To paraphrase Julius Caesar, “I went, I saw, I walked”…the Grand Canyon West Skywalk, that is. When a friend suggested a few weeks ago that I check it out, I pulled up a few pictures and my response was, “Oh, hell no!” You see, I’ve had a fear of heights for years that I’ve learned to manage but a few remnants still remain. The Skywalk protrudes 70 feet from the canyon wall and is 4,000 feet above the Colorado River, so no, I was NOT walking it! After toying with the idea for a few days, though, and refusing to allow fear to stop me, I decided to give it a try. If you haven’t seen it, check out the pictures here.
On my way to the Canyon, I stopped off in Dolan Springs, AZ, for a bottle of water and ended up talking with an honorary sister of the Hualapai, on whose reservation Grand Canyon West is located, and her version of the Skywalk’s history was quite different from what I’d read. After listening to her story, I was very conflicted about buying the $32 Skywalk ticket. Then, to make my decision even more difficult, I learned that I wouldn’t be allowed to take my camera on the Skywalk.
I purchased a ticket for the Grand Canyon but not the Skywalk. After taking pictures of the canyon, however, seeing the Skywalk up close and personal, and not wanting to be chicken, I bought my ticket, locked my purse and camera in one of the complimentary lockers, put on my shoe covers, and headed to the Skywalk.
“Oh, I got this,” I thought as I approached the entrance, right before my knees started knocking. I paused a moment, looked out, and stepped across the threshold anyway. I walked along the rail initially but finally managed to walk across, then along, the clear glass walkway. “Yay, me, I did it! I’m skywalking!!”
Photographers were out there, too, of course, and were taking pictures of everyone, except me. I don’t know why they ignored me; maybe I didn’t fit the profile, or maybe I did. Or maybe it was that I didn’t look interested, and I really wasn’t but that’s beside the point. So, not to be ignored, I went back for my photo session.
I was happy to learn this morning that the Hualapai Tribal Council reinstated its eminent domain law yesterday and voted to ban the Skywalk developer from the reservation. But the developer is already planning his appeal.
When I returned to Vegas from the Grand Canyon, it was dark so I had the chance to see the city that never sleeps in full attire; from the freeway, the entire valley was illuminated. And the buildings, they’re something out of a fantasy!
I’d planned to stay at one of the big casino hotels but when I arrived, I changed my mind when I had trouble finding a place to park. So, I consulted my phone apps and found a smaller hotel with a smaller “gambling hall.” I didn’t do all things Vegas while there but I did play my slots, got a long-overdue massage at Desert Sanctuary, visited Indian Springs (where I played more slots), and experienced Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk.
My original plan was to leave the driving to one of the Grand Canyon tours but I was having such a hard time purchasing the ticket the day before that I never did. Good thing I didn’t because it was very windy and unusually cold for Las Vegas the day of the tour, and I wouldn’t have gone. Since I was scheduled to leave the next day, I figured I’d missed my chance but after being depressed about it all evening, I decided to stay in Vegas another night and drive to the Canyon myself, which was better because I’d be on my schedule. The tour would’ve left at 6:30 a.m., stopped at Hoover Dam, and returned to Vegas at 6:30 p.m. Twelve hours is much too long to be held hostage by a bus tour, and visiting places you’ve already seen!
It was a great day and a fabulous visit but if you’re planning to drive to Grand Canyon West, be prepared for the roughest stretch of dirt road I have ever driven in my life, and I grew up driving dirt roads!