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Old 10-13-2008, 03:29 PM   #1
Claire L
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Cool 3 states, 3 weeks and 2000 miles in a Jeep - Day 17

Sunday July 2nd 2006

We woke around 8am and slowly got up with a cup of tea and some cereal. By 9.50am we were downstairs and sitting on the veranda at the front of El Tovar waiting for our pick up which was 10.10am. By 10.10am nothing, 10.15am nothing, 10.20am nothing, 10.25am nothing, so shortly before 10.30am I went and used the public payphones to call Papillon and was told our names had not been phoned through to the airport but someone would come out and collect us asap, although we would not make the 11am flight we would be on the 12pm flight, and to make up for the problems an additional 15% would be taken off the cost. Whilst waiting I took a few more piccies.





So by about 11.25am we were collected and off we went to the airport which was quite close to the Grand Canyon but it did mean we had to leave park grounds so took our receipt with us so we wouldn’t have to pay to re-enter. Once at the airport we were soon checked in and were given our sticker to say we were ready to fly. There were two other couples on our flight and we were then told which order we were to sit in, this was determined by weight so that the helicopter was balanced!! Just as we went to get on each couple had their picture taken in front of the helicopter and then we boarded. Soon we were off over the forests…



There was music to accompany the flight as we had to wear earphones due to the noise. The music to start with was Enya and then the pilot spoke about where we would be going and what we would be seeing and at certain points there would just be music. It must have taken about 10 minutes but we were then suddenly flying over the South Rim and we were above the Canyon. It was an amazing sight looking down and then across as the Canyon goes on for miles.













We then went over a very bright blue river which was the Little Colorado, its colour is due to a particular mineral that is only found in that area.



We then went over the Colorado and back again and then we saw the greyness from the forest fires on the North Rim that had been raging for the past 6 days or so.





Somehow we then managed to avoid the smoke and headed off towards the North Rim.



Once we were over the North Rim and there was evidence of a forest fire from some time ago.



It was very wooded on the North Rim which is a couple of thousand feet higher then the South Rim. We then saw a very strange area with no trees and we were told it was an ancient dried up lake and due to the density of the silt that had stayed there nothing much could grow, certainly not trees.



By now we were turning and heading back towards the South Rim for our last ariel views of the Grand Canyon.





The flight had been great but we were still disappointed we were unable to land in the Canyon or go on the river as that was the original plans, when we booked the tour As we came into land we saw the huge queue going back in the Grand Canyon as it went all the way back to Tusayan, where the airport was.





We were told with the queue that long it would take well over an hour to get back into the park Once landed we waited to be collected and took a few piccies of our helicopter along with buying the souvenier picture.



Soon we were collected and made our way slowly back into the park which did take an hour and a quarter due to all the holiday traffic. By now it was mid afternoon and we were hungry so we walked down to the Bright Angel Lodge and went into the restaurant and decided to have an early dinner with some beer. We were seated quickly and were served by an American chap probably in his early 60’s. I must say it made a nice change to actually be served by an American as so many staff at the National Parks are International students and it does detract from the real experience of being in the US Anyway time for food we both had the Bright Angel Angus Cheeseburger – As legendary as the trail this 1/3 pound of Angus beef is charbroiled, with your choice of cheese and bacon strips and served with lettuce, sliced fresh tomatoes and crispy pickled dill slices, served with your choice of fries, coleslaw or onion rings we both had the fries and cheddar cheese. The food soon arrived nice and hot and was washed down with a beer or two. Afterwards we felt the need for something sweet so Nathan had chocolate ice cream whilst I had the Butterfinger blast ice cream which was very tasty. It was by now late afternoon and we headed back to our room after a slow walk along the Canyon rim taking some pictures as we went as the sky was quite blue.



As dusk fell we went out for a little walk along the Rim from the hotel and watched the light fading and in the distance we could see lightning and also the lights from the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim of the Canyon. Soon we went back to the room as we were off on our final journey tomorrow to Las Vegas via the Hoover Dam.

Claire
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:39 PM   #2
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Another great day Claire. Dad and I must get round to going to the Grand Canyon soon.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:06 PM   #3
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Stunning photos, Claire. Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:22 PM   #4
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What fabulous photos
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:41 PM   #5
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very special trip with great photos


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Old 10-13-2008, 05:16 PM   #6
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More fabulous photos.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:26 PM   #7
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Great pics Claire. They brought back so many memories for me!
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:16 PM   #8
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what fab views
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:42 PM   #9
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Absolutely stunning photos!
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:49 PM   #10
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Fantastic Claire
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:51 AM   #11
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Oh Claire you're pictures are amazing .A great helicopter trip Claire-but a shame it was'nt you're original planned one.x.
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Old 10-16-2008, 07:30 AM   #12
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Another fantastic day - the helicopter flight really gives an impression of the size of the canyon.

Love the sound of the Butterfinger blast icecream - yummy

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Old 10-24-2008, 05:21 AM   #13
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Awesome views. I really want to go to the Grand Canyon
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