Day Twenty, Las Vegas / The Grand Canyon

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I had to get up at 5am this morning, it was grim but I hoped the Grand Canyon would be worth the early morning. The tour bus was late, by about fifteen minutes. I rued that those extra minutes could’ve been spent sleeping. The driver was friendly and funny so it made up for it. I slept for the first hour or so, I was happy that the seat next to me was free so I could stretch out. I woke up to him giving facts about the Vegas’ illustrous history.

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We stopped at the Hoover Dam, I’m not sure if it was the angle we were at or the fact that the water levels are really low but it’s small. Way smaller than i expected. It’s cool to have seen it but it isn’t worth going out of your way for.

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Another stop our tour guide gave us was at the beginning of Route 66, the mother road. That was cool and it was clear that this small town greatly benefits from tourists. Everyone was scrambling trying to take pictures during on 15 minute stop. It’s part of the American Dream though isn’t it? To drive off into the sunset along Route 66. Maybe when I finally learn how to drive then I’ll ride it.

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The drive was very scenic, the flora like nothing I’ve seen before. Weeping silver barked trees, cacti, Joshua Trees. The plants started to subside the closer we got to the Canyon. I was so excited to see it, our tour guide gave us a gealth warning similar to the one I got at Yosemite. We were thousands of feet in the air so there was less oxygen in the air. Though my Canyon was kinder in giving us 2 and a half hours to walk the 2.5 mile hike from Mathers to Bright Angel Lodge. There is obviously alot more to hike if desired but we were unlikely to do anymore in that time frame. He warned us there were three main areas that people took photos from and try not to get stuck there. He also told us to stick to the paths which I tried to initially. Alongside the rugged canyon side there is a tarmac path for accessibility reasons which was great to see.

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The Grand Canyon is overwhelming and amazing. It’s like staring into the night sky and seeing more the longer you look. The initial viewing points that stuck out a little in the Canyon were terribly packed with people, there were railings and steps and though I stayed there a while I much preferred being in my own company once I had left them behind. I took so many photos, the stone with varying bands of colour.

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It really does feel like a spiritual place, I would be very happy returning. It was a different kind of beauty than what I’ve seen before. I realise I’m describing both too much and too little but it’s astounding.

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The hike was easy going, I could see others enjoying and reflecting on the view. It was almost meditative as I could focus on little else. I did ignore the rules and moved within a few feet of the edge. I wasn’t stupid enough to go right to the edge but it was so europhic, feeling on top of the world.

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An older couple said hi and asked if I was Canadian on account of being so pale. I have had to tell so many people that my skin is tanned compared to my usual paleness. It always ends with them laughing at my expense. I walked alongside the couple for the last twenty minutes of my hike. We talked to one another about why we had came here.

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When I got to the Bright Angel Lodge the Sun was shining down deep into the valley, warming my skin. Remembering that the tour guide recommended the ice cream, I got a great big scoop of it whilst I sat on a little wall taking it in as much as I could before I had to return to the coach.

There isn’t much to talk about the journey back, I read an entire Hunger Games Book and was unreasonably emotional over it. When the coach arrived in Vegas I felt heavy with sadness, would I be able to have the chance to see it again. I want to do so much but I simply can’t. When I returned to the hotel I watched some TV to try and distract myself from how I was feeling. I fell asleep surprisingly easy.

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