In preparation for today's trip, the children did mini-projects on The Hoover Dam and The Grand Canyon. While we were with the lovely Lunney's, Jake and Eliza made some great visuals and gave 8 facts about The Grand Canyon and Sophia and Marin produced a comedy play on The Hoover Dam. A lot of work went in to both and they were very informative!
Today after a stop at The Vegas sign, we were taken to Boulder City to find our pilot, who was trained by the Marines which was re-assuring! (I think he may actually have been from Top Gun although he probably wasn't even born when the movie came out).
The Star helicopter we were on is also used for mountain rescue and it is the only type of helicopter to have landed on Everest.
We flew at 150 mph over the Mojave desert in Nevada, before crossing the Colorado river into Arizona. We saw the dormant
Fortification volcano, which last erupted when this land was covered by sea.
The area used to be a big Indian Reservation and we saw Mead View which still exists. Although the people now live in modern housing, they are still cut off from the modern world, trucking in their own water and using diesel generators for power.
The turquoise waters of Lake Mead hide temple bar village which is about 75 feet underneath and the Colorado river leads into it - apparently it takes about 10 years for water to get from there to the hoover dam.
According to Sophia's project, the Hoover Dam was built between 1933-1947 for flood control and to produce electricity by pushing water through a turbine. It cost £49 million to build.
We flew over it and the O'Callaghan memorial bridge and it is an awesome sight. You can see by the white layer where the water line used to be. These days they are happy the level isn't falling further although it's unlikely to ever reach its height again.
As we approached the Grand Canton, we saw a
cross on top of a large plateau. Each line on the cross is 1 mile long and it's where they trained ww2 pilots to land. It is also the spot where the final scene from Thelma and louse was filmed!
Then it was time to fly into one of the Seven wonders of the world. Jake and Eliza's project taught us that the Grand Canyon is 2.5-2.7 billion years old and has been dated by the Carbon in the rock. The West canyons deepest part has been under the ocean 7 times.
The top black layer you can see is fossilised algae and seaweed and the top 2 rings of these are 700 million years apart - although it looks to be only a couple of feet that separates them. Our pilot did some dives into the canyon that took us back to the 'tower of terror' guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disney, but gave us an incredible view of the Canyon.
We finally had to leave but learnt a whole lot more about the area on the way back.
Nevada is known as 'The Silver State - more sliver was mined out of Nevada than anywhere else in the world. Joker mountain at its heart, was later taken over by the mafia who 'left' people there and finally blew up the entrances when most of the silver was gone.
As we arrived back at the heliport we were all high on the experience we had just had, and seeing the children's awestruck faces throughout made it an unforgettable experience for us all.
It had been great to get out of Vegas and see some incredible geology, so after a swim to cool off it was back to the insanity of Vegas and a trek down the strip.
Fountains at The Bellagio...
'Honey I shrunk the kids' at The New and fabulous Cosmopolitan....
And Hershey's kisses for bedtime.