America in Six Days
flight from Auckland, New
Zealand to Los Angeles, we
left on the Sunday afternoon and after a twelve hour flight arrived In America
some two hours before we had left New Zealand. A couple of days
arranging internal flights then early in the morning off to Las
Vegas, an hours wait then on to the Grand
flight was by Scenic Airways or some such, in a small propeller driven plane.
We flew over Lake Mead, giving sight of the
Hoover Dam, then across scrub and desert to the canyon. The flight continued
over and along the canyon, although the air was hazy, the majesty of the
scenery was still apparent. We landed at Grand Canyon
village and although nobody had told us their was an hours time difference we
just had time to take an hours bus tour around some of the features of the rim.
We watched a whole palette of colour changes as the sun set. The next morning
an early breakfast and we made to set off down the canyon. We were somewhat
concerned that there were notices all over the place warning of the need of at
least two pints of water per person, I had left my bottle in Los Angeles and we couldn’t buy any water or
indeed any food. That is until later in the day.
off. The wide track descended gently, we left in the early cool of a November
morning this being replaced by the gentle warmth of this engorged
desert. As we descended past the various geological strata the path became
somewhat steeper and began a series of long zigzag lengths. We passed two
shelters both with the legend NO WATER. Past a urine soaked mules toilet, and
on to the Indian Gardens, an oasis with accommodation,
log huts, toilets and water. We were now well over half way down the canyon and
on a plateau; this stretched to Plateau Point.
point I wanted to turn back as we were on a fairly tight schedule our flight
was at 5 pm. Chris pooh poohed the Idea and continued
towards the point, (followed with misgivings. We were now traversing a desert
area and it was hot. When we reached the point we looked down 1500 ft. at the Colorado river, we spent a while taking photos: now it
was definitely time to return.
good time, despite my having at one point, left my camera some 500 ft. below
and having to retrieve it. As we reached the rim we found that we had covered
twelve miles and we had descended and ascended some 3000 ft.
The Bright Angel Track that we had ‘trekked’ is used by the mules that take
tourists to the bottom of the canyon and you need to book a year in advance, at
travels, back to Las Vegas, where we had to
spend the night, then next morning on to San
Francisco. A ride on one of the trams that go up and
down those steep switch backs and late dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf. A very
early start next morning, 6 am at the bus station, a short trip to the rail
station, Amtrak to Merced, back on the bus and
away to Yosemite National Park. The weather was again
good to us and the scenery was superb. There was plenty of time to observe El Capitan and the Half Dome, and to walk amongst the
conifers of the valley, but not enough for Chris to find her bouldering area. She did manage to find a small face for
twenty minutes scrambling though. All too soon we had to leave back to San Francisco, and the
next day home. A memorable holiday!
N.B. Although you can book all your flights to the Grand Canyon from this
country we found that you cannot forward book accommodation at the Grand Canyon from here. This you have to do once you are
and then you are reliant
on cancellations. The Fred Harvey company has the GC sewn up tight.
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