Monday, June 14, 2010


I had a feeling that I would want to do something "outdoorsy" when we went to Vegas. I am just not a flashy, glitter kind of girl. I am not a party girl by any means, nor do I get into the gambling scene. (I could easily with the slots, but knowing how hard I worked for that money, I would rather not just throw it away :) Basically, I am a boring kind of girl. And I am okay with that.

I immediately started searching the Trip Advisor board for information on outdoor activities and tours. Mark had to work on Friday (attending a convention), so my thought was that I would find something to do for that time period. Most tours I found were for ALL day, and I didn't want to be gone that long. I finally found a tour called Bighorn Wild West Tours that I could take that would take me by Hoover Dam and to the West side of the Grand Canyon; I had never seen the Grand Canyon. That sounded exactly like what I wanted. None of the tours I researched were "cheap" by my standards but since it was just going to be me, I thought a little splurge wouldn't hurt.

I told Mark about my plans and showed him the website. He then decided we really needed to do it together. I think it was the idea of riding around in a hummer that piqued his interest. :)So he called and made arrangements for a tour for Saturday. Suddenly it was a pretty big splurge. However, out of all of the things we had planned, that was by far the one I most looked forward to.

We got up VERY early on Saturday morning and waited for the Hummer (and guide) to show up. There are a lot of entrances to the hotels around Vegas, and apparently we were waiting at the wrong one. However, our guide Marie found us anyway, right on time. We headed out for our tour. The weather was slightly cool (which is completely opposite of what I had been told to expect in Vegas) and very cloudy. In fact, it kept trying to sprinkle on us, another rare event in Vegas. Our first landmark was the famous Hoover Dam. This was my first time to see it. We didn't stop but I did get a picture. After we had passed over the Dam and driven a while longer, we stopped at Rosie's for some breakfast. It was a classic cafe/diner set up. It was a fun way to start our morning. As we drove on to the Grand Canyon, the clouds increased until it was raining. I think for Vegas it was raining pretty hard. I had visions that our day would be a bust; flash floods are an issue in that area. (We had just seen the devastation of the flash floods in Arkansas at the campground on the news...very sad. :() I managed to take some pictures of the Joshua tree "forest" along the way when it wasn't raining.

Finally after a long, windy ride (beautiful views), we arrived at Grand Canyon West which is located on an Indian nation. We had to park the Hummer and ride on a big bus to our first stop, Eagle Point.
Here is Eagle Point. Like I said, I had never seen the Grand Canyon. I realize there is a lot more to see. But for a first taste, this was perfect. It was more than I could ever imagine. Pictures and video do not do it justice...
Looking down at the Colorado River. Our travel guide Marie said that it actually has a red tint for the summer, but for today it was brown.
Mark takes in the views. There were no guard rails of any kind. We kept laughing because Mark walked right up to the edge, while if our kids had been there, he wouldn't have let them near it...
Isn't it gorgeous?

The reason it is called Eagle Point? If you look at the rock formation in the middle, it looks like an Eagle. It is hard to tell in this picture, but it really does. I am going to have to go back to watch the movie Fools Rush In with Matthew Perry because it was filmed near this; you can see that eagle in the movie!
Someone was trying to be funny...
Just another shot. Trust me, I narrowed down the pictures. I took over 280 that day...

Our tour guide took this picture of us. You can see the Eagle well in this one, right behind us. I cannot say enough good things about our tour guide. She knew her stuff. She had lots of information to share and was fun to talk to. We also appreciated how she gave us time to ourselves, but was right there to share or help if needed.

In this picture, you can see the Skywalk which is a glass bottom "bridge" that extends 70 feet out over the Canyon. We chose not to walk it (it cost quite a bit to do); I had read enough reviews to decide it wasn't worth it. We had the same views for less money. In pictures, it looks like it is way out there, but in reality, it really wasn't.

After we had spent enough time taking it all in, we walked around the "Indian village" which showcased different Native American homes. The whole time I was thinking, "Hunter would LOVE this." It was fun and interesting.
Afterward, a few Native Americans (Navajos I think) showed us some traditional dances. It was fun to watch, even though it was a bit chilly. We watched, then we were invited to participate. Mark got to be a warrior. I got to wrap up in a blanket. It was very welcome since it was so cool out there. Oh, and we had rain "spit" on us a few times, but most of the time, we were under this opening in the clouds. Our tour guide pointed out it was like there was a break in the clouds just for us.

After we left Eagle Point, we traveled via bus to Guano Point. It was even more beautiful.

The views were just incredible.
There is another view of the Colorado.
We saw lizards but thankfully NO snakes. It did cross my mind every time I stepped. (We also saw a mule deer and some antelope during our travels)

I am always astounded that in the very dry conditions, surrounded by rocks, a little color grows...

More pics...
The reason this is named Guano Point, several years ago, money (3 million dollars) was invested to mine guano in a cave way out on in the Canyon. An elaborate pulley system was set up to "mine" the guano (bat droppings) to be used in fertilizer, make up, and explosives. Here is one part of the pulley system. I cannot fathom how it must have worked going across the Canyon. I cannot imagine how or why anyone would have gone out is REALLY far to fall!
That last picture was taken from the top of this "rock pile" we scrambled up.
Here Mark is standing next to a plant that I should remember the name has a sweetness to it. Kind of like a sugar cane. (I was told that, I didn't try to eat it)
A view from another "rock pile".
Mark took this picture. Would have been MUCH cooler had it been an eagle or a hawk, but still cool, nonetheless. :)
More Joshua tree pictures...
We ate lunch at a "ranch" on the reservation. The lunch was good. The cool part though was Norman. Remember Norman? He was the baby calf born in the movie City Slickers. This is Norman several years later. You can tell by his face.

Mark and a Joshua tree...By the way, touching them is like touching a cactus.
On the way back, the traffic by Hoover Dam was backed up. It gave me plenty of photo ops. We also stopped at one point where we could get out and take pictures like this. I had no idea how very tall the dam was! Here is looking out over the Colorado from the Dam. The white line on the rocks shows how very high the water has been before.
More cool parts of the dam...
This picture shows the new bypass being built (taken from the top of the dam itself). Eventually, all traffic will go over it, not the dam. The new bridge is REALLY high above the river.

An "us" picture
The rest of the trip back to the hotel was very pleasant. We learned so much about the area from our guide Marie. I don't typically "advertise" on here, but I give a big thumbs up to Bighorn Tours and Marie. Thank you so much for the memories!
More to come...


  1. Im so glad yall did this! Its definately an experience and one I am thankful we had the opportunity to share! And when you talk to others who have also been no words have to be said because they know lke you do that no words or pictures can describe the absolute vastness of it!! YAY!! you can check that one off the list!! :)

  2. Your trip looks really crammed it all in and saw everything! Glad you were able to sneak away for a few days.


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