A big highlight of my recent trip to Las Vegas has flying over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and landing in the Grand Canyon where a little champagne picnic awaited us.
I’m a bit of a nervous small plane person having flown over the Grand Canyon many years ago in a single engine plane. Soon into the flight I noticed the fuel gauge was on zero and with no way of communicating with the pilot I spend the next 40 minutes fretting imagining the family was doomed.
When we landed he told me the fuel gauge was broken. I could have strangled him!
However, this trip was different. When we arrived at Grand Canyon Helicopters it was mandatory to watch a safety video before a briefing which gave me huge confidence.
Not long into our flight we are over the Hoover Dam, built during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. It borders Arizona and Nevada and was built to tame the Colorado River and provide water and hydro-power.
As a result of the dam, Lake Mead was created. It is a much bigger lake than I’d imagined sprawling as far as the eye can see with a shoreline of 1,221 kilometres.
The lake has not reached full capacity since 1983 due to a combination of drought and increased water demands yet still provides water for Arizona, Nevada and California – nearly 20 million people and large areas of farmland.
Thanks to one the local tribes we were able to land in the canyon, have a wander around and enjoy our champagne picnic. I was amazed at the colour of the Colorado River. It is rich with silt making it a very thick viscous liquid, nothing like I had imagined.
The 2,330 kilometre Colorado River starts on the Rocky Mountains before passing through the Grand Canyon and eventually finding its way to the ocean between Baja California and Sonara in Mexico.
If you are in Nevada or Arizona take the opportunity and jump into a chopper and go and see first-hand, one of the great wonders of the world.