we are very excited. In the building that is in front of the glass walk, we have to leave all our belongings in a locker, even the things that we have in our trouser pockets. It is not allowed to carry any items on the skywalk, not even your mobile or camera. We get soft overshoes for the sake of the glass bottom.

We are really lucky, there are only few other people, so we can start right away to the platform. Normally you have to wait quite a time and you can´t stay as long as you like. But not today!

There is no time limit, so we can indulge in this gorgeous view into the Grand Canyon. The first steps are still over the ground then you step out over the abyss! What a view down the steep slope! There is only glass left, right and below us that separates us from the abyss. What an amazing feeling! It´s like flying!

Grand Canyon, West Rim, Arizona
Grand Canyon, West Rim, Arizona

There are rangers on the platform who are more than willing to explain all about the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk and any other topic that is about the environment. But mostly they watch the tourists, who might try to go over the breast high railing to end their lives.

Grand Canyon, West  Rim
Grand Canyon, West Rim

It´s nearly impossible to measure the right distance to the bottom of the canyon, because there are no reference points. The distance could be 300 meters or 2000. We ask the ranger and he tells us the proper height, about 4000 feet, around 1100 meters above the Colorado River that we can see as a small blue tie in the distance.

Black birds over the Grand Canyon
Black birds over the Grand Canyon
Colorado River
Colorado River

We see some big black birds flying around, looking for prey. We see another small strange bird, which is a helicopter that carries tourists. The helicopter doesn’t look bigger than a dragonfly so far away it is. We cannot even here the rotor blades.

Where is the helicopter?
Where is the helicopter?

We can´t get enough of the sight, pointing here and there, so much is to see. We have to store every picture in our brain, because we can´t take any photos.

We are very happy that we can stay that long. The shadows get longer; the canyon seems to change entirely. At the bottom of the canyon it’s already very dark.

Suddenly an Asian looking man lies on the floor. A ranger comes immediately, he might be fallen or ill. Fortunately it is only that this man can´t cope with the height, he wants move on his belly to the other side. This is not allowed, so the ranger helps him to the exit, telling him to look in front to the building, not down. You shouldn’t suffer from acrophobia here.

The rocks change their colors constantly. It shimmers in many different types of red, the more the sun sets. Even very thin cirrostratus cast a big cloud over the surroundings.

Grand Canyon, West Rim, cirrustratus
Grand Canyon, West Rim, cirrustratus

I would like to watch much more of this natural spectacle, but that is impossible.

We have to go, there is a long drive back to our hotel and a lot of the drive will be on the earth road.

With a heavy heart we say good bye to this amazing view. We get back our belongings and take some last photos from the rim. From the outside we are allowed to take pictures. One will certainly be of “Eagles Point”. This is a big rock formation on the other side of the Grand Canyon, looking like a huge eagle, spreading its wings. This formation is sacred to the Hualapai.

Eagle Point
Eagle Point

The bus goes via the Native American Village back to the parking lot. We would have loved to have a look after the village, but the sun will soon be gone and we know how long the trip will be.

During our drive back to the main road we are getting watched by a rabbit. The only other living being on this track as it seems. Then the sun sets completely with an unbelievable spectacle. These colors here in the desert! This blaze of color we can´t see of in Europe. Too much pollution we got up in the air. We take a short break and take some photos. They look like photo shopped, but they are real!

Sunset Arizona, Grand Canyon
Sunset Arizona, Grand Canyon

It´s getting pitch dark very soon and we are very happy to get back on the main road. We haven’t been the last on the parking lot. How will the others drive back, or will they stay on in the village?

We don´t take a chance and stay on the main but longer road via Kingman to Peach Springs. Stockton Hill Rd. is one of the main roads here, but there are only few other cars on the street. It is absolutely dark, only the stars give some light. We don´t go too fast and that is fine. Suddenly a big cow with huge horns stays at the roadside. What could have happened, if it would have crossed the street…

Sunset Arizona, Grand Canyon
Sunset Arizona, Grand Canyon

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We go on slow; we don’t want a crash with such a massive animal. Then it happens again.  A huge dear watches us from the roadside, not moving. It might know the traffic…

We had enough adventures for one day. The outward journey was thrilling enough. We are happy to see the lights of Kingman, so there are only a few more miles on the Route 66 to our hotel, the Hualapai Lodge.

Route 66
Route 66

Arriving here, I get the next jolt. The railway passes directly next to the hotel, we hear a very loud whistle from the upcoming train and the whole building starts to rattle.

How could I ever fall asleep here? These mile long trains pass by day and night.

Nevertheless I go to bed and as soon as my head hits the pillow I´m asleep. I have some wild dreams after our adventurous day but after a good night´s rest we look forward to our next part of our roundtrip.

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