Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arizona Vacation Post #5

Day 6~

Thursday morning started early.  If you will recall, I had spent the night in Page, AZ.  I had an early morning tour of Antelope Canyon.  Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon.  Slot canyons are canyons that are created by flash floods.  Antelope Canyon is on a Navajo reservation, so I had book a trip with a Navajo group. 

It did not begin at all like I expected...on a monster truck! 

Turns out monster trucks are a necessity because of all the sand you have to drive through.  It was a bit more adventure than I bargain for.  Riding down the highway at 60 mph in the back of a monster truck when the temps are in the 40's is a wee bit chilly!
As I mentioned, these canyons are carved out by flash floods.  So I had read that if there is even a chance of rain, they won't let you go.  They are even more cautious now because 11 photographers died there in 1997 when they got caught in the rain.  Now if you'll notice in the above pic, the sky was super cloudy.  It had already rained earlier in the morning, but they claimed that there wasn't any rain to the south, so we were good to go.  You can imagine my anxiety when it started sprinkling when we were inside the canyon!  But thankfully no heavy rains, so I am alive to tell the tale.

This is the entrance to the canyon...
An interesting fact... I was the only American on the tour.  This was the beginning of a day that was unique from any other day that I have ever spent in the U.S.  I have never gone anywhere where there were so many foreign visitors!  It made me feel bad because each stop I made that day, I was surrounded by non-English speaking people.  I thought, They come to this country and come here, why has it taken me 34 years to get here?

Here's the beauty of Antelope Canyon...
Unfortunately, the light was pretty poor on the day I went...
but hopefully, the photos will convey some of the beauty.
It is such a natural piece of art!
All made of sandstone
Sorry!  I did edit down the photos I have, but it was just so beautiful!
You walk all the way through the canyon.  This is coming out the "other side"...
Then you turn around and walk back through

After Antelope Canyon, I made the hike up to Horseshoe Bend before leaving Page.  The hike was uphill both ways.  People laugh when I say that, but it was.  The hike was about 1 mile and it was really pretty...
Remember that the day before, I had rafted around Horseshoe Bend, just like these people...
Beautiful Horseshoe Bend...
The Colorado River in Glen Canyon
More photos of the hike back...
I wish I could have photographed Horseshoe Bend on a sunny day, but as you can see, it was still very overcast...
Next Stop, Grand Canyon!
I went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  I entered on the East side and drove through the park.  First stop was Desert View...
I had never been to the Grand Canyon before.  I thought I knew what to expect, but it really was breathtaking.
Some spots were sunny. Some were cloudy. Some had snow flurries!

The majesty!
I love that people have been amazed by the splendor for hundreds of years.
A soldier with Coronado wrote about their expedition in 1540.
He said...
After they had gone twenty days, they came to the banks of the river (canyon rim)...
They spent three days on this bank looking for a passage down...
It was impossible to descend...
the three lightest and most agile men, made an attempt to go down at the least difficult place, and went down until those who were above were unable to see them...
They returned about four o'clock in the afternoon, not having succeeded...
Those who stayed above had estimated that some huge rocks on the sides of the cliffs seemed to be about as tall as a man, but those who went down swore that when they reached those rocks they were bigger than the great tower of Seville...
Proof that I was there...
Proof that there was snow!
After I exited the West side of the South Rim, I stopped at the National Geographic Imax theater and saw a movie about Powell's expedition down the river in 1869.  Then I drove back to Sedona through the San Francisco Peaks and Flagstaff...
It was cold for May...

Day 7~

Friday was a pretty uneventful day.  I read a lot on the patio and even napped.  I wanted to rest up after all the adventures I had.  I was also ready to see my Lola dog!

Post-Trip~

Of course, like any good parent, I brought my baby a souvenir from the Grand Canyon...
a Raccoon...

I'm so happy that I got to go on a trip.  I'm glad that I was able to see Sedona and surrounding area as well as everything up at Page and the Grand Canyon.  Arizona was not a location that as I was leaving I was thinking that I couldn't wait to come back.  I know I won't be rushing out there for another trip next year, but I think it is something everyone should see at least once, and I was happy to check off a few more items on the 1000 Places to See Before You Die book.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Hope you are all enjoying the unofficial kick-off to summer.

I think I need to have my head examined, because I came to my parents' to paint this weekend.  When I was here last weekend, I was underwhelmed by the progress my mom had been making in the painting department.  I thought about it and decided that I needed to take matters into my own hands.  So on Friday, after I was done with work, I came up to paint all weekend. 

My parents are out of town this weekend, so it's just Lola and me.  I have pretty much painted the whole darn time with the exception of 30 minutes yesterday when I took a pool break.  I painted the utility room, my bedroom, and some trim in various places all over the house.

They are in the middle of a MAJOR remodel.  Both bathrooms are being overhauled.  They started in April and my Dad's bathroom (& mine) is finally finished, but currently my Mom's is a shell of a room...no walls, no ceiling, nothing (well thankfully the work crew got in some sort of floor before they took their weekend because it was discovered that some snakes have made under the house their home ). 

I'll post some photos of all the progress later, I just wanted to take a minute and wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day and say a big Thank You to all who have, or are currently serving, and hope that everyone remembers those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country. 



 

I still have one more vacation post, so stay tuned for the Grand finale! 

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!

 

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