The 7th day of our trip to the USA has come, and today we will go from Las Vegas to see one of the most unique and beautiful places on Earth – the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, we have very little time for inspection, but we will try to see at least something. On the way to the canyon, we will pass through the Hoover Dam – also a rather grandiose structure, only created not by nature, but by the hands of ordinary American workers.
01. Finally leaving Las Vegas. It seems like we sat here for 3 days, but there is nothing to say about the city … Besides, I’m pretty tired of it. It is somehow plastic and not real. Like a Chinese garland. I don’t think we will return here again.
02. We looked at the map, it’s like it’s not a long drive from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam, but on the way it turned out that we would have to drive for 2 hours! That’s how deceiving distances in the United States are.
03. Arizona has very nice license plates. By the way, it’s a cool idea when each state has its own numbers. I would have introduced this in Russia. Imagine what beautiful rooms Karelia could have or, for example, in the Altai Territory.
04. We approach the Colorado River, which will be practically the protagonist of these travel notes.
05. Armed police are standing at the entrance to the Hoover Dam, stopping every car and checking to see if you are carrying anything prohibited. On the one hand, the police communicate punctually (“Do you mind if I open the trunk?”), And on the other, their tone makes it clear that if they wish, they will put you face-to-face on the hot Nevada asphalt without any doubts.
06. And the size of the dam is really amazing! At one time, it became the largest dam in the world and the largest human structure.
07. Why was it built? It’s simple, the Colorado River, which was blocked by the Hoover Dam, was filled with melt water from the mountains every spring. Overflowing, it destroyed the fields on its way and flooded the huts of ordinary Americans. And in California, meanwhile, the issue of the lack of drinking water was very acute. It was these two problems that they hoped to solve with the help of the construction of the dam (spoiler: and they succeeded).
08. The most amazing thing in this story is that for the construction of the dam, the direction of the Colorado River was actually changed! In the adjoining canyon, workers literally dug 4 long tunnels with their own hands, through which they let water in while they were building the dam itself.
09. Working conditions at that time were very difficult. After all, America has never seen such a large-scale construction in such a short time. People worked without days off and holidays, 7 days a week.
Those who dug the tunnels were practically in hellish conditions. Inside, the temperature reached 60 degrees Celsius, and even the ice buckets that were provided to the workers did not help. In addition, there was absolutely no ventilation in the confined space and carbon monoxide from the cars operating there constantly accumulated in the tunnels.
10. Those who worked outside were also not sweet. They had to use a jackhammer to remove loose stones from the canyon walls, working without belay.
Often, a chipped piece of rock fell directly on a fellow shift. But there was no choice at that time, because the Great Depression was in the yard, and the construction of the dam provided several thousand jobs that were so lacking.
11. Officially, 96 workers died during the construction of the Hoover Dam. Although it is not known how many more received disabilities and various kinds of diseases, from carbon monoxide poisoning, for example. Ultimately, the Americans managed to tame the great Colorado River. And now ubiquitous tourists take pictures here with pleasure 🙂
12. And the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona passes through the Hoover Dam. And when crossing the border, the time automatically increases by one hour! Don’t forget this.
13. Many photographs show a bright strip of light along the coastline. Americans call it “bath rim”. It indicates the water level that the Colorado River reached in 1983 due to heavy rains. While this surface was under water, mineral salts were actively deposited there, hence the color.
14. Some crazy people rented a convertible car in the 40-degree heat! The main rule of life is – if you don’t want to look stupid, never rent a convertible.
15. There are such large fans prudently, cooling small spaces around. The temperature here, of course, is lower than in Death Valley, but still it is better not to go out into open spaces without water and a hat.
16. And we go further, from the border of the two states straight to Arizona, where, perhaps, the main wonder of the United States is located – the Grand Canyon.
17. But be careful when driving in the USA! After all, a deer that suddenly ran out can easily block your way. Such a meeting at night is especially dangerous, and since there is such a sign, then only you will be to blame.
18. Golf courses are ubiquitous in the United States, about as common as we have soccer boxes in our yards.
19. An amazing change of natural zones: a desert with rare vegetation and a blazing sun somehow imperceptibly turned into coniferous forests stretching to the horizon.
20. This is what the entrance to national parks looks like. You stop at the ranger booth, show the pass and enter the park. If you do not have a pass, then buy it right there, from the ranger (all prices are indicated before entering). If you are going to visit several parks, then it is more profitable to buy an annual pass at once for $ 80. It will pay off quickly, and after the trip you can sell it for half the price.
21. Just got out of the car, and we were immediately met by a local resident.
22. The sight is, of course, bewitching! As soon as you approach the edge of the canyon, speech is lost. It seems that you expect to see something big and grandiose, but not so much.
23. It is difficult to imagine that only some 5-6 million years ago there was a plain, along which our old friend, the Colorado River, slowly flowed. This is where the saying “Water wears away a stone” can be seen in action.
24. The second thing that strikes after the size is the variety of colors. The canyon, depending on the time of day and weather conditions, is colored orange, yellow, pink, purple and even blue.
25. Nowadays all kinds of helicopter excursions are conducted along the Grand Canyon, the cost of which starts from $ 200 and can go up to several thousand dollars. Previously, you could buy a regular flight ticket and enjoy the bird’s eye view of the canyon. The pilots deliberately laid out such a route and performed the “eights” in the air so that passengers could see the best views of the canyon. However, after a plane crash in 1956, when two planes collided in the air over the Grand Canyon and killed 128 people, flights to the area were banned.
26. And somewhere down there, the Colorado River continues its work.
27. And perhaps most importantly: The Grand Canyon is the place to explore the history of the Earth! After all, each strip on the “walls” of the canyon is sedimentary rocks from the corresponding geological era. Or, to put it simply, the remains of animals and plants from those prehistoric times. Most of the visible layers correspond to the Paleozoic, the era that gave birth to our ancestors – the first creatures with a kind of spine. Also, during the Paleozoic, the land first began to be populated: first by plants, and then by primitive animals, which later evolved into the ancestors of dinosaurs and mammals by the end of the Paleozoic. We all know how events developed in the future.
In general, along the Grand Canyon, you can see a time era from 270 million years old to 1.8 billion years BC. Impressive, isn’t it?
28. Travel between the main points of the canyon is carried out by free buses. The system is the same in the rest of the US national parks.
29. In general, of course, the infrastructure of the parks is very well done and thought out, which allows enjoying the wonders of the local nature not only for the young and strong, but also for those who have difficulties with movement.
30. We hurry to see the sunset!
31. But in a hurry we got lost and wandered into a square dotted with telescopes and amateur astronomers. Overall, Arizona and the surrounding states are ideal for observing space. And if you like to photograph the starry sky, then you will not find a better place either.
32. Still, having chosen from a maze of telescopes and telescopes, we went to the observation deck to catch the last rays of the sun.
33. There is nowhere for an apple to fall, someone is trying to catch the best shot, and someone is located nearby with a pizza and just admires the magnificent view.
34. The sun went down very quickly.
35. Someone threw a coin down, a condor ate it and died. So don’t throw coins!
36. It’s dark, and it’s time for us to go and check into a hotel in the town of Flagstaff. We spent only 3 hours in the Grand Canyon, did not really see anything and did not go through a single trail … Of course, this is a crime against nature and common sense, but, unfortunately, we had only a day to explore the Grand Canyon, and we have a lot of time spent on the move.
See you soon, Grand Canyon!
37. Eh, sorry, the store is closed, otherwise I would have bought myself a couple of cowboy hats.
38. Checked into a motel. It turned out to be that adventure … At first there was no one at the reception for a long time, then an Indian came out with strange crippled hands and hardly asked what I wanted. I explained to him that I had booked accommodation through Booking.com, and, they say, here is my reservation in the mobile application.
He didn’t understand.
I made 2 more attempts, after which it became clear that he simply did not understand what I was saying. In the end, he handed me an iPhone with the owner of the motel on the line, with whom I had already agreed to check in.
The room itself turned out to be what the rich and spoiled tourists call “bedbugs”, only it was a bedbug in the literal sense of the word. Usually Mexican drug dealers hide from their colleagues in such rooms, who are still found and killed by morning.
But the strangest thing is that for some reason we booked a hotel at the Circus-Circus casino in Las Vegas, to which I vowed never to return this morning. Why we did this is not clear … Okay, let’s see, maybe this time I’ll find something catchy in Las Vegas.
PS The Grand Canyon is really Grand! It’s worth flying across the floor of the planet for this. The main thing is to set aside time and spend a couple of days in the Canyon, and not leave, like us, in 3 hours. But there will be a reason to come back and correct your mistake 🙂
Travel notes from USA travel: