01 Jun Experiencing The Grand Canyon (Like A Bada**)
I want to start by saying that this trip was before I became a photographer so the photos were only done with an iPhone but hopefully I can still share my story with the experience I had to convey the excitement and emotion I was feeling.
In September 2014 my Mum and I took a trip to LA and Vegas for a couple of weeks to mainly let me experience the wonderland that is Las Vegas. I’m not going to share my whole trip, just one of the really exciting bits which was experiencing the full glory of The Grand Canyon.
The journey started with us being picked up in a black van and taken to the airport where we met up with the team from Maverick Helicopters who were getting us ready to take to the skies for what was looking to be an amazing adventure. After watching a couple of little videos about the tour, we got called out onto the tarmac where we met our helicopter and pilot for the day. With a few shots around the helicopter done, we jumped in and firmly planted on our helmets.
The way the helicopter was designed, there was only enough space in the front for two people and the pilot so when we got asked who wanted to sit in the front, my hand shot straight up.
Taking off and watching the ground just start to fall away as you start seeing more and more of Vegas you get this feeling of amazement because seeing a city in the desert like this from above is different to anything else you’ve seen. I do just want to mention that flying in helicopters is my favourite form of air transportation (that keeps you in the air rather than falling out of the sky like skydiving, which is a story for another blog post) so from the point of stepping into this chopper and being able to see the ground below me because the windscreen wrapped around so much, was exciting.
Flying out over the city we got to see so much that then suddenly turned into desert. It was fascinating to be able to go from this huge shimmering jewel to sand and rocks that spanned for miles and miles. As we’re cruising above the Nevada desert I’m just in awe of such an amazing arid landscape that I knew I would soon turn into a huge break in the earth and a natural wonder of the world. The 45 minute flight out there felt like it was about 5 as just watching the landscape around was amazing.
As we get closer to the Grand Canyon, we head over to the Hoover Dam that was completed in 1936 and impounds the largest reservoir in the US, Lake Mead. The see from the air it looks small but as we slightly dripped in altitude around it we got to understand its large size, and the ant-sized tourists walking around on it too.
Flying away from the dam we headed to our landing point which too about 10 minutes. This landing was very different though, as we were starting to fly inside the walls of The Grand Canyon the pilot turns on music which is the James Bond theme tune! I’ve never felt anymore like a badass super spy than I did flying into the Grand Canyon in the front seat of a helicopter making sharp turns to get to the landing zone with 007 theme tune blaring in our headphones! As you can probably guess I’ve got a very big smile on my face while thinking, and writing about this. Plus it’s given the James Bond movies tunes a whole new meaning and memory attached to it whenever I watch them.
Once we had landed, I was content to just stay there for a while with this huge grin on my face but we still had to fly back. We did stay on the ground for about 20 minutes getting to explore and just admire the grander of mother natures creations with the canyon and the Colorado river. After that we jumped in and this time we took the backseat and let the other family on the flight with us take the front seat.
Halfway back we made a quick fuel stop at a random little cleared are the help company own to top up the tanks before we made our way back to the airport. But wait, there’s more. We couldn’t just end the trip by going straight back and landing, no, we did a flyover of The Strip which gave a whole new perspective for how the city works, plus its amazing views to see.
Once we did that, we headed back to the airport and got ready to head back to the hotel. I would have to say that flying inside the Grand Canyon in the front seat of a helicopter with 007 blaring would have to have been the highlight of my trip, especially because I’m a movie buff. Overall though, the entire trip was fantastic and I had so many great experiences, I just had to share this one.
Have you been to Vegas or even experienced this same sort of trip? Let me know with a comment below.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Maverick Helicopters for the experience and everything ran so smoothly. I encourage anyone who is looking to head to Vegas or already planning a trip there, check them out here and do the trip, it will be an experience you couldn’t get anywhere else.