on May 5, 2008
When the lights and sounds of Vegas gets to be too much, renting a car and heading to points unknown isn’t difficult. If you want to spend a whole day away from Sin City, Grand Canyon West is less than 3 hours away – plus, you get to traverse the Hoover Dam on the way, walking over it, jumping from Arizona to Nevada in a single bound, etc. If you’re really dedicated, you can call in advance and arrange a whole tour of the Dam. In addition, you'll get to drive through the Joshua Tree Forest, and those trees are really unique.Since March of 2007, there’s a new reason to make the trek to the Grand Canyon. If marveling at a massive striated hole in the ground isn’t enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, now you can marvel at it while you’re standing on a glass bridge that lets you look into the cavernous depths. It’s called Skywalk, and it’s the new thrill-inducing way of seeing Grand Canyon West. You’ll pay a bit of a price, though. It’ll cost you $20 just to park your rental car at the Grand Canyon airport, which also serves as the visitors center for skywalk. There is then a $29.95 fee to enter on to the Hualapai land, giving you access to both Eagle Point (where the rock has the shape of a flying eagle) and Guano Point (yes, it’s named after bad dung, which was “mined” from the location.) That fee will let you look at the Skywalk, but if you want to actually step on the Skywalk, that’ll run you another $29.95. But heck, you’d loose that in the tables in an hour on the Strip, isn’t it better to actually spend it on something?Skywalk has some limitations to be aware of. If you’re looking forward to the perfect photo from Skywalk, you’ll have to buy one, because no cameras (or anything that can be dropped over the edge, cell phones, wallets, etc.) aren’t allowed – they’ll give you a locker for your droppable belongings. They will, however, allow you to have as many photos taken of you on the Skywalk as you’d like to pose for. The problem with that, in my opinion, is that they’re constantly asking people to get out of the way of the wide-angle lens. Good for those in the photo, bad for those on the bridge. You can stay on the Skywalk for as long as you’d like, however, and style the little paper booties that they give you. I figure the paper booties serve two purposes. First, shoes don’t scratch the glass and keep it pristine for the rest of the visitors, and second, we dust and clean it off as we walk. I will say that the walking on glass suspended 700 feet over the canyon is a bit daunting at first. Silly me, I stayed on the side of the bridge for a while (which is still glass, just not see through, duh) but eventually got brave enough to walk over the clear glass and look down.The gift shop has lots of “I did it!” paraphernalia for you to buy, and I think such an experience deserves a souvenir.
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