As we finished gambling at the MGM Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, the excitement came into mind that tomorrow I would be able to cross another thing off my bucket list: The Grand Canyon. Being a tourist pit-stop through the state of Arizona, it was only a 12 hour bus ride away...or at least that is what I thought. When I had booked Las Vegas as a surprise gift for our eight year anniversary, I knew that one of the days would be set aside to visit the Grand Canyon. However, I did not know that Thomas had a little surprise of his own once we got there.
With the camera charged and ready to go we waited in the MGM parking lot to be picked up. As a limo picked us up with other individuals already inside, we all were excited to share the Grand Canyon adventure. I felt that spark of luxury. My mind thinking "oh no big deal...just getting picked up in my limo to my helicopter that awaits us". Once we got to the landing pad site and signed away our lives, we waited with two other couples who would be joining us in the helicopter. Our pilot called out our number and away we went. Thomas and I sat behind the pilot and put on those giant headphones to be able to communicate to everyone. As our helicopter took off smoothly, the pilot began to tell us all about Nevada, Arizona and the Grand Canyon. He went into detail about the Hoover Dam and told us that we would be flying over the dam shortly.
After we flew over the massive concrete wall, we continued our journey to the Grand Canyon. This was also the point I began to realize that I may get sick on helicopter rides…. my stomach began to twist and turn as the aircraft continued to have a small shaking feeling. At one point, I remember telling Thomas on the intercom, not realizing I was speaking to everyone, that I was going to throw up. The response to my statement was not from Thomas but from the pilot who told me that there was a bag available if needed. I went quiet with embarrassment...
As we began to fly over the Grand Canyon, my body forgot that I was feeling sick but moreover, turned its perspective on the amazement of what was just underneath us. We had arrived!!! The sunlight hit the deep carved hole at the perfect time as shades of sandy oranges and reds went on for miles. As the helicopter began to descend into the canyon, the pilot stated that our picnic style lunch (wine included!) would be eaten while sitting in the middle of the Grand Canyon.
Once we had our photo opportunities with our beautiful surroundings and had some time to relax, the pilot stated that it was time to head back. After a so far perfect day, the older couple who had been sitting in the front of the helicopter asked us if we wanted to sit in the front on the way back as the shaking was less. I declined in politeness but the man insisted, stating that he was a pilot himself and they both had their fair share of flights. Thomas and I hopped into the front with the pilot and away we went. The way back was spectacular as the sunlight began to descend away from the canyon and the shades of colour diminished. When we saw the Las Vegas strip in the distance, we noticed the bright lights sparkling in the middle of a desert. It was only mid-day; however, the lights still sparkled between the gigantic hotels. Our helicopter turned towards the north side of the strip and headed straight over the massive hotels. Thomas and I felt that we lucked out with front row seats to an amazing end in our adventure. When we arrived back to our hotel room, we both looked at each other and knew that the experience was worth any ‘backpacker dime’ but also worth that extra check mark on my bucket list.