West Rim of the Grand Canyon with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Heading for the Hualapai Indian Nation at the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, we stop to see the Joshua trees.

Joshua trees

These unusual trees are relatively fast growing, for the desert.   During the first 10 years, they may grow 3 inches per year.   Joshua trees are found in the southwestern desert of the United States.   We reach the Hualapai Indian Nation land.   Our car must stay in the parking lot.   Entering the building, part restaurant, part gift shop and where we decide which package to purchase.   We want to fly into the Grand Canyon.   Really moms?   Yes they mean it.   We are inside the helicopter.

We’re inside helicopter

Humans have ridden in helicopters before, but this is a first for Zeb and Soapy.   We are flying!

Flying low and approaching Grand Canyon

Flying low and approaching the canyon.   Wow!   We are in the Grand Canyon.

Colorado River in Grand Canyon

We are below the canyon rim.   The Colorado River continues flowing and adding more depth to the Grand Canyon.   Isn’t this beautiful?

Colorado River cutting the Grand Canyon

We love flying here, seeing the Colorado River and the canyon wall.   But, all things must end.

Soapy’s mom and a park employee.  With Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Soapy’s mom and an employee are holding us by our helicopter.   Next we visit the Skywalk.   As we approach, we see this employee trying to prevent humans from falling into the Grand Canyon.

This employee try to prevent humans from falling into the Grand Canyon. No guardrails here

You will notice there are no guard rails here.    OK moms.   What is the Skywalk?   Oh.   We are going on that walkway that has nothing under it?

The Skywalk

We will be able to look down, through our feet, and see the canyon bottom 4,000 feet below us.   OK.  Let’s enter the building, which is also a museum with gift shop.   But now we are going on the Skywalk.

This is the way

We cannot take purses, cameras, phones or any personal items.   Our stuff goes into the lockers.   Mom did get one photo looking out before we put all our things in the locker.

On the Skywalk

We walk on the glass type floor.   The Skywalk is horseshoe shaped, and 20 feet from the side of the canyon.   Nothing but air between us and the floor of the canyon, 4,000 feet down.   Soapy’s mom saw something red on the ground.   The employee said it was a red umbrella.   Sure looked small.   The floor is slightly opaque on each side and clear in the middle.   Some humans are a little frightened, but we loved the Skywalk.   Professional photographers take our photos.   They suggest poses that relax the humans.   If you are near the West Rim, visit the Skywalk and maybe take a helicopter ride.   It is great.   Remember, this is the Hualapai Nation land, so National Park passes are not accepted here.   This portion of the Grand Canyon is managed and controlled by the Hualapai Nation, not US National Park Service.   Just pay for it and enjoy the experience.   We did.   Next we rode the shuttle bus to Guano Point.   Yes that is an usual name.   Guano does mean poop.   At one time bat poop, or bat guano was mined here.   The guano, rich in nitrogen, is used for fertilizer.   However, it was too expensive to mine and produce fertilizer.   This seating area was convenient if you wanted o purchase a snack or beverage.

Seating while having a snack at Guano Point

A large crow is also enjoying the area.   Humans and ducks can walk around on the rocks here.

Guano Point

You can see more humans on the rocks.   As always, we are in awe of the Grand Canyon.

Guano Point

The size and beauty are incredible.   We hope you visit the Grand Canyon soon.   We loved the South Rim and now we love the West Rim.

Grand Canyon Hiking with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Let’s do some hiking today.   At Grand Canyon National Park there are so many opportunities to hike.   And so many great trails for our enjoyment.   Before we start down Bright Angel Trail, we visit two historical buildings in the immediate area.   First we enter Kolb Studio, built in 1904.

Kolb Studio built in 1904

This was the Victorian home and photography studio of the Kolb brothers, Emery and Ellsworth.  They were pioneer photographers and filmmakers.   Inside the studio today, you will find part gift shop, part museum and part movie theater (where you can watch their film that played continuously for 61 years).   Be sure to walk on the decks and balconies for fabulous views of the Grand Canyon.  Nearby is Lookout Studio.

Lookout Studio

For many years there was rivalry and mean competition between the two studios.   Lookout Studio was designed by famous architect, Mary Colter.   Lookout Studio was meant to blend into the walls of the canyon.   The studio does appear like part of the canon wall.   She also designed the building at Hermit’s Rest that we showed you last time.   Be sure to visit both studios.   Please take time to fully appreciate the views of the Grand Canyon from each studio.

View from Lookout Studio

We loved to sit and look for a long time.   After an ice cream snack, we are ready to hike Bright Angel Trail.   This trail descends 4,500 feet (1360 meters) in 7.8 miles (12.6 km) to the Colorado River.  Bright Angel is the most traveled trail in Grand Canyon National Park.     This is where we are going.

Bright Angel Trail from studio

We are not going to hike the entire distance, but we will hike part of the trail.   We soon go through this arch.

Archway on Bright Angel Trail

You can see, the canyon walls are steep.

Steep wall of Grand Canyon

Further down the trail, we look up to see Kolb Studio.

Kolb Studio from the trail

We were there, and moms, we have to hike back up out of the canyon and reach Kolb Studio again.   Of course we did it.   We are not still in the canyon.   We enjoyed the hike and the views looking into the canyon and the views looking up, out of the canyon, are beautiful.   We would love to see your Grand Canyon photos also.   Back to the top of the canyon, we take the shuttle bus to Pima Point.   Leaving the shuttle bus, we again hike a section of the South Rim.   We will hike 1 mile or 1.6 km to Hermit’s Rest.   Hermit’s Rest is the end of the South Rim trail.   There are many stops for us to gaze at and admire the beauty of the Grand Canyon.   Five or six million years ago, the Colorado River cut through the rock and carved the Grand Canyon.   Here is the Colorado River, still changing the landscape of this canyon.

Colorado River cutting the canyon even deeper

However the geology of this canyon tells of a time when the tectonic plates moved slowly across the earth’s surface.   Some rock at the bottom of the canyon is almost two billion years old.   Each time we stop we are in awe of the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.

Every view is magnificent

Continuing along the South Rim Trail, we reach Hermit’s Rest.

Hiked to the end of Rim Trail. Arriving at Hermit’s Rest

And one of the official greeters is here enjoying a snack.

Elk, Official Greeter at Hermit’s Rest

Tonight we ride the shuttle bus back to Maswik Lodge for dinner.   The humans had Navajo tacos and spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread.   We ducks also liked the dinner.   While visiting The Grand Canyon, sampling food at the various lodges and shops is also fun.   There are many things to see and do here.   You can come for a few hours and see the canyon or you can stay for weeks and never be bored.   This is a great place.

Colorado’s Interstate 70

Zeb the Duck here and today I want to tell you about one of our highways.  I-70 crosses Colorado, east to west.  This highway has earned the “Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.”

First, let’s talk about the Eisenhower and Johnson tunnels.  These two tunnels are 11,158 feet above sea level and go under US 6 and the Continental Divide.  The tunnels are 1.69 miles long.  They are the highest and longest mountain tunnels in the US interstate system.  These tunnels are well lit, ventilated and video monitored at all times.

Driving west, under the Continental Divide

Driving west, under the Continental Divide

This is the westbound entrance.  Still lots of high mountains on top of the tunnels.

Now let’s talk about Glenwood Canyon.  Glenwood Canyon is beautiful,

Glenwood Canyon

Glenwood Canyon

with the Colorado River and Union Pacific Railroad.  This was the last section of I-70 to be completed.  The 2 eastbound lanes of I-70 extend cantilevered over the Colorado River.  The westbound lanes are suspended on a viaduct several feet above the canyon floor.   This allowed a 4 lane interstate highway to be constructed through the canyon with minimal changes to the beautiful Glenwood Canyon.

Highway from the rest area

Highway from the rest area

The rest areas in these 12 miles are beautiful.  The are located on the banks of the Colorado River, with picnic tables and hiking trails. There is no stopping on the highway, so photos just didn’t happen.

Glenwood Canyon and Colorado River

Glenwood Canyon and Colorado River from rest area

Video cameras and real people constantly monitor this section of I-70.

Colorado, like every mountain state has provisions for runaway trucks.  These are trucks with failed brakes.  This is a runaway truck ramp.

Runaway truck ramp on I-70

One of many runaway truck ramps on I-70

The truck drives up this mountain to reduce speed.  The middle of the ramp is deep, loose gravel and there are barrels at the end of the runaway ramp.  Often trucks will be on these ramps.  These ramps save lives in Colorado and elsewhere.

Here are some other photos from I-70.  If you are driving through Colorado on this road, you will see small towns,

Georgetown, Colorado from I-70

Georgetown, Colorado from I-70

mountains, and even the ski slopes of Vail, Copper Mountain and Beaver Creek.  If you are driving through in your car or truck, passing through in your motorhome or cruising on your motorcycle, you will see some beautiful scenery.  Our mountains are beautiful, the rivers are clear and refreshing and if you are east of Denver, the prairie and ranch land is also beautiful.  There is a lot of wildlife in Colorado, so deer, elk and moose will see you and you may see them also.

If you have time, stop to hike, fish, zip line, kayak or raft.  We have so much to offer you, but if you cannot stop, you will still enjoy your scenic drive across Colorado.

Mountains from I-70

Mountains from I-70