Thursday, May 26, 2011

Arizona Vacation Post #4

Day 5~

I woke up early on Wednesday morning because I was heading North on a road trip.  I loaded up the car with an overnight bag and headed out by about 7:30 that morning.  I drove the 30 some-odd miles to Flagstaff on the most winding road you can imagine in the rain.  Yes, I said rain.  I know...It never rains in Arizona!  And let me tell you, rain was not a welcomed sight considering what I had planned for the day.

Once I got into Flagstaff, the said rain turned to sleet.  Then said sleet turned to snow.  Now this girl loves her some snow, but snow was also not a welcomed sight considering plans.

I continued north in Arizona to Page.  Finally once I got to Page, the rain tapered off and I made my way to the Glen Canyon Dam & Lake Powell.  There is a visitors center there, but I didn't bother with that.  I was on a tight schedule and I wanted to see several things before I had to be somewhere.  I walked out over the bridge and took some photos.

Here is the Dam holding back Lake Powell...

Looking down...
This was the bridge I was on.  It was at this point in the trip that I decided I definitely do not like heights.

Lake Powell
I developed a bit of an obsession with blooming prickly pears on this trip...
More Lake Powell
Because I was so close...
and because I'd never been before...
I just had to drive the extra couple of miles over into Utah.

On a side note here, if you read The Pioneer Woman, you may have noticed that the OMSH Homeschooling Lady has been traveling a very similar path to me.  She has some additional photos in her post of the Glen Canyon Dam and some other sights in the area including some pretty neat shots of the drive that I felt were too dangerous to take when you are both the driver and the photographer!

After venturing over to Utah, I made a quick stop at Walmart and grabbed lunch at Subway before heading to the place I had to be at 12:30, the Colorado River Discovery.  Yep, I was going to raft 15 miles of the Colorado River.  We boarded buses and headed right back to the Glen Canyon Dam.  This CRD place has struck an agreement with the federal government where they let them access the river at the bottom of the dam.  We had to drive 2 miles down a completely pitch black tunnel to get to the bottom.  This is the outside of the tunnel.  You see that hole?  There were several along the 2 miles.  This is where they threw out the debris when they were digging the tunnel...
As we were unloading from the bus, we were given hard hats that we were required to wear until we loaded our rafts. 
I honestly hadn't bargained for a view of the Dam quite like this...


The second I climbed onto the raft, it felt like the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and it got super windy.  I was wearing jeans, t-shirt, a Columbia zip-up fleece jacket and my Tech rain parka over that, so I wasn't miserable.  On my head I had a cap and then had the parka's hood cinched up tight around my face to help hold on my hat.  I mentioned that stop at Walmart earlier.  It was for gloves.  I knew that you couldn't buy real gloves anywhere in May and I hadn't packed any, but I decided that I'd get some work gloves because they'd be better than none at all...
They were fingerless right at the end so I could work my camera with ease.  They were fab!

The weather held up pretty well.  Only a few moments of sprinkling throughout the whole thing.  It was cold though!  And because of the windy conditions, our "still water" rafting trip turned white water rafting trip in a few spots.  Here are a zillion photos of the rafting trip on the Colorado down Glen Canyon...
Along the way, we made one stop.  At this stop, you could hike up to some Petroglyphs or Rock Art.  These are said to have been created by the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont Groups between 1 and 1300 AD...
This is the stretch around Horseshoe Bend.
Horseshoe Bend with make another appearance in Vacation Post #5 tomorrow...
Every single second of the trip just seemed more amazing than the next.  I loved the colors in the walls of the canyon and the various patinas that change from mocha to black to a blueish shade...

I know it won't seem like it, but I hostestly edited down the number of photos!  I have about 5 times this many photos from this rafting adventure and videos...

There were a ton of birds flying around.  In fact I think a flock of swallows was following us along the river.  Everyone loved watching to birds fly around.  Of course, I was thinking "great, these birds are going to crap on us".  Wouldn't you know it.  A bird crapped right on me.  I think I was the only one to be so lucky.

At one point, a little Wren landed right beside my leg.  Apparently feeling suicidal, it then jumped in the water.  Our trusty river guide fished it out of the water with a bucket, and wrapped it up to take home because we all voted that the little guy probably wouldn't make it if we left him. 
This is right at the end of our 15 mile journey, at Lee's Ferry.  In this part of the canyon, you can see some some shale in a greenish hue. 
This is where the Grand Canyon begins and where the folks on the multi-day Colorado trips start their adventure...
And speaking of adventure, some folks actually take these row boats down!  I saw this in an IMAX movie back in September.  That and this photo is about as close as I want to get to that kind of action!
These orange balls hanging over the river note where Glen Canyon changes to the Grand Canyon...
On the bus back to Page, our driver stopped on the Navajo Bridge to let us take a photo of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River...
We got back to Page at about 6 p.m.  I went to check into the Courtyard Marriott there.  My uncle had gotten me a discount with them and I was able to stay for $39 for the night.  I was so exhausted, cold and hungry that this may be the best $39 I have ever spent in my whole darn life!  I was asleep by 9:15 so that I could regain my energy for tomorrow's adventure.

Stay tuned for Part 5 tomorrow... it was a fun day!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What wonderful pictures-gave us good views that we hadn't seen before. Looking forward to more. Meme

Abby said...

I'm so glad that you gave the movie a shout out, because the whole time I was reading this post I kept thinking this is just like that movie we saw in NOLA!! Did it make you sad to know that the lake and the river use to be so high!!

Fabulous pictures! I think if/when we take the kids to the gc we will have to do this trip!

 

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