Tuesday (11th March 2014):
We had a list of tours to choose from and we settled for the Canyon Float and the Hoover Dam tour.
First up: The Canyon Float!
Mini Ketchup and Tabasco.
After a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, BACON, pork sausages, croissants, muffins, pastries and the like, we rushed to the meeting point where the tour bus was at.
The drive to the Hoover Dam, where we will be hopping on to the raft at the foot of the dam, took roughly 30 minutes. Along the way, we passed Bolder Dam City which is the only town in the state of Nevada where gambling is not allowed. The town was developed back in the 1930s for the workers who were building the dam.
The area where we boarded the raft was within a restricted area assigned by the government since 9/11. We had to pass through strict security checks before we could enter. The tour guide said that we were lucky enough to be able to go on this tour because we wouldn’t have been able to if we were on our own. Only one company is allowed to bring visitors into this restricted area.
It was a long and winding road down to the foot of the dam.
Two rafts, each with a capacity of 60 people, were waiting for us.
Our tour guide and driver of the motorised raft that day was Jerry. He looked like a typical ol’ grandpa with a good sense of humour. After briefing us on some safety raft rules which were nothing more than making sure that we didn’t fall off the raft, we were off to cruise down the Colorado River.
Before that, Jerry steered nearer towards the dam so that we could take our DAM pictures (HAAAAA!). He also explained the many different parts of the dam and how the water flowed to generate electricity.
The Colorado River within the Black canyon is located at the state line between Nevada and Arizona. From the picture, the right side would be the state of Nevada and the left would be the state of Arizona. Black volcanic rocks are found throughout the area, hence the name Black Canyon.
As we cruised along the Colorado River, Jerry shared many interesting facts about the Black Canyon and pointed out some wildlife/livestock that were unique to the canyon. We were asked to spot the Bighorn sheep which is the state animal of Nevada. They are usually seen hopping up the slopes and edges of the canyon and grazing on the scarce vegetation. They are so good at what they do that they can even out run mountain lions and coyotes. Sadly, we didn’t manage to spot any of them.
There are several hot springs along the Nevada side of the canyon. He brought us to one of them where the hot spring water was flowing out from a rock (above picture). He explained that the water from the hot spring flows through magma beneath the surface of the Earth, causing temperatures to reach about 120 degrees F whereas the rest of the Colorado River is constantly at 52 degrees F.
We stopped at one of the popular rest stops within the canyon to savour our lunch that was packed in cooler bags.
We hiked to a spot where we had the best view (almost) of the canyon.
Wrap, crisps, cookies, apple and a bottle of ice cold water!
We settled down, making sure we were not near any holes or burrows for they may house poisonous snakes or lizards.
Honestly, with a view like that, it was one of the best lunches I’ve had……EVER!
That rock sitting on the edge is known as the “Dangerous Rock”, not knowing when it will eventually roll down to hit something or someone. After lunch, we continued on for about 1 mile. We passed through the last rapids of the canyon known as the Ring Bull Rapids before the Canyon ride came to an end.
Came back to the hotel and rested for a bit before deciding to put in an evening run along The Strip! All the way from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere tower! It was pretty tough maneuvering through the crowd. Still, it was an awesome experience!
Your turn to move, move, MOVE IT!