The days are winding down now, with today being our last real day of this Broventure (tomorrow we make the long arduous trek from Las Vegas back to Santa Barbara). Our agenda is simple: go see the Grand Canyon and stop at the Hoover Dam.
It’s raining this morning, naturally, and a weather front is coming in behind us. This wouldn’t be much of an issue, except we have to back-track our way from Flagstaff to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It would seem that we cannot escape the rain.
As we entered the park, the familiar sight of dark clouds welcomed us, giving us a hint that the Great Chasm we were about to see would be a soggy affair. Talking to the ranger at the gate only further solidified this understanding, as we were warned that the view of the canyon was obstructed by fog, and that no refunds were being given (not that it mattered, since we had a National Park annual pass).
The news was a bit deflating though, as both Tim and I had never seen the Grand Canyon before, and we had added a couple hundred miles to our trip just for this very occasion. As we pulled up to the first viewpoint, our hearts were deflated…the whole valley was swamped with fog. It was like turning on an old television, tuned to a dead channel.
I have no doubt that our disheartenment was worn on our faces, but in the minute or two that we walked along the wall, hoping for a sign of change, the wisps of fog disappeared in patches, providing keyhole perspectives to the grandeur below.
As soon as they appeared, they were gone again, as the low-hanging clouds ran up and down the sharp inclines from the valley. Mother Nature was playing Snapchat with us.
As we worked our way along the main park road, out towards Grandview Point, we were denied the typical expansive panoramas that the Grand Canyon is known for, but instead we were treated to a unique perspective of this national treasure that few get to see. This would be the theme of the day, as we headed out of the rain, and tried to beat the storm to the Hoover Dam.
Arriving in Nevada well into the evening, we weren’t even sure if we could even see the Hoover Dam at this hour…not to mention whatever special restrictions that might be in place, as it was just a couple winds of clock from being the anniversary of 9/11.
However, with flood lights on, and security at full alert, an officer welcomed us to the Hoover Dam, and went over the guidelines to our entry to this engineering feat.
At 10pm, there are obviously no tours at the Hoover Dam, in fact we weren’t even allowed to walk along its walls. With a security car never out of eyesight (we were certain that we were being monitored at all times), we rode across the dam, and parked in the parking lots, where we were allowed to remain for seemingly any duration.
A place that I can only imagine as bustling during the daylight hours, our warm September evening left us to be the only ones to view the art deco pillars and, massive power lines, and millions of tons of concrete. It’s a bit surreal to see something like the Hoover Dam in total solitude, not to mention to see it at night, lit with lamps.
Again we had visited a venue that has been witnessed and photographed ad nauseam, but left each site with a truly unique impression and set of pictures. With the same rainstorm from Arizona, now with lightning, starting to catch us yet again, we pressed onto Las Vegas, for our last night on the road — grateful though that we had made the extra effort to see both landmark locations.