Page, Arizona

May 2015

The wedding party moved to Page, Arizona where there was some exploring to do. My sister’s group stayed in a rented house for a couple of nights, and I stayed at the only RV park in town.

Page Lake Powell Campground

There aren’t many choices when it comes to parking your house in Page. I needed to stay in town, or very close by, as this is where my sister was and I didn’t want to miss any of the action. There are no public campgrounds in town and I didn’t want to commute from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area campgrounds (on Lake Powell). This meant I had to stay at the one and only commercial RV park in town – Page Lake Powell Campground.

I really dislike commercial campgrounds – I have yet to meet one that I have a fondness for (though I am sure it may happen one day). But beggars can’t be choosers, so I sucked it up for 3 nights.

Pros:

  • I paid just over $21 a night, which is actually pretty good for a site with water and electric.
  • It was maybe a 10 minute drive to where my sister was staying.
  • The sites were of decent size. I didn’t have a neighbor 2 feet away.
  • The neighbor that I had was a surprise (see below).

Cons:

  • It was a commercial campground, which generally means nothing to write home about as far as locale.
  • It was fairly noisy due to being located right on a major road.
  • While both AT&T and Verizon had great signal strength, they both were unusable. Incredibly slow Interwebs. So that meant I had to go to coffee shops to use Wi-Fi so I could get work done.

While I was setting up camp, I noticed a very familiar truck and Airstream trailer pull in to the spot right next to me. What the hell? It was Dave and Kelly, who I first met during my boondocking experience in Flagstaff. We had planned on meeting up down the road, in Wyoming, but I had no idea they would be in Page. Right next to me. What a pleasant surprise!

Apparently I disliked this campground so much, I neglected to take any pics.

Glen Canyon Dam

On the way into town, I drove over the Glen Canyon Bridge which crosses the Colorado River, and put me at the Carl Hayden Visitors Center. This is located at Glen Canyon Dam, so I decided to stop in and take a look.

Turns out that a guided tour was starting shortly, so I decided to take it. I ponied up $5 and off we went (after having to return to my car to leave my tiny pocket knife that wasn’t allowed on the tour, cause you know, I can take down a huge concrete dam with a tiny pocket knife. Security theater. Whatever.).

The tour was pretty cool. We started by going on the top of the dam for a bit, seeing a few retired bits of the electrical generators and some tools used to build the dam. We then descended down almost the entire height of the dam so that we could get to the generator viewing area to see the eight massive electrical power generators. Very impressive.

From an engineering stand point, the Glen Canyon Dam is a marvel. But from an ecological stand point, it is a disaster. The flooding of Glen Canyon destroyed many, many areas of great beauty, including 90 or so side canyons. All in the name of taming the Colorado River and generating some power.

Kathy had told me about out a movie that discusses the building of dams in America and what they do to the environment. I ended up watching it after I visited Glen Canyon Dam and it tells a very eye opening story. DamNation is a great movie to watch if you are interested in learning about how dams change the face of, well, just about everything.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed spots in the Page area. Here, the Colorado River hooks a sharp left then a hard right, about 5 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam.

I had been hearing about Horseshoe Bend for quite some time, but I really didn’t pay attention to where it was until one of my Instagram followers/followees told me to make sure I checked it out. Damn, if it wasn’t just a few miles outside of Page, so very convenient.

There was some debate as to whether it is best to see Horseshoe Bend at dawn or at dusk, so I went both times to see which I preferred. Not sure I have a preference, but the pics I took my second time around (at dusk) look cooler. Only because I learned that using the “chrome” filter on my iPhone’s camera really brought out the color of the rocks in this region. Who knew?

So without further ado, I bring you my dawn and dusk pics of Horseshoe Bend. Note: I went the second time, at dusk, with Kelly and Dave, which is why Dave’s smiling face makes an appearance in this series.

DAWN
DUSK

Lower Antelope Canyon

The real reason for the trip to Page was so that a select few from the wedding party could tour Lower Antelope Canyon. Not Upper Antelope Canyon. Lower. Yes, there is a difference. Both are super crowded. Both are on Navajo land, which means the white man (and other non-Navajos) cannot enter without a Navajo guide. And both are beautiful.

We had tickets for a mid-morning tour, so we assembled at the parking lot and hoofed it over to the entrance of Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is a ways away, and you cannot park near the entrance. Instead you are trucked in. If I ever find myself in Page again (not sure why this would happen), I might be so inclined to do the upper tour to see the difference. Or I might not.

The Navajo guide was awesome! He was very patient with us, explained a bit about Lower Antelope Canyon, and told us where all the good places to take pictures were. He also informed us to use the Chrome filter on our iPhones, the trick I used when I visited Horseshoe Bend the second time.

Enough chat. On to the pics. All of which were taken with the Chrome filter on. Unless they weren’t.

Getting to Lower Antelope Canyon

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area – aka Lake Powell

Lake Powell was another one of those places that I had heard about for years. Many years. And in my 11 or so years living in Arizona, I never made it there. Despite being in the same state. Except for the part that isn’t. The “isn’t” part is in Utah.

Officially known as the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (established in 1972, which was a mighty fine year to be established, if I do say so myself!), it is a 1.2 million acre area that encompasses the 186 (or is it “only” 150 miles long? Who am I to believe?) mile long lake. So, yeah, it is a pretty big area.

As you can imagine, it is impossible to visit all but a small fraction of Glen Canyon National Recreational Area in a few days, so I concentrated on a bit of the western section around Page.

The wedding party went to Antelope Point for lunch after touring Lower Antelope Canyon. Supposedly we ate at the world’s largest floating restaurant. Considering it wasn’t terribly large, I guess big floating restaurants aren’t a thing on Earth. Maybe on another planet, in another galaxy, but not here.

Antelope Point serves meh food and is the home for part of the houseboat fleet that cruises the waters of Lake Powell. Really not my thing, but if any of you has one of these monstrosities and wants to invite me along on a trip, I probably won’t say no. 😉

On my own I explored the Wahweap area, which has another marina, a resort, and is the launching point for boat tours of the lake. To get here, I took the rather scenic Lake Shore Drive, which, oddly enough, ran along the shore of Lake Powell. I also drove through the Wahweap Campground to check it out, cause, you know, that is what us full-time RVers do.

My final stop in the Glen Canyon NRA was Lone Rock Beach, a primitive camping area where you spend a few bucks a night to have the privilege of staying right on the shores of Lake Powell on a sandy beach. It was pretty damn crowded when I was there, so I am glad I wasn’t targeting it as a place to stay. But I did manage to get some work done for a bit, as the cell signal was pretty usable. Much more so than in Page, and odd considering it was really out in the boonies.

So that was my grand adventure to Page, Arizona and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. I only scratched the surface of exploring the NRA (no, not that NRA!), but I don’t really feel a huge pull to return. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

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