After planning the trip last night, I was glad to see that the weather was looking like playing ball for a trip over the Canyon, a stop off in Page for Fuel and then on to Moab.
There was a warning out that the mountain tops may be obscured by cloud and precipitation, but I could see from the weather reports at the airfields in this area that there wasn’t much cloud up there.
So, I took off a completed another transition of the Phoenix Class Bravo airspace, after which I climbed to my initial enroute altitude of 10,500ft. This worked out perfectly, because it put me nicely above what cloud had built up over the mountain tops. So, I carried on, with the bit of cloud in the end offering a nice change of scenery.
As I approached the Grand Canyon, I got out the map which covers the area and it’s special rules. There’s 4 corridors by which pilots not involved in air tour operations can transverse the Canyon. I crossed today via the Dragon corridor.
The “Grand” in Grand canyon is definitely more the French use of the word, than the Irish. It really is breathtakingly massive. I guess in this case, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Once past the main canyon itself, it was just a quick run up Marble Canyon and into Page. The real surprise about this trip is that the awe didn’t stop with the Grand Canyon, as the trip progressed, it just kept providing more and more spectacles. This is a truly a stunning, if inhospitable, part of the world. There was a few times where the air traffic controller had lost radar contact and it got me thinking, if the pony at the front decides to quit, I’ll be in a world of Bear Grylls, except of course, without some poor unfortunate in the same position lugging a camera around.
Once in Moab, the next trick was figuring out what I was going to do next. I had made no plans or reservations. Once inside the terminal I was greeted by a woman wondering if it was me who’d hired a car. I told her that I hadn’t, but that I may be interested in one. It’s a decent trip in and out of town from the airport. I got a bit of a shock when she told me that she was all out. But, very kindly, she offered me a lift into town. As far as I know, it’s about 40 bucks for a taxi, so she saved me a lot of cash.
She also acted as a guide on the way into town pointing out the spot where the Thelma and Louise car went of the side of the cliff and generally explained the area we were passing on the way into town.
After reaching the hostel it was obvious I was quite a distance away from town, probably about 1.5 to 2 miles and it was getting quite late, so I got checked in a started a trot into town straight away. I wanted to get out and see something outside of town, eventually the only real option I found was a sunset Hummer tour into the surrounding area. This actually proved to be really cool and I got some great views while having a bit of craic experiencing some off roading ability of the Hummer. That thing would climb walls.
Being the sunset tour, we stopped for about a half hour watched the sun set and took in some of the scenery.
I’m not yet sure how I’ll plan for getting back but it looks pretty much like it will be my final flight over here. I’m pretty much there on the hours I require and I’d like to have a bit of a loosening out before heading back to Luxembourg.