Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lake Powell, AZ

We left the Grand Canyon around 5 pm yesterday and headed east on Route 64, which was a very scenic route to take because you are basically following the eastern rim of the Canyon. Stopped for a few more elk sightings. Then we headed north up Route 89 and it's hard to describe the scenery. We started out seeing other smaller canyons and rocky areas but then the landscape turned into deserty areas, and because the sun was going down, the colors were so beautiful, all shades of red and pink. Looking at the map I could see we were on the western edge of the Painted Desert. And the most amazing thing is that there is absolutely nothing around, no towns, no stores, no 7-Elevens, nothing, just miles and miles of open land. I don't know that I have ever been in such an area. I wouldn't call it desolate because it was so beautiful. It was amazing to me that there are such vast, open areas like this in the U.S. We got into Page around 7:30 and checked into our hotel, happy to find wifi working! The hotel recommended a restaurant in town and we went there, Bonkers, and it was actually quite good. A family-owned small Italian restaurant and we were able to sit outside and have some good spaghetti marinara (me) and chicken parmesan (Walt).

This morning we woke up and headed to the Ranch Grille in Page for breakfast. There is not much in this "town" of Page. Several tatoo parlors and tanning places--tanning places in this sun-drenched place?? Jeez. It is mainly a hub for hotels for people visiting Lake Powell. After breakfast we went to see the Glen Canyon Dam, which is the dam that created Lake Powell by damming the Colorado River. The dam provides water for the southwestern and western desert states, as well as hydroelectric power.
We walked over these rocks to see the Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam
Closeup of sandstone
Then we were off to see the main attraction,  Lake Powell, the result of the Glen Canyon Dam. We heard the best way to see the lake was to take a boat ride, so we took a 2-hour cruise which took us through Antelope Canyon, a narrow slot canyon, and close up to the Glen Canyon Dam, and then along the rocky and colorful shoreline. We found out that the reddish colors in the sandstone are the result of iron oxide, a rust (see, we were listening to the tour guide). The patterns that are made from the iron oxide and the ribbons crossing the face of the sandstone create an effect that is called Navajo Tapestry. And sandstone is really petrified sand dunes.
Entering Antelope Canyon
Kayakers on Lake Powell

Navajo Tapestry

It was an interesting trip, and we were glad we stopped at Lake Powell, although it was very hot (105 degrees) and we were out in the sun most of the afternoon. We left about 4:00 and started on our way to Kayenta, AZ, where we are now and tomorrow we will visit Monument Valley, which is about 20 miles away. One interesting fact, because we are in the Navajo Nation, it is illegal to serve alcohol, so no wine with dinner for me tonight! Also, no daylight savings time here, so it is an hour later here than it was last night in Page, AZ. We can go to bed early.

Jet skis on Lake Powell--Brooks would love this!

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