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Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Southwest, USA

Swinging My Legs Over The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Standing on the precipice with the wind tearing at my hair looking down thousands of feet into the grandest canyon of them all you can’t help but imagine its origins. Like God picked the Earth up in His giant hands and took a bite out of the nothingness of the Nevada dessert.
 

My heart starts racing, the wind is pushing me back from the edge, which in the back of my mind provides a small measure of relief since it’s not pushing me into the ravine. I take another step closer and then sit down on the edge, slowly dangling my legs over.
 

I look over my shoulder and shout, “take the picture, quickly!” After the snap of the camera and the confirmation of the photographer I scramble back away from the edge with a little laugh in the back of my throat. I had survived my small overhang over the Grand Canyon, unlike some. With the adrenalin still pumping I contemplate a belly crawl to the edge when my husband yells, “don’t even think about it.”

See before I had kids I would have done that without a second thought, but now that I have someone depending on me, needing me, it seems so much scarier to put your life at risk for the sake of a view.

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The night before our trip to the Grand Canyon was spent planning the trip with our friends in our 7-seater rental car. Google Maps had informed us it was over a 6-hour drive so we decided to pack an overnight bag to stay the night and return the following day.

We went by our friend’s room at 7:30am and were all in the car by 8am. Our first stop was Hoover Dam. There is a highway that bypasses it, but we were interested in crossing it and photographing it.

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It was a cold day, but the view was fantastic and we spent awhile taking photos and enjoying the scenery. Then you need to do a U-turn and go back over the bypass, there is no through road once you view the Dam.

While journeying down the road we pulled in at a gas station for some fuel. It was a strange gas station with strange UFO decorations and paraphernalia, but we were so glad we chose that spot. It was while we were inside there that the cashier asked us if we were heading to the Grand Canyon.

After much confusion on accommodation, etc. we realized that Google Maps was heading us to the South Rim and we could actually be at the West Rim in only 2.5 hours. What a blessing that lady was, even if we didn’t buy what she was selling (tours).

Everyone rejoiced back in the car that the canyon would be on us fairly soon. The West Rim is owned by an Indian tribe and maintained by them. Soon our road turned into a dirt road and we were bouncing along. At 12:12pm we stopped to take photos. A great way to record what we were doing on the 12/12/12.

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Finally we reached the West Rim. They have several different pricing structures, however we wanted to walk the glass Skywalk so it cost:

Adults - $87.92 including shuttle bus to Eagle Point, Guano Point & Hualapai Ranch, lunch & the skywalk

Kids were at adult prices 3 - 11 so we bought Mia a Silver ticket which was similar, but did not include the skywalk at $56.89. They ended up letting her on the Skywalk for free. And of course Caius at 2 was free.

The bus takes you to three different stops. Our first stop was the Skywalk at Eagle Point. The Skywalk is a glass bridge jutting out over the 4000 feet vertical drop into the Grand Canyon. You have to wear special socks to prevent scratches and no cameras are allowed. Now I am not your average chicken, but that walk is still one of the scariest things ever. The glass has gaps in it where you can lie down and look through, but I couldn’t manage. Mia and Caius didn’t even seem to notice.

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During our visit to this part of the Canyon we also found a giant crack in the earth. My beautiful friend from Australia, Vanessa, found this quite disconcerting and we literally had to carry her to the edge for a photo. Josh had some fun making some gnarly shots throwing Caius in the air.

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Our next stop was all Canyon at Guano Point, plus a small restaurant. The wind was biting hard now so we took turns with the kids inside. Not only was it cold the kids were giving me a heart attack at every turn. I had to have both hands on them and several eyes to prevent any bolting or escapism and it was causing me serious stress. It was a much better solution to wait inside the restaurant looking out the windows with them and then swap with my husband.

Dave and I went together for a walk around this part of the Canyon since Vanessa was a little uneasy with the height and we both wanted to investigate. There is a contraption in this part that was used a long time ago for work that went on in this part of the canyon. A plane crashed into it flying too low and it hasn’t been used since.

While Dave and I were sitting on edges and taking grand photos I noticed this guy in a wheelchair also moving about. The terrain was rough and bumpy with rocks, the edges unstable, but here he was taking in the scenery and moving about. I felt great pride in his determination even though I did not know him and also more thankful for my own legs.

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The Grand Canyon is amazing and I don’t want to try and describe it to you. It goes on for miles down as well as wide. There are so many colours and textures, shadows and shapes. It really is a must see. When I look at the Grand Canyon I am in awe. There is nothing man can make that beats nature or the work of an unseen God. I feel truly blessed standing in such destinations.

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Our last stop on the bus was a little cowboy/Indian town, Hualapai Ranch. We were nearing the end of our day and it was great to get out of the cold and the bitter wind. There was a little restaurant there that served us some hot chicken dinner that was included in our tickets. My kids loved playing with one of the waitresses who was dressed like a cowboy and had a pretend gun. My 4 year old was especially fond of the way she crashed to the ground every time she shot her.

There was also a man performing card and magic tricks on a table, which Mia and Josh both enjoyed. I never got to watch, but they seemed thoroughly entertained.

When we came out of the restaurant the last bus was leaving for the day. We jumped on board and it took us back to our car, where we were all relieved to sit in the warmth. The sun was setting as we made our way back out of the Canyon and we were thankful to hit a road with lights, as it got dark.

The journey seemed short with the excellent company and Las Vegas greeted us with its shining glory. As we had plans to stay in the Grand Canyon that night Josh and I actually had no place to stay. The Monte Carlo, where our friends were staying, kindly supplied us a room at discounted prices and we ended up booking for the rest of our stay. The location was excellent and since all of our stuff was now in the room we didn’t want to move. We were given a lovely room overlooking the strip, quiet and convenient.

Our adventure driving to the Grand Canyon was a grand success. Our friends were delighted with their first time and as it was Josh and I’s second time we were still in awe and overjoyed with the remarkable and insanely vast sight that is the Grand Canyon.

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My husband's amazing photos can be seen in the Photo Journal. 

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Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Karin on
Great read and such beautiful shots. I need to go there
Posted by Lisa from Gone With The Family on
Beautiful photos! We are going to the Grand Canyon for the first time in March - I can't wait! I won't be doing any dangling over the edge though! ;)
Posted by Tonya @ The Traveling Praters on
I'm not sure how close to the edge I'll get, but the Grand Canyon has long been on my list of places to visit with my family! I loved your vivid description of your experience. Thanks for linking up to the Best of the USA! I hope you'll join me again the 1st Monday of March too. :)
Posted by Terri @ Travel 50 States with Kids on
Oh my goodness. You are scaring me with those photos! I think the scenery may have been really pretty, but I'm too afraid you're going to fall off the edge, so I can't go back and look. ;-)
Posted by Alysia on
The Grand Canyon has been on my list for a long time. I lived in Arizona as a child, and never went there! I'm still giving my mom a hard time about it, too!! Great pictures but they make me nervous too!
Posted by Ron | Active Planet Travels on
I can't wait to visit the Grand Canyon! I bet the view was phenomenal. Have you ever been to Waimea Canyon out in Kauai, Hawaii? The nickname it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific...quite similar but much more lush with plants! ;-)
Posted by Tony on
The Grand Canyon is awesome, in fact you cannot describe it in words. For the best views and cheaper entry visit the South Rim which is the main National Park, it has a great Visitors Centre as well.
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