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Flying Over the Grand Canyon

While the government shutdown turned the South Rim into a bit of a ghost town, I still managed to see the Grand Canyon by flying over it, twice. Luckily, the airplane and helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon continued to run, allowing me the chance to really take in the full breadth of America’s inspiring national park. I’m afraid this little video does no justice to the full emotion of the experience, because only by crossing the spectacular void do you truly feel how small we are and how splendid this planet we call home. (I am very happy to hear that Grand Canyon National Park has since re-opened.)

I began my travels with Nature Valley‘s “Preserve the Parks” initiative way up in Wyoming, by giving wildlife a leg up, but down in Grand Canyon, Nature Valley’s volunteer efforts have helped to remove nearly half a million non-native plants. This preservation of the native landscape is key in the long-term survival of this national treasure, and I was glad to witness the magnificence of this park, if only from above.

For those with flying phobias (and even those without), I’d highly recommend a stop at the Grand Canyon National Geographic Visitor Center. Watching the amazing Grand Canyon IMAX Movie lets you feel exactly what it’s like to soar above (and inside) the mile-deep canyon without actually having to buckle into an aircraft.

And yet, even with all of our amazing CGI technology and 3D imagery, nothing beats the reality of humming along, a few hundred feet above the forest of ponderosa pines, when suddenly, the ground drops away into a colossal gaping red-orange hole in the ground and no matter how far you look with your eyes, all you can see is the beautiful emptiness of America’s Grand Canyon.

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Flying over one of the deepest section of Grand Canyon National Park. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler)

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