Grand Canyon, USA
"Don't tell me how nice it is, tell me how nice it will be when I see it"
Leo Burnett, advertising guru
Advertising is an important part of the tourism business, of course you have to have something to offer too. In the American state of Arizona flows the Colorado River, which has cut deep into the Colorado Plateau, forming a canyon. So what, just an annoyingly long canyon that isn't even the deepest some will say. No, no, and no, it's the Grand Canyon and I'll tell you how nice it will be when you see it. Once you can catch your breath, catching a glimpse of its immensely beautiful landscapes, you'll be in love forever. That's how nice it will be for you, but I won't stop, I will go on.
First off, even though the canyon is about 380 miles long and almost 30 wide in places, it's not that easy to find. The Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1909 for the convenience of hikers and offers everything a person needs, whether they are an extreme sports fan, a scientific expedition enthusiast, or just a hiker come to fill an eye. Grandmothers like to say that the human eye can't get full, but I'm pretty sure they've never been to the Grand Canyon where it can outright overflow. Tourists most often go on organized trips from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, which is 270 miles away, or a 5 hour drive, spend the night in the city that never sleeps, and are in Grand Canyon National Park for that much longer. It's also possible to leave directly from Las Vegas since there is an international airport there as well. Unfortunately though, you can't land an international flight almost to the rim of the canyon. Prices vary according to departure destination and included extras and range from 70 to 350 dollars if you also want a helicopter ride.
The Grand Canyon itself is basically divided into a south rim and a north rim, depending on the season you visit you will be able to visit both rims in the summer and only the south rim in the winter due to ice, snow cover and cold temperatures in the north rim. The south side is also the more visited side, you have to keep in mind that everything is huge there and although you can see the opposite rim, you will need over 4 hours of driving, a tube of gas and patience to go all 320 kilometers and go the other way. The park offers a myriad of fun and interesting experiences, but we'll make the proviso that we don't talk about extreme sports and entertainment, as they require more special training, as well as the need for the people who practice them to know the local regulations. We will only mention that in the Grand Canyon you can practice diving, hiking, mountaineering and wild camping, which is so wild that it is only allowed in certain areas.
Otherwise, for ordinary tourists (like me) who have just come to see one of nature's wonders, admire the dizzying views, get a feel for mother nature and gather material for an unforgettable story, the entertainment starts right on the bus. Most sightseeing tours start in Las Vegas, and just a short drive away is Hoover Dam or better known as the Hoover Dam. Although the dam itself is called Meade, it has taken on a different name, so it is the largest water reservoir in the United States.
I warned you that everything here is huge and the scale is different. You will get used to it. Then it's about a 3-4 hour drive through the desert, and when you arrive there's a welcome center. They of course offer everything from refreshments and food to mascots and souvenirs. After that comes what is called the Grand Canyon free program, which can be anywhere from 3 hours to a full day. Of course this "free program" isn't so free, although you can just sit back have a long and weak American coffee and enjoy the view, you also have the choice of going down the Colorado River on a boat or on an organized guided tour. It's preferable to be in an organized group with a guide, as you're likely to miss a lot of interesting things if you're on your own. It should be noted that the river has a different color during the seasons and may be different each time you visit.
I must warn you that it is imperative that you are well hydrated and dressed appropriately, as the weather there is harsh and can cause some trouble no matter the season. A lot of the tours want you to be sure to wear a hat or they won't let you in. If you paid attention in geography class and remember what a vertical temperature gradient is, you know that the air temperature drops 0.6 degrees for every 100 meters of ascent. Therefore it is possible that at the bottom of the Grand Canyon the temperature is about 25 degrees higher than at the top of the rim, this is due not only to the temperature gradient but to the heated rocks and air movement. The top of the south rim is about 2100 meters above sea level and is famous for having the cleanest air in the USA, the maximum depth to the bottom is 1800 meters.
Since Grand Canyon National Park is located within the protected territory of the Hualapai tribe, if you want to go down to the river, you must get a permit, which will cost you $100. Keep in mind that if you want to ride in a real Indian kayak on the river, reservations must be made at least a month in advance. The canyon is sacred to the tribe and you have to respect their beliefs, they believe that through the river in the canyon the souls of the dead migrate to the afterlife, which won't seem strange if you stand down there and look up at the high cliffs. The view is breathtaking.
Speaking of rocks, and there are plenty of them, it's simply imperative to mention the Grand Canyon's greatest scientific mystery. When geologists examined the earth's layers, they found that the uppermost was about 250 million years old. And here comes the interesting part, just below it is a layer 1.2 billion years old. There is only one missing 950 million years of the Earth's subsurface, where it is, how this phenomenon occurred, no one can say yet.
On the rocky landscape it is possible to see some other pink snake, but dear ladies, since you are known not to tolerate reptiles - do not worry, they are gentle and in the 100-year history of the park there has not been a case of a bitten tourist. However, another is common and there have been many bitten by the most dangerous animal there - that is the rock squirrel. The small and fluffy animals are used to visitors and often beg for food. Getting a nut, the squirrels often bite and this is the most common "injury" in the Grand Canyon. It hasn't been easy, but rock squirrels have earned a reputation as the most dangerous animal in the Colorado River Valley.
For a finale, it's usually the hiking tours that leave the most interesting things. The icing on the cake is located on the west rim of the Grand Canyon and is a glass terrace that extends 30 feet into the canyon, you can literally see under your feet. The floor is glass, and there will be 250 feet of clear air below you before you see the ground. The cost is about $65, but it includes the Hualapai permit, so if you have a permit (ticket) to visit their land, you will also have a ticket for the aerial walk.
Be sure to bring your cameras, a water bottle, a hat with a visor and your good spirits because the Grand Canyon will offer spectacular entertainment and interesting stories. One last friendly tip, don't take anything from there - it is forbidden to take "souvenirs" such as pebbles, plants or other small objects because they belong to nature and should remain hers.