ENTERING THE GRAND CANYON, USA
Although the path less travelled is usually more appealing and exciting, sometimes it fucking rocks to slip on your khaki shorts and velcro double-strap sandals and follow every other Vegas tourist in boarding an expensive, but highly comfortable six-person chopper to fly through, and land within, the Grand Canyon.
The weather outside was desert-like, ironically enough, 34 degrees celsius, uncomfortably humid and close to no breaths of wind. The waiting room, whilst air-conditioned, was encompassed by an overwhelming number of cameras securely fastened to either the wrist and/or neck. Eventually, we were ushered inside one of three identical choppers, departing in such a systematically synchronised way you couldn’t help but feel like the only thing missing was Kenny Loggins ‘Danger Zone’ playing through your headphones. Instead, the Star Wars theme song was deemed appropriate.
In the air, beneath the muffled sounds of the rotor blade, an incredible sense of vertical superiority and surprising calmness crept in. The view was breathtakingly serene. Alongside, the enormity of the rock walls rose up as we gradually descended to ground level. There, we walked around, engulfed in the entirety of the canyon in a space of essential nothingness. Cameras flashed, couples laughed at non-existent jokes, champagne popped and, unsurprisingly, the Australians drank the most. There, engulfed in the entirety of the Grand Canyon, we all stood still, for there wasn’t much left to do but gaze in awe.
Our time up, we boarded and rose out the canyon quicker than we’d arrived. As we continued back toward civilisation, the sunset swamped the exaggerated lights that were Las Vegas ahead. Beneath, the rugged, empty terrain continued into the distance. And, whilst I’ll always wonder what could’ve been had I put that five-hundred-dollars on black, I’ll rest easy knowing I instead drank cheap champagne in the enormity of the Grand Canyon having just arrived by helicopter.