Grand Canyon National Park 

Northern, AZ

May 20, 2012 

I was invited to Las Vegas to cover the Billboard Awards for Sun Drop. I agreed because I wanted to go to the awards show, but I’m no fan of Vegas. I’d been several times before, accompanying my dad on business trips. But I don’t gamble, I don’t like partying in unfamiliar places, and while the shopping and shows are abundant and divine, I live in NYC where both are also plentiful. I also travel a lot. Seeing a miniature Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel or taking a gondola ride at the Venetian doesn’t have the same appeal, to me anyway, once you’ve seen or done the same thing in the real place.

I wanted to do something “new”, so a helicopter ride thru the Grand Canyon it was. I’d never seen the Canyon and I’d never been on a helicopter, so it was a two-for-one. A car picked me up at the hotel, and drove me forty-five minutes out to an airport in the middle of nowhere.

Riding in helicopter is like riding a roller coaster, which is great for a three minute thrill, not so much for a forty minute flight— and back. My stomach dropped with every small dip of the ride, and I was thinking, “Lord, why did I do this to myself?” That is, until we came up to the Grand Canyon, which is more beautiful in person than even the best professional pictures. I was stunned into silence — and comfort. I was so busy marveling, I forgot to be scared.

We flew through the Canyon, and landed at setting in the middle for a boxed lunch. I don’t remember what I ate. Just the mimosas that came with the meal. We stayed for about 30 minutes, taking pictures and gawking, then it was time to head back. Our pilot told a story about a guy, a regular of sorts, on her flights who never takes pictures, and keeps coming back. When he does, he sits and stares out at the Canyon. She asked him about it one day and he said, “I’m remembering it. Whenever I forget, I come back.”

I hate helicopters now.  And yet, the next time I’m in Vegas, I would do it again, no question.  

For travel info: Canyon Tours. 

Images provided by Demetria Lucas D'Oyley. All rights reserved.