Okay, so you’ve read quite a bit about my trip to Las Vegas with Travel Nevada (not to be confused with my trip to Las Vegas with my girlfriends a month before — I told you, I’m an addict!) I ziplined Boulder Canyon, I visited a winery, I saw a Cirque show, I toured a brothel and I hit 100mph in a $100,000 car. But I’ve saved the very absolute best for last.
A helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.
For my twenty-third birthday I took a trip to Nevada, and on the last day I visited The Grand Canyon via a long, long bus ride from Las Vegas. While I was indeed awe-struck peeking into that great chasm in the earth, I felt like the trip was almost a tease in some way. The Grand Canyon is just so impossibly vast, peeking in over one of the rims is just not enough to begin to comprehend it. I needed something more.
And that is where Papillon Helicopters comes in.
After a quick drive from the Las Vegas Strip to the launchpad in Boulder City, we were onboard and ready for takeoff. This was my third helicopter ride and thus far I’d had great luck with the random seat assignments — in The Big Island in Hawaii I nabbed a window seat, and over the Vegas Strip I was riding shotgun. So I crossed my fingers that the random weight distribution algorithm would once again work in my favor — and it did!
While I was in the backseat I was still at a window. And with my face pressed against the thick glass, that was all I needed.
Passing over an arid stretch of desert, we approached Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. Having seen the Hoover Dam on my Grand Canyon bus tour years before, I had to conclude it was infinitely more impressive from the air. And Lake Mead! Suddenly I was planning return trips to try out all the boating, diving, and swimming the turquoise lake has to offer.
Between my iPhone, my GoPro, and my dSLR, I was in a frenzy trying to capture even a fraction of the beauty of the geological gems below.
Confession time: Despite how often I’m at the airport, I’m occasionally plagued by a small dose of fear of flying. Approaching Lake Mead we hit a bump of turbulence and suddenly, it was one of those times. I felt my stomach drop and I was done. I wanted out of that ‘copter. I started to feel so panicked I didn’t know how I’d enjoy the main event — that canyon we were rapidly approaching.
My insides were in knots and my outsides were coated in nervous sweat as we approached the rim. “It will all be over soon,” I was telling myself, which is not exactly the kind of thing one wants to think while checking off a bucket list item.
And then, suddenly, we were there — soaring over one of the great wonders of the world, a sight so majestic that people come from all over this planet just to gaze upon it. And you know what? Something magical happened. I was so awestruck there was just no more room in my psyche for fear. My anxiety just melted away.
One moment that really brought the experience into perspective was spotting the Grand Canyon Skywalk that I had visited on my first Canyon trip two years before. I remember thinking at the time how on the Skywalk I was jutted out into the middle of the canyon, so far from solid ground. At the time, it felt enormous. From the air, the Skywalk looked like a speck in comparison to the vastness stretching in every direction. The aerial view was just overwhelming.
Flying back into Boulder City, I knew I’d now seen The Grand Canyon in a truly fitting fashion. For a jaw-dropping wonder, you’re going to need a jaw-dropping ride. I’d had both.
Have 90 seconds? You can come along with me. Even better, add it to your own bucket list. You will never regret it, turbulence and all.
And with that, another fabulous trip to Nevada comes to a close!
I can’t quite imagine a better note to end on.
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Many thanks to Travel Nevada for hosting me and showing me a new side of Nevada. As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.