Skywalk

IMG_8792The drive from Lake Havasu to Kingman was about an hour and half at most. A very easy drive. We managed to locate a Chipotle and got ourselves some much needed lunch on the day. Interestingly Lake Havasu wasn’t on our agenda until the last minute. I wanted to go to the Havasu Falls but only to find out it is deep in the midst of the Grand Canyon. That became out of the question due to lack of time and preparation. We halted at Kingman so that we could drive to Grand Canyon West rim the next day. The West rim is now known of the skywalk – which is a transparent floor hosted 4000 feet about the canyon’s floor. Much researching on the ‘net uncovered that we need to drive till about 4 or so miles until the skywalk. This was right in the land owned by the Hualapai tribe. Unlike the South rim, being on private land had it own challenges – first of all the ticket prices were unreasonably high. We had to shell out $80 per head for a visit to the skywalk with lunch. Comparatively, you can visit the entire South rim for an entry fee of $25 per vehicle. A full day’s worth of fun at the Disney Land is $96!! There are a lot of arguments on the internet whether or not the visit is worth it. Also read about poor customer care from the tribe’s staff at the ticket counters. In addition, the biggest challenge was the dirt road one has to drive through that stretches about 14 miles. High up in the mountains, driving on a slippery surface with sheer drop offs was something I wasn’t comfortable. But we decided to go ahead. I recalled our driving experience on Mount Mouna Kea in Hawaii which was certainly a nerve wracking one to be remembered for my life.

IMG_8931The next morning, after some breakfast, it took us about 3 hours to drive to the West rim’s ticket counters housed in a expedition-type tent. Luckily for us, the dirt road wasn’t anymore – they had recently paved it and boy was I relieved! There were so many photo opportunities along the way. Driving through the cacti-filled desert land that then got peppered with Joshua trees reminded us of our drives in the California desert.

Once you buy the tickets – we came across some confusing signs to the counters, you take a bus to visit three spots in the west rim. The first stop was the Ranch, but we wanted to do the sky walk first. Being a Saturday, there were a lot of vacationers happily clicking away and posing to selfies and their cameras. The wait wasn’t too long. By-the-way, you cannot take a camera or a smartphone onto the skywalk. You have to go through a metal detector so forget about cheating through. I was wondering if Google Glass was a good trick to use! Stepping onto the transparent skywalk is unsettling at first. Intuitively, I grabbed onto the side rails despite knowing that the platform was strong enough to support 71 loaded Boeing aircrafts or a 8.0 magnitude earthquake.  It takes a while to get used to the hollow below staring at you ready to gobble you up. The entry proudly announces that the structure was designed in Germany – a pity America could not do it itself!

IMG_8928Since you can’t take cameras aboard the skywalk, you can expect photographers wanting to do the same as long as you are willing to pay some eighty dollars for a set of seven or so!! We passed the offer up and it took us about 15 minutes to be back to hard ground. All things said and done, the skywalk is a marvel of engineering and is worth a visit in one’s lifetime.

The Eagle point where you look upon the canyon’s Eagle like formation and the Hualapai ranch completed the three stop tour. Since you are in the middle of nowhere, it is a good idea to get lunch here which of course is pricey, but what isn’t here. A gallon of gas is five dollars. It seems the Hualapai are making up money for all they lost in the past; in this instance it is the poor travelers and not the government.

The drive back to Kingman was smooth and we grabbed some pizza for lack of much choice to our liking in the city. A thin-crust pizza with lots of vegetables and marina sauce can be better food than some fast food anytime.

 

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