Monday, December 04, 2006

The Grand Canyon Like You’ve Never Seen It

The majestic canyon in my pictures undoubtedly looks familiar to you, even if you’ve never been to northern Arizona. Take a closer look, because there are a few things missing: the crowds, the traffic, and the guard rails. Visit the Hualapai Nation’s West Rim, and you’ll experience the Grand Canyon in a whole new way.
This rugged, untamed portion of the canyon is a sacred place to the Indians who’ve lived there for a thousand years. My family and I were fascinated by the spectacular, unsullied serenity of the West Rim. I kept asking my husband and son, “Can you step back a little?” Acrophobics, be forewarned. We watched eagles drifting on thermals below us. At Guano Point, ravens staked out the restaurant, as common a pigeons but much larger. Four thousand feet below, at the bottom of the canyon, the Colorado River snaked past. I could have spent all day just soaking up the view.

Visit the West Rim’s official site:
for more information. You’ve probably heard about the Skywalk Project, certain to be a heart-stopper when its completed, but that’s not all the West Rim has to offer. If you’re dying to put your SUV through its paces, this is the place. Take US93 over Hoover Dam and look for the billboard at Dolan Springs. Follow the signs to find the dirt road that traverses a massive Joshua Tree forest. Bluffs that look like props from a Western supply the background. Before you know it, you’ll be facing the panoramic red cliffs of the Grand Canyon.

Tour packages begin at $29.00; private vehicles are not allowed. Check their web site for more information about accommodations and tour packages.

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