After my early night I managed to wake up quite refreshed at 5am. Got to my tour bus pick up in plenty of time, and after trying to get on the wrong coach several times (too many tours at the same time with no signs) I eventually got on the right one.
Our tour guide Jodi was lovely. Funny, knowledgeable, organised. We stopped off in Boulder City for breakfast at a little family diner that had adorable mugs.
Then a trip out to the canyon. On the way Jodi gave us lots of information about the towns we were going through, about what would happen when we got there and about some of the wildlife and flora we might come across.
There’s this bush which has a protective mechanism that shoots thorns at you if you touch it, or even get too close. These thorns spread out inside your skin so you can’t just pull em out.
There’s a spider moth thingy that will land on its prey, sting them with a 7cm stinger to paralyse them then climb inside them through the hole and eat them from the inside out.
There were snakes and scorpions and spiders – all with poisonous versions. And don’t forget the possibility of coyotes, cougars, wolves, etc.
Then there’s the canyon itself. If you visit north or south rim, that’s federal land. There are guardrails round the rim, which people climb round and fall down the 4000ft drop. There are over 250 falls a year from those two rims. But we were going to the west rim, which is Indian land. Hualapai Indians to be precise. They figured that if they put up rails people would just climb round them, so they didn’t bother. And they’ve had no falls. Ever.
Incidentally, because my trip was west rim, and not government land, it wasn’t affected by this stupid government shutdown. Thankfully.
So, evil bushes, vicious spider moth things, poisonous creatures, a 4000ft drop. Guess how many I encountered.
None. So how did I end up with this?
I tripped over in the fricking gravel! First thing I did when I got there. I took a picture of the eagle in this rock formation…
… I turn round to find the loo and THUD! I’m on the floor. My ankle gave out under me and I’m panicking that I’ve screwed it up. Jodi was right there checking on me, and one of the security dudes had come over, and it took me a minute or two to notice the blood on my leg. They move me to a bench, and the security guys calls for a first aid kit. Which, in the middle of nowhere, meant the reservation’s ambulance.
I was a wee bit humiliated, but relieved that my ankle seemed to be okay. So once they’d cleaned me up, I went on the rest of my trip. First up I went on Skywalk, which is this thing (not my pictures)…
I couldn’t take pictures on it because you aren’t allowed to take anything on. Within three months of it opening a few years ago they found over a million drinks bottles in the canyon below. And people were dropping cameras and either chipping the glass walkway, or they were dropping them over the edge and suing. So now you have to leave all belongings in a locker at the entrance. They do have a guy who takes pictures of you, that you can buy for $30 each, but I skipped that.
I wasn’t on there for long. We only had a limited time at the canyon, I’d used some up with my accident, I hadn’t had lunch yet, and the queue to get on the thing took forever. But it was pretty impressive. I’m not afraid of heights, but standing there on glass looking down at a four thousand foot drop was a little bit intimidating. It’s an unparalleled view of the canyon.
Here are some other pictures I took that day…
By the time I’d been through the gift shop…
…my ankle was starting to hurt quite a bit. All afternoon my knee had been stinging, but my ankle had seemed okay. Within twenty minutes of being back on the coach I could feel it swelling, so much that the top of my trainer was digging in. Not good.
We got back to Vegas safely. Although at one point I nearly killed Jodi. She announced to the coach that there was someone celebrating their birthday alone in Vegas and made them all sing happy birthday to me. Between that and being the girl that fell over, I was a minor celebrity on the coach.
Once I was safely ensconced my hotel room, I took stock of my injuries. My knee was one big graze, and lots of tiny little ones. And my ankle was seriously swollen, and really hurt. I’ve fallen on it over a dozen times, and there’s a certain type of pain that makes me call an ambulance. It’s a blinding, I’m-going-to-pass-out pain that flashes through me as I trip. I didn’t get that this time, so I wasn’t overly concerned, but it definitely needed rest. I decided to cancel my plans for the next day and stay in with my ankle up.
I’m getting really good at this unique souvenir thing.