When you have to find an example how capitalism works, you probably should come to this place. Grand Canyon West is a wasteland, just stones, rocks and tumbleweeds. 20 years ago here were nothing, zero, dust and a kind of nature nobody want’s to visit. All the tourists they’re visiting the Grand Canyon drived from Las Vegas or Flagstaff further to the east to stay at the Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon West was the same Canyon, but without masses because you have to drive 30 miles rough road to reach this part oft he abyss. And 30 miles back to enter the Route 66 again.
But the capitalism. Entrepreneur and architect David Jin from Las Vegas was the man who has had an idea: Why not make the hidden gem of the land of the Hualapai-tribe to a new sensation for all the tourists from abroad? Jin dreamed about a giant balcony on the rim since a visit to the Grand Canyon in 1996. A glass floor should visitors give the chance to walk „on air“ over the abyss and look down 1.200 meters where the Colorado River try to go deeper and deeper into the ground.
The dream come true. After three years of construction the visitor attraction "Skywalk" was opened on 20 March 2007 as the tallest steel and glass structure in the world. Total weight oft he horse-shoe shaped construction is more than 35,000 tonnes, the balcony reachs 30 meters over the canyon and if you outside on the platform you walk on seven centimeters thick special glass with a total weigh of about 480 tons.
It’s a triumph of mankind and engineering art over wild life and a victory of the capitalism at the same time. Where once was nothing, now are a hotel, a tourist center, a gift shop, parking lots for visitors and an airport for small aircrafts and helicopters. For the Hualapai Indians it is a gift: The small tribe has made jobs for his members and money for the tribe with the walk in the sky. The $ 30 million the Hualapai invest in the buildings are paid, because since three years one million visitors yearly come to the attractions of the self named "Grand Canyon West".
But is it worth the way? Should you go the platform, that resists wind speeds of one hundred miles per hour? Which cannot harmed by earthquakes? But can be from your camera?
You have to know before you that photography is prohibited on the Skywalk because, offical!, shortly afterthe opening a tourist has accidentally dropped his camera down to the ground and the glass plate received a scratch. Since this day you have to give away your private camera at a airport-like sally port for security reasons. Behind this point is just a official Skywalk photographer who wants to sell his pictures to you if you have made the round. Buckle up: One pic costs about 22 US dollars!
Add to this you ticket for a complete package called "The Spirit", that includes a shuttle service to various viewpoints at the Grand Canyon and a horse-drawn carriage ride to the Hualapai Ranch you have to pay more than $ 100 including taxes, for children it will be around $ 60. Thats a lot of money and if you like to would have a South Rim, open year-round from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Grand Canyon West Rim Tours picking you for $ 115 more.
But one million visitors a year can't be wrong. And that's why capitalism works.
More pics under the link section.
Follow me on my epic journey through America:
Grand Canyon: Scenic views into the abyss of earth
Graveyard of giants: The Jurassic Park at the Navajo Trail
More than monumental: The heart of the wild west
Arches NP: The biggest bow you've ever seen
Zion Canyon: Ice-cold feet in narrow waters
Bryce Canyon: God's glowing stones
Las Vegas: Home of Bad Luck
Red Rock Canyon: Road under the ocean
The dry throat of the desert
Mt. Withney: High on thin air
Eating flies on Mono Lake
80.000 miles of steel wire
Beyond the everlasting trees
Crazy climbers at El Capitan
The wonder of the Sierra Waves
Into the home of horror
Where Easy Rider is alive
Blue skies over Alabama Hills