In these Covid times, it is hard to try and pre-plan almost anything, as situations change rapidly due to new daily government health statistics with a mix of political fear-mongering, public paranoia and a general mis-trust about what is true vs. fake news.
So it was only a few days before my road trip up to the high country that I see if helicopter rides are even being offered around the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. It took some intense searching, but as long as you wear a face covering, are willing to have your temperature taken, and aren’t a complete asshole, one can still take this epic ride.
Another benefit of solo travel, you usually get the best seat. This time that meant I was upfront next to the pilot, with a father and son in the backseats. There really is nothing like that initial feeling when one leaves the ground, the propellers whirling above you…..
We soar over the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in the world as the soundtrack to the the movie Apocalypse Now is playing in our headphones. The music then switches to the theme of the movie Rocky as we get closer and closer the the edge of the canyon.
I’ll never forget the feeling of the forest disappearing as the earth opens up for us to get our initial glimpse of the Grand Canyon from the air.
The Colorado river below is churning with brown rapids from monsoon rains further North in Utah and Colorado, continually carving this Natural Wonder. We also see the little Colorado river that is a stunning turquoise color due to the minerals in rock.
Soon we are over the North Rim, lush with greenery. Out West we head, along the Dragon’s back, then we hit the Hermit’s Rest canyon, where one can find pink rattlesnakes, only known to exist in this location.
Time up here seems to stand still as well as fly quickly by.
Before I know it, the helicopter has returned to the helipad. I remove my face covering to reveal a stupid grin smiling from ear to ear.