Vegas Day Two: paddling by air, land and sea

Brioux and the Bryans. Want an interview? Jump in the lake

LAS VEGAS–Had a breathtaking opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the route the Paddling Bryans took along the Colorado river Thursday on a helicopter tour of Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon. Much thanks to publicist extraordinaire Nikki Lamb Tudico and Travel + Escape for the lift.
The Bryans are two dudes from Quebec–Bryan Adams and Bryan Wallwork. Had a great time speaking with them in Lake Mead Wednesday, the large body of water made from swelling up the Colorado with Hoover Dam. The first season of their series airs now on Travel + Escape. Season two, which features this Colorado excursion, begins in October.
It was bloody hot in Nevada this week, so the interview was conducted in the only sensible place–right in the lake. This is where I want to conduct all future interviews.

Lake Mead from the air

The gents also let me take a turn paddling around the lake, a fairly placid body of water perfect for a little outdoor exercise. It was fun to practice the J-stroke, a basic steering paddle made even more basic by Wallwork, who showed me how to  use the side of the canoe as a guide.
These two are a real odd couple. Wallwork is the wild man, a real bent paddle. Adams (no relation to the singer) is the good cop, a right nice lad. Together, they’re a TV series.
The boys told me it was tough work navigating the rapids further up the Colorado. Their original plan was to sneak their canoe right into the waters at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but there are rules about this, and permits are needed, and it could take years. So no canyon run, not even Christy Canyon.
The Bryans will paddle on through July, taking them they hope to the Mexican border. There Wallwork will have to show his Canadian passport, and good luck with that. The thing stays in his shorts and is a mess, generally sopping wet with pages all stuck together. Carumba!

The Grand Canyon chopper run is the world’s 3rd busiest

The view out the window of Papillon Helicopters’ EcoStar EC 130 put the Paddling Bryans route in perspective. You could see how bendy the Colorado is, although hard to tell from the air how rapid the rapids. You can see the colder and muddier river waters collide with the warm lake. It’s green-ish hue was explained by pilot “Hogi,” as due to the high copper content in the lake basin.
A former Mississauga, Ont. resident, Hogi (yes, his dad is a Jonny Quest fan) survived several stints with the U.S. Navy to become a Papillon pilot. Now he knows where all the fish are hid, how deep the water is in Lake Mead (as deep as 190 feet at the most recent measure) and all there is to know about the canyon and the environs. Ask for him if you ever take this “bucket list” trip.
More on the sky tour, including video, in a future post.

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