PLANE, BUS, SKYWALK, HUALAPAI TRIBE, & GRUB
Grand Canyon Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
January 19th, 2008 – by: mellemel8
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a tourist attraction along the Colorado River on the edge of the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon West) in the U.S. state of Arizona.
Commissioned by the Hualapai Indian tribe, it was unveiled March 20, 2007, and opened to the general public on March 28, 2007. It is accessed via the Grand Canyon West terminal or 120 miles (190 km) drive from Las Vegas (which includes an unpaved and bumpy 14 miles (23 km) stretch). A walk on the skywalk is available for a twenty five dollar admission fee, payable to the Hualapai Indian tribe at the Skywalk itself.
The horseshoe-shaped glass walkway, at a 1,200 meter (4,000 ft) height above the floor of the canyon exceeds those of the world's largest skyscrapers.
Skywalk protrudes 20 meters (65 ft) beyond the edge of the canyon. The walls and floor are built from glass 10.2 cm (4 inches) thick. The glass on both edges of the floor is tinted and can be used as a "safe zone" by scared visitors. The Skywalk is capable of holding 70 tons of weight (the equivalent of 800 people weighing 80 kg (175 lb.) each), however the permitted capacity is limited to 120 persons. Visitors are provided with shoe covers to protect them from slipping and to prevent the glass floor from being scratched.
Construction began in March 2004. It was rolled onto the edge of the canyon on March 7, 2007 after passing several days of testing to replicate weather, strength and endurance conditions of its final destination. The structure was built to withstand up to 100 mph (160 km/h) winds and a magnitude 8 earthquake. Tuned mass dampers were used to minimize vibration from wind and pedestrians.
Cornerstone of a larger plan
According to Hualapai officials, the cost of the Skywalk alone will exceed $40 million. Future plans for the Grand Canyon Skywalk complex include a museum, movie theater, VIP lounge, gift shop, and several restaurants including a high-end restaurant called The Skywalk Café where visitors will be able to dine outdoors at the canyon's rim.
The tribe partnered with businessman David Jin to raise the money for the project.
No Cameras Allowed
Many visitors have complained about the unusual rule that no cameras are permitted on the skywalk. The tribe claims that this is to protect the glass from being scratched, while critics believe that this is more to preserve their ability to sell postcards and other stock images.
The Hualapai (also spelled Walapai) are a tribe of Native Americans who live in the mountains of northwestern Arizona, United States. The name is derived from "hwal," the Yuman word for pine, "Hualapai" meaning "people of the tall pine". Their traditional territory is a 100 mile (160 km) stretch along the pine-clad southern side of the Grand Canyon with the tribal capital located at Peach Springs.
This is where the place we are having lunch. During the 1950's and 60's bat guano (dung) was mined from a cave across the canyon and trammed backed on cables. Rich in nitrate it was used for the production of makeup, fertilizer and explosives.
NOTE: THE GUANO BAT POOP IS THE MAIN INGREDIENT OF MASCARA.....HMMMMMM I AM GLAD I DON'T WEAR MAKE UP :P
Lunch is served here and you are able to dine at picnic tables outside under a large tarp. It was comforting to see the natives and workers also eating the same meals.
I went hiking down where the guano mines cable car. this is where the scene from "THELMA AND LOUISE" when they drove off the cliff. the cars they used for the film are still down the shaft.
Here we were able to do some hiking and discovery. By far, this was the highlight of the tour and provided many perspectives of both solitude and natural appreciation of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. As with the other sites, caution should be exercised as no fencing or railing is provided along the paths.
There were also many vendors offering handmade Hualapai Indian jewelry and art for sale. The prices seemed reasonable but are negotiable.
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