GRAND CANYON WEST, AZ
Company: Comedy on Deck Tours
Location: Grand Canyon West owned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe
I found too many super cool facts, I tried to summarize as much as I could but this post will be long. Regarding the company… lets just say i was glad I bought it with a groupon and did not pay full price, I mean it was a AC ride there and back, breakfast and lunch was included, but the comedy part ummm that was lagging. Here are some pictures hope you enjoy them. Don’t forget to leave me comments of what you like didn’t like about this post.
ABOUT HUALAPAI INDIANS
- The Hualapai, meaning “People of The Tall Pines,” are native people of the Southwest.
- Traditionally hunter-gatherers, they inhabited an area of more than 5 million acres. Unfortunately, in the 19th century the population was decimated by war and disease, reduced to nearly 1,000,000 acres that includes 108 miles of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon.
- In 1883 the Hualapai American Indian Reservation was created with an approximately 2,100 members of the tribe.
- Due to economic hardship, the Hualapai decided to open their land to visitors in 1988, creating Grand Canyon West as a tourism destination which helped to build “Boys and Girls Club” facility, a “Head Start” facility and a Social Services building. Tourism includes “Skywalk”, helicopter and boat tours, and other excursions on the reservation.
ABOUT SKYWALK NEAR EAGLE POINT (WEST RIM):
- David Jin, the developer, approached the Tribe and offer to build the Skywalk at his own expense and turn it over to the Tribe, the Tribe agreed. It took 4 years and 30 million dollars to build and it has has increased tourism to Grand Canyon West Rim.
- The Skywalk has become the most recognized cantilever structure in the world. The glass bridge extends 70 feet over the edge of the canyon rim and 4000 feet above the Colorado River. The structure is strong enough to hold 71 fully loaded 747’s.
- NOTE: Camera’s are not allowed on the Skywalk
Here is a short clip of the Skywalk. In sec 15 you will see why the area is called Eagle Point 😉
If you want to see a full detail video of the engineering and construction challenges, watch this 45min video. It is extremely interesting but don’t get me started on the few faults on the video… like why is a PM asking for vertical wind loads, oh i know for TV purpose, did you see her desktop unit?!? COME ONNN!!!! Or how the main engineer said that he made the grand decision to attached the structure to the top of the rock… ummm i thought the Tribe said not to do it from the vertical side of the rock as part of their agreement… how else would you attach such a structure. Regardless watch the video it does have some really good info. Ignore the Vietnamese? subtitles, the video is in English.
ABOUT GUANO POINT (SOUTH RIM):
- The Bat Cave was discovered in the 1930s by a young man on a river trip when he noticed a hole 600ft in the north wall of the canyon. The hole was intriguing enough to convince him to climb the cliff and explore the spot, he reached the cave after three days. Inside the small opening, he found a 100ft chamber, then it narrowed down rapidly at the rear into a small passageway which widened into a chamber measuring several hundred feet long where guano deposits were found. Guano has high content of phosphates and nitrates made of excrement of sea fowl, bats, or other animals, making it excellent for fertilizers.
- 1st mining attempt: Beal Masterson and Merle Emery established a campsite at water’s edge and built a tramway to connect the cave with the camp below. Crews dug the substance by hand, lowered it to shore level, and placed it on barges for hauling downstream. The costs of motor repairs and sunken barges pushed them to bankruptcy and they sold their lease to the King-Finn Fertilizer Company.
2nd mining attempt: King-Finn they build a 1100-ft landing strip on a sandbar about a quarter mile upstream from the cave. They extracted the guano, bagged it at the cave opening, lowered it onto the existing tramway, float it to the landing strip, where helicopters would fly it to a landing strip on the Reservation, loaded onto trucks, and finally driven to Los Angeles for marketing. The river washed out the sandbar destroying the airstrip. The market price for guano was not high enough to support King-Finn’s elaborate method of extracting the material and abandoned the effort.
- 3rd mining attempt: U. S. Guano Corporation estimated that the cave contained 100,000 tons or more of the material. It was determined that the only logical way to extract the material was to install an extensive cable system. As the project was nearing completion, a clutch lever broke, dropping the cable into the canyon, a replacement had to be fabricated and shipped from a mill. Completed in 1958, the tramway was an engineering marvel. Guano was vacuumed from the cave, stored in a holding bin, transferred to the cable car, and hauled by cable from the north tower to the south tower and on to the terminal at “Guano Point.” There the material was packaged in sacks ranging from one to 25 pounds. The sacks were trucked and then flown to markets on the west coast. A splice in the pull cable was found and the cable had to be replaced after a few months of completion. The crew moved the vacuum hose deeper into the cave but it was found to contain not 100,000 tons of guano, but only a bout 1,000 tons, the rest of the deposit was just decomposed limestone. Mining ceased in early 1960 as Guano sold for about $100 a ton then. The company’s total investment was $3.5 million. Several months after the mining venture ended, a fighter jet clipped one of the cable strands, losing a wing tip and severing the pull cable, the company won the legal battle recuperating their losses.
In 1959, the cableway was used for the film Edge of Eternity, with the climax of the film involving a fight on a cable car suspended above the Grand Canyon.