ARIZONA

One chilly morning of November, I woke up at 5 AM. I do not want to be late on this day to see some big stuff. After I took a hot shower, I went out and walked up to the tourist pick up station in one of the hotel along Vegas Strip. I’m a little excited. I picked up some breakfast and coffee in a convenience store near the gasoline station along the way. When I arrived at the hotel lobby, there were a lot of tourists also waiting for their tour buses. My bus arrived after few minutes of waiting , and my excitement grew as I stepped inside the bus. But it took another half an hour for our bus to go out of Paradise as they picked up other guests for the tour. Good thing that our tour guide was a funny, entertaining guy. Once you get inside the bus, you will never get bored. So, the whole day trip was indeed good and grand.

By the way, I only got a couple of days in Vegas. That is why I decided to head out on the second day for a safer bet of a good time. A pair of technological aces just 56 km to the southeast work together in an unbeatable sightseeing on a grandest scale – the venerable Hoover Dam and its dazzling companion, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. I imported this aerial shot below just to illustrate the colossal beauty of the country’s engineering landmarks.

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An aerial view shows the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and the Hoover Dam in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. (Source: ryantransportation.com)

The Hoover Dam is, by any account, a spectacular engineering level of art. From an architectural standpoint, the curvilinear arch construction is beautiful. A National Historic Landmark, it is the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere, standing at more than 725 feet above the Colorado River.  Hoover Dam is a hyper-functional piece of sculpture. With the dam turbines, the water generates low-cost hydroelectric power for use in Nevada, Arizona and California. About 4 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, enough for 500,000 homes, are generated annually.

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Once known as Boulder Dam, Hoover Dam was built between 1931 and 1936 on the border between Arizona and Nevada.

“ To think that engineers carved out space in Mars-like Black Canyon, backed off the mighty Colorado river, then built the biggest concrete structure known to man … well, that would be a huge project in any era. But knowing this was built during the Depression leaves you simply astonished.”

When I was planning my US trip, I really wanted to visit Zion National Park. However, circumstances changed, I did not push through with my plans, and go to wherever the road takes me. Thus, I am so happy when my friend told me that we will be going to Vegas. I hurriedly look online for some discounted deals to see the canyons. Something is better than nothing. 😉

I booked the Grand Canyon West Rim Tour simply because I only had a day to explore the region. It is much closer than the South Rim. Grand Canyon West is about 190 km from Las Vegas versus almost 563 km to the Grand Canyon South Rim.

Vast and majestically beautiful, the Grand Canyon is one of the US – and the world’s – most recognizable landmarks. It stretches 466 km long, up to 29 km. Red, rocky walls descend more than a 6,000 feet to the canyon’s floor, where a majestic Colorado River carves out a raging southwest course.

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Breathtaking view of the Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon West is owned by Hualapai Indian Tribe (pronounced Wall-uh-pie). The Hualapai Reservation, established in 1883 comprises about 405 thousand hectares and extends from the west corridor of the Grand Canyon to the small town of Peach Springs, Arizona located on Historic Route 66.

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Eagle Rock at Eagle Point on the west rim, aptly named for its shape, is considered sacred by the Hualapai Indians.

 

 

 

 

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