Tuesday 22 November 2011

The Grand Canyon-Thrilling Tour by Helicopter

Helicopter Tour Grand Canyon,USA
Helicopter At The Ranch, Grand Canyon,USA
The tour of the Grand Canyon-flight to Grand Canyon, Skywalk, Helicopter Flight over ,around and to the bottom of the Canyon, barbecue lunch ,pontoon jet boat ride on the Colorado-is one of  the most thrilling experiences and a top tourist attraction. It has made The Grand Canyon a top destination in the US. The drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon passes by the  Hoover Dam which is also on the way. 
Hoover Dam Tour, USA
Hoover Dam, USA
Enroute to the Ranch there is a stop at an airport where each one of  passengers are weighed and handed a boarding pass with strict instructions not to change the seats as that would affect the balance of the helicopter. Also if passenger weighs more than 128Kg then  2 tickets have to be purchased. The Hoover Dam is about an hour's drive on US93 from Las Vegas. The tour guides cum driver are very well informed -mostly ex army with tour guide training-and keep up an interesting and humorous commentary  about everything that  can be seen on the road -cars,roads,road signs, weather, tress I think nothing is spared and it is all extremely interesting.
Hoover dam ,USA
Hoover Dam,USA
Built across the Colorado at Black Canyon, the Hoover Dam is located at the boundary between Arizona and Nevada states. It was built between 1931-35 to basically control floods, provide irrigation and generate hydroelectric power. I suppose it served its purpose although some ecological issues arose for about 4 to 5 years ,the time it took Lake Mead to get full and stabilize .Lake Mead was the lake formed by constructing the Dam. 
Western Ranch,Grand Canyon, USA
Ranch At Grand Canyon, USA
After Hoover Dam we were back on the road and after about 3 hours reached a Western Ranch set in among the hills surrounding the Grand Canyon. 

Ancient Joshua Tree,USA
Ancient Joshua Tree-Grand Canyon, USA
On the way was shown a 90 years old Joshua tree. We had no means to confirm the age of the tree but it did look ancient.
The Grand Canyon ranch had a real 1800s look about it and we were told that real outlaws once hid in the same ranch. Lunch was a old-western style meal consisting of roast chicken with chunks of bread and salad eaten on wooden plates with wooden cutlery. 
Cowboy Entertainment at Ranch,Grand Canyon,USA
Cowboys At Grand Canyon, USA
Real cowboys went about with their antics to entertain us with skits and songs. We were also treated to a gunfight show  in which 3 outlaws inside a bar were shot by the Marshals. It was actually quite fast and "Sudden" if you remember the old paperbacks which we used to read in school.
Red Indian Tent,tipis at grand Canyon,USA
Tipis, Grand Canyon,USA
There was a wagon and some tipis around which we explored while waiting our turn for the Helicopter ride. We also tried to perfect the skill of lassoing a wooden cow .

Wagon at ranch,Grand canyon, USA
Wagon,Grand Canyon,USA
The inside of the wagon was quite luxurious and the journeys were probably not as difficult as it seems today.

Wagon Interiors, Grand Canyon, USA
Wagon Interiors, Grand Canyon,USA
The wind being very strong, the helicopters were landing and taking off very carefully and the flights were getting delayed and passengers were drifting towards the Diamond bar.Soon our flight was announced and were boarded a Horse Drawn Wagon to go to the Heliport.
Horse Drawn Wagon,Grand Canyon, USA
Horse Drawan Wagon,Grand Canyon,USA
The helicopter came slowly  and strted hovering 20 ft above the helipad. The stong wind was making it swing from side to side and the thought of flying in that machine  was frightening. 

Helicopter Descent,Grand canyon, USA
Helicopter Descent, Grand Canyon, USA
But it descended extremely slowly over almost 5 minutes and as it came down the swinging stopped and it settled very gently on the "H" mark. We quickly boarded and took our pre-allotted seats.The helicopter took off gently and after gaining height started moving towards the Canyon. 
Helicopter View of Grand Canyon,USA
Helicopter View, Grand Canyon, USA
It was moving very slowly and the pilot was perfect and seemed to be a part of the machine ,expertly responding to the gusts of wind which were pushing the craft around. As the helicopter neared the Canyon the ground seemed to fall away and we were 6000 ft high above the Colorado river.The Grand Canyon is one of the 7 wonders of the world and the patterns on the sides tell the geological history of the area over 500 million years.
Geological History of Grand Canyon,USA
Geological History,Grand Canyon, USA
 Since the wind was strong the pilot did not enter the Canyon .On normal days he goes down about 2000 feet into the Canyon. The vegetation on the two sides is totally different, probably because the duration of  the sunlight falling on each side is different.

2 Sides of Grand Canyon,USA
2 Sides of Grand Canyon,USA
After flying for about one and half hours during which the pilot kept up a steady description of each and everything around it was time to head back and an extremely thrilling experience was coming to an end.
Helicopter Pilot at Grand Canyon, USA
The Helicopter Pilot, Grand Canyon, USA
The Helicopter turned around and headed towards the ranch and we could see it growing in size slowly as the helicopter approached.
Helicopter View of Western ranch at Grand Canyon,USA
The Ranch From The Air, Grand Canyon,USA
Inside Helicopter at Grand Canyon, USA
Inside Helicopter 
The landing was almost like a feather coming down and  the Horse wagon took us back to our Car. 
The guide took us on a tour of a nearby Joshua forest and explained how the Red Indians put the tree to 105 uses. Three hours later we were back at the Paris Hotel and the Las Vegas STRIP.

Inside Helicopter at Grand Canyon, USA
Inside Helicopter

Inside Helicopter


  1. The helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon is very famous. Someone actually had the innovative idea to propose to his girlfriend while in flight with champagne and roses.

  2. I have avoided the reverential approach, have tried to see him as the normal man he was, with his fair share, perhaps more than his fair share, of human frailties. It was this base metal which, in the marvelous alchemy of the spiritual journey, became transmuted into gold.

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