The fourth day in the US, the first morning in Vegas and we had a visit to the Grand Canyon planned on that day. Still jet-lagged, we got up before six, which on this particular day was a good thing. We got our hotel breakfast at Starbucks and drove east. We had about five-hour drive to Grand Canyon in front of us but we thought we would stop at the Hoover Dam first. As we were driving we saw a beautiful lake on our right and made a detour there as well.
Lake Mead lies on Colorado River and is formed by the Hoover Dam. It’s the largest reservoir in the US and serves water to people in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Lake Mead Recreational Area is part of the National Park Services and provides many opportunities to swim, fish, boat, hike, and explore the nature. The recreation area is mostly desert with two big lakes formed by dams. It’s unusual and beautiful place.
We had just a short break at Boulder Beach on our way to Hoover Dam but we asked a ranger for recommendations. Next day, on our way to Zion we made a detour and visited the most beautiful place in Lake Mead Recreational Area.
Boulder Dam, finished in 1936, was later renamed after American President Herbert Hoover. The dam was a solution to yearly floods from Colorado River. It was built over five years, and at the time when it was finished, it was the tallest dam in the world. Even though it’s not the tallest dam in the world anymore, it still attracts many tourists. Yearly, nearly a million people visit Hoover Dam, to take pictures of this magnificent human-made structure. Through the center of the dam goes the border between Arizona and Nevada. So, on each side of the dam, you are in a different time zone.
Blazing sun, desert climate, and our packed schedule gave us only about 30 minutes on the dam. The dam is colossal, almost unbelievable construction. Especially, if you considered it was built more than eighty years ago and who difficult it must have been for thousands of people to work in this inhospitable desert. At the same time, it was terrifying when I imagined the amount of water it holds.
We finally arrived in Grand Canyon more than six hours after we left Las Vegas. After consulting our friends who already visited the canyon, we decided to go to a more famous and more visited South Rim.
We peeked to the canyon from Mather Point. The canyon is huge, and no picture can make it justice. You need to see it to witness and fully appreciate its vastness and grandeur.
People working in national parks all over the US were the kindest and most enthusiastic people I have met. At Lake Mead, we got a week pass to that single park. A lady at the entrance to the Grand Canyon explained to us, it would be cheaper to get an annual pass. She went above and beyond to find a way to reimburse us for the pass we bought at Lake Mead.
In the Grand Canyon, we witnessed kids taking an oath. In the oath, the kids promised to a ranger that they will explore the Grand Canyon and other national parks, will help to protect them, will love and take care of nature, animals and the planet Earth. It was the cutest thing to see.
To get back to Vegas took us five hours and driving that day was the longest we ever did. Every hour or so, the scenery around us changed. At some parts the land was lifeless, in others, it was exciting, beautiful and breathtaking.