Lake Havasu City, Snow Cap Diner and the Grand Canyon | #siantreksamerica
Last night, after indulging in taking hundreds of photos of the gorgeous sunset that decorated the water by our camp, sitting on a bench nearby to listen to the lapping waves. and eating dinner, I sloped off to bed early.
Even though I was worried I would seem rude, I know how important it is that I look after my own wellbeing. Whether that’s grabbing a bit of time to myself here and there, or trying to get a relatively good amount of kip. Thankfully nobody seemed bothered or asked questions about my early night, and some others even did the same. I'm hoping this will be a sign of things to come - especially when the free days in Las Vegas roll around! Is it bad that I'm already looking forward to chilling at the hotel one evening? Oh, the life of being an introvert that doesn't drink, party hard, and likes her bed time!
I let myself wake up around 5am this morning; following waking up a couple of times, and giving up on trying to stay asleep. I could hear the wind shifting the fabric tent around me, as well as various birds tweeting and shuffling around in the dirt outside. It wasn't long until my tent mate awoke, and we chatted about what happened after I went to bed.
I experienced major FOMO once I heard fires were lit and s'mores consumed. I'm always beating myself up about things, but I must remember that it’s just as okay to duck out of something than it is to push through initial reluctance; and that whatever decision I make was the one I needed at the time. I was quickly assured there would be another opportunity for s'mores though, so I'm stoked.
After getting ourselves together, having breakfast, collapsing down our tents and taking a group picture, it was time to head back off. But not before jumping out to take some pictures near the reconstructed London Bridge, over Lake Havasu; an expanse of water constructed just to put the bridge over. Along the way to the Grand Canyon, we also stopped at an Arizona sign, a Walmart and Snow Cap Diner for lunch.
The Snow Cap Diner is undeniably the coolest Diner I've ever been into in my entire life. Whilst admittedly I haven't visited many authentic American diners in my lifetime (instead most of them being chains recreating the experience), the bustling roadside Snow Cap has easily made all others incomparable. Decked top to toe in colour, art and knick-knacks, it's a real shock to the system. Taking in every single Trek leader license, postcard, handwritten letter and photograph was near impossible - but absolutely fascinating. I love it when eateries showcase all sorts of connections to their customers. It's easy to forget how many people have been through an establishment’s door before you when it's not written all over the walls! Following downing my vanilla milkshake and gloriously crispy fries, visiting the equally decorated toilet, and taking some photos along the main street in Seligman, it was Grand Canyon time.
Today I sat in a single seat on the bus. I've been experiencing a lot of socially anxious thoughts during this journey. How sitting in a seat someone else was sitting in yesterday could be taken the wrong way, that my choice of words regarding the leftover bandanas could reflect badly on me - that I am ungrateful as they were not to my taste - that going off to my tent this morning to apply suncream and pack my bag before breakfast was rude or weird, that I should be sleeping like everyone else on the bus, and wondering what they would think about me writing things up on my phone - even though I'm too worried to do it in my notepad in case someone asks me questions about it... I am just glad I can see them for what they are - anxious thoughts, nothing more and nothing less.
When we arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park, we first parked up near the rim. Nik had brought us a bunch of bandanas to put on, as he wanted us to experience the reveal of the view in the most incredible way. Once we were around the corner from the spot he wanted to show us, we popped on our blindfolds, put hands on shoulders, and giggled as strangers took photos of us cautiously waddling.
As we reached the railings, Nik lined us up and told us to wait until we had all got into position. Nothing could have prepared me for the view I was about to see. As the countdown begun, anticipation grew. A quick whip off of the bandana and a couple of blinks to the sunlight revealed a view I am not even sure how to put into words. It was stunning to the point where it didn't even look real. If Aston Kutcher had jumped out yelling "You just got Punk’d!" Before pulling down a piece of fabric the view had been printed on, I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised. I couldn't even take it all in. The various smooth, soaring inclines and jagged edged drops, coloured in warm reds, oranges and yellows went on as far as the eye could see. At this point I didn't think the view could get any better, but I was soon to be proved wrong.
A quick look over the Canyon by foot turned into a forty-five minute escapade across a segment of it by helicopter. I'd never flown in a helicopter before, and was both excited and apprehensive. Flying isn't something that really bothers me at all, but, I would guess like most people, I'm not the biggest fan of turbulence. That feeling that your stomach is going to come out of your mouth and nose isn't the most desirable thing! That being said, it wasn't about to deter me from seeing the Canyon from the skies.
I was very lucky to be sat in the first set of seats for a front row experience. As the helicopter lifted from the ground, some nervous jitters bubbled around in my tummy, but as soon as we begun cruising over the trees my worries dissipated. Flying over the bed of Pine trees was truly quite mesmerising - and that wasn't even the main event. As the helicopter sped across the expanse of green, the music playing over the tannoy system played a range of dramatic music to compliment the gravitas of the event. When we neared the edge of the Canyon, you could hear everyone's giddiness through our headsets, but as soon as the trees fell away (and the initial yelps from the turbulent drop died down) conversation halted.
I have never experienced something so serene as listening to Coldplay's Paradise, a song I had never been particularly fussed about before this point, whilst floating above such a beautiful landscape. Absolutely magical. Our fab pilot gave us some facts and figures along the way, but if I'm honest, I was so encapsulated by the view that everything else just went over my head. Forty-five minutes passed so quickly, and before I knew it, we were passing over the last segment of the Canyon we were seeing on our tour. I'm not sure what happened, but I felt myself become completely overcome by the experience and I started tearing up. Thankfully I was able to keep a hold on it before anyone noticed, but it really was a once in a lifetime experience. We were given some more time to explore the Canyon rim by foot, and then we met up to enjoy takeaway pizza and watch the sun set. Rad.
Feeling completely wiped out, it was time to make a move to our residence for the evening - Cabins! Well, or so we thought... Once we had travelled around thirty minutes or so, Nik sheepishly piped up that he may or may not have accidentally left the trailer filled with our suitcases back at the Canyon... Oops. A U-Turn and a short drive later, we were reunited with the trailer and off we went again.