A Travellerspoint blog

Desert Wanderings - Page AZ, Lees Ferry

sunny 42 °C

Page Arizona is a playground for all activities outside. From boating on Lake Powell, hikes to canyons, ATV tours and more, outside is where its at in Page. Too bad for us it was 42F in the shade. In the sun, our thermometer went to 54.5F. Too hot for this couple! Our first day in Page , we toured around and saw the Lake Powell dam and Lone Rock Beach. The dam had a very good visitor centre which explained all about how the dam was formed from 1956-1966. It had a nice theatre which played informative videos every 15 min. We overheard one couple say that they might watch them all just to stay inside for the day in the AC!

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Lone Rock Beach is where people can camp for free on the sand (you do need a permit to be in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area). We parked and walked down to the water. The sand was so hot that we moved pretty quick! The water was warm and the sand was very fine. Hardly a shell or a rock to look over. We were not prepared to bake ourselves on the sand like a few people were so we headed back to the truck.

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Even the crows thought it was too hot and were seeking the shade!

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In the evening, we found a little known lookout up on the ridge where a number of houses sat. From there we watched the sunset over Lake Powell.

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We spent a lot of time in our trailer with the AC on. It was too hot to even sit comfortably in the shade outside. We spied on a hummingbird in the afternoon who had made a nest in the tree outside our window. She was beautiful.

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The following morning, our alarm woke us at 4:30am to get ready for our kayaking adventure. Lake Powell was created after the dam was built in 1958. It controls the flow of water for the Colorado River at the start of the Grand Canyon. On the other side of the dam from Lake Powell is Lees Ferry. Lees Ferry was settled by John D. Lee who came to the area in 1871. Lee was fleeing persecution from the US military after being involved in a massacre of settlers in Utah in 1857. He and his family ran the ferry that shepherded new settlers across the Colorado River before there was a bridge to cross. The picturesque mountains and the Vermillion Cliffs were dazzling in the orange, early sunlight.

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There isn’t much in Lees Ferry now except historical buildings and a boat launch that caters to anglers and boaters. This is where our backhaul launched from. The boat took us and our kayaks upriver so that we could kayak back down to Lees Ferry. The company, Kayak Horseshoe Bend, and our guide, Luke, were both very professional and knowledgeable. We would highly recommend them. Our boat launched at 6:30am and the air was still crisp.

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Enroute we saw wild horses making their way on the cliffside in the early morning cool temperature and further upstream we saw two Big Horn Sheep grazing. The trail they come down has been used for centuries by the Anasazi people who have lived in the area for 12,000 years.

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Because, another person in our group was going all the way to the dam to begin his paddle (8 hours!) we got to ride all the way back up to see the dam from the bottom. This is the official beginning of the Grand Canyon. Our guide then dropped us at Petroglyphs so we could begin our paddle.

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A very short walk up the trail at Petroglyphs we saw the trail’s namesake. There are rock drawings made by Native Americans. They clearly show sheep descending and figures hunting along with other symbols.

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After our walk to the petroglyphs, we started out on our kayaks. Pictures just don’t do the actual view justice. The cliffs are a high as skyscrapers. They tower over you like ancient monuments to another time. Birds sing, lizards skitter on the rock faces, swallows swoop, and fish swim all around you. Open your senses to the nature around you and nature will talk to you.

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There are many boats on this waterway. Some backhauling people up river so they too can paddle downstream. Some people with personal power watercraft, and many kayakers. Most were very courteous, a few were noisy but we just let them pass. One person apparently needed his boombox on his boat with him. Ugh!

The following are some of our many pictures taken. Videos will come in a later blog when I am home to edit them.

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Lots of lizards make their homes on the Marble Canyon cliffs.
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This is a collared lizard posing for us.

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If you come to Page, AZ, do this trip if you do anything. You can rent kayaks from Kayak Horseshoe Bend. There are no rapids, the current takes you down stream and really all you need to do is steer. We took 5 hours to paddle from our drop off at Petroglyphs and 7 hours from when we arrived at Lees Ferry. Totally worth every penny!

On our way back to Page, we stopped to look at the Navajo Historical Bridge which was built in 1928 and made the ferry at Lees Ferry less vital. It is overwhelming to realize that these canyon walls will spread out to become the Grand Canyon downstream.

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The next morning we escaped the heat of Page. It was our original plan to stay the week, hike and explore but it is just not safe to be outside in this weather. The National park system was even recommending everyone stay in AC from 10am to sunset after a death in Death Valley this past week.

Because we could be flexible and move our vacation, we have driven into the mountains of Colorado. We are camping on BLM land in the Uncompahgre National Forest where it was 70F, more than 20 degrees cooler than only a few hours away.

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We are near Telluride, CO for the next few days.

Posted by blgracey 20:38 Archived in USA

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Honestly. I’m speechless - the views are truly STUNNING.

by Krista

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