Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday 29 April - Helicopter to the Grand Canyon.

We left the hotel at 0500 looking for breakfast near the limousine pick up point. There was a 24 hour convenience store close by which provided sandwiches, fruit and coffee. The limousine was a little late and we had begun to be anxious. Check in at Sundance Helicopters was quick and informative and there was a good video safety briefing. 

We were on helicopter 62 and met our pilot, Steve, from Minneapolis, and the four others who were from Ohio. Mary and I were in the front on the way out.  There was a good view forward and the audio commentary through the headphones was well paced. The pilot also added some interesting information.

We took off and flew a couple of feet over the ground to the taxi way, hovering to let a plane past which was taxiing for take off. The view over the airport was great and we went across Las Vegas before heading out to the Hoover Dam which we circled so that everyone had a good view. Lake Mead was next and then we flew over broken ground gradually climbing.
Hoover Dam
We came over a high mesa then through a valley and into the Grand Canyon. The walls are mostly vertical interspersed with sloped sections where the rock is softer.
First view of the Grand Canyon
Flying through the Grand Canyon
We landed on a bluff over the Colorado river and had half an hour to explore. The ground was rough and uneven with much grey flat loose rocks. There were scrub bushes and several barrel cacti. Steve prepared a pick nick of grapes and baked goods washed down with California champagne and orange juice.
Barrel cactus
The Colorado River from the landing site
Take off on the return to Las Vegas
All too soon it was time to buckle up and return. This time we went alongside the canyon wall and up a side valley. The sun was behind us on the way back and we even saw some snow capped mountains. We flew in along the Las Vegas Strip and landed at the airport. Altogether we flew 180 miles there and back.
An excellent ride. There was a limousine waiting for us which we shared with several others. Among these were four from England, three from Lincoln and one from Market Rasen. They were astounded that we knew Market Rasen and more so when we mentioned that we stayed at the Advocate hotel - the lad's father owns the Advocate. We asked him to compliment his father for the duck on the menu and mentioned the gourmet chip butty they served us. Quite a coincidence.

Click here to see all pictures taken on the helicopter trip.

Click below to see these images in slide show format.

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