Friday, April 1, 2011

My Scariest Adventure Ever!

On day 2 of our 40th anniversary trip to Las Vegas, we rented a car and took a road trip to the Grand Canyon West Skywalk, which was just 2 hours from Las Vegas.  I had wanted to see this glass platform over the Grand Canyon ever since I first heard about it, a few years ago, but knew, with my fear of heights, that I'd never be able to set foot on it.

Aerial view - notice how everyone seems to be walking on the edges. I didn't take this picture. It was on the flash drive I was given with the picture of Lloyd and me on it.

Getting there was as much an adventure as being there.  It's well off the beaten path, through small towns and onto mountain grade dirt roads, twisting and climbing to the top of the canyon, trying to see through the dust of other vehicles coming down, keeping an eye open for the long-horn cattle that grazed in the shrub along the road, and marvelling at the beauty of it all.

On the road up
We travelled through a forest of Joshua trees
We finally reached the parking lot/staging area/gift shop where we bought tickets to the sky walk ($175 US for two of us!) and got on a bus for the ride the rest of the way to the top of the canyon. 

Our guide told us that the Indian people trust that people respect the danger of the canyon edge and didn't spoil the view by putting up guard rails or barriers of any kind.  So far, she told us, there had been no fatalities there.  Then she got on her phone and asked what was going on at Eagle Rock (where the sky walk is). Being nosy, we asked her what happened.  She simply said there was an injured tourist.  When we got there the ambulance and rescue truck were still there and some rope barriers had been put up.  Apparently a woman had slipped over the edge of the canyon and landed on a small ledge below.  She was rescued and being put into the ambulance as we got there.

Eagle Rock.  On this fairly narrow canyon wall you can see the eagle's head in the center and his body below his head.  His wings are outspread forming the walls on each side of the narrow canyon.  Can you see him?

I was excited to get to the sky walk and followed the path to it and put on the disposable shoe coverings to keep the glass from being scratched.  Then, with my first step onto the walk, I was overcome by emotion and a bit of fear (!) and tears began to pour from my eyes.  Lloyd tried to get me to go back inside, but I had come that far and felt I had to do this thing.  Besides, I had seen the "shirts of shame" in the gift shop - they said "I looked around, I thought about it, I couldn't do it" - and knew I had to go on.  Luckily for me, there were bands on the edges of the walk where you couldn't see the canyon below so I walked around on them, crossing from one edge to the other on strategically placed steel walks.  I still got dizzy and quivery feeling in my stomach when I looked down through the glass at the deep, deep canyon.  Our guide took some pictures of us up there and I think I managed to look not to teary eyed in them. 

Looking pretty scared

A bit more relaxed
No shirt of shame for me!
I know I'll probably never get to the sky walk again and I never would have forgiven myself if I hadn't walked it.  It was an amazing experience!


mickey said...

Awesome accomplishment Pat! Wonderful pics to remember it all by. Not sure I could do it! (or want to pay for it!) but would love to try!

Chatty Crone said...

Happy anniversary to you . . .

I went to the Grand Canyon last year but not this part - I would have loved to see it - so thanks now for letting me! It was fascinating.

Love your picture - you guys are so cute together and you are beautiful.


Michael MacKenzie said...

I can see it, Mum! I can see the eagle!

JQ said...

Got teary reading about you getting teary. Glad it was a good time.

kath said...

Good for you! You are much braver than I!!!
The boys just got back from Chicago and said the highlight of their trip was the they are going to want to do this if we go west on vacation! And they will buy me that tshirt too! lol