Page, Arizona, and The Mighty Colorado River
Page, Arizona, maybe relatively unknown to most people. But, for the adventure seekers and the outdoor enthusiast, it’s the gate way to so many beautiful locations. Lake Powel, The Wave, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are just some of the wonderful destinations in the area. This would be my midway point of my road trip and I spent two nights in this little city. I had three days with early wakeup times and after the event packed morning in Monument Valley, I decided to relax after arriving in the afternoon.
Of course, the next morning would start early as well. I’d booked a rafting trip down the mighty Colorado River. This one isn’t the rugged class V, or VI, you see on television. It’s a gentle cruise on a motorized raft. It starts at the base of Glen Canyon Dam. The meet up is in Page and the participants are bussed down to the river, passing through a two mile tunnel along the way. We boarded the raft and we were on our way slowly going down the river with the dam disappearing in the background.
This portion of the river is so calm and peaceful, with the least amount of river traffic. The guide provided us with geological and history facts as we floated down river. We came to our first and only stop.
This was the sight of a panel of petroglyphs. Hundreds of years ago, ancestors of the Navajo made there home here and left a depiction of wildlife that inhabited the area. This stop also has restrooms, and don’t forget it’s the only stop on this tour.
We forged on and more people could be seen using the river for recreational use. Fisherman, Kayakers, SUP enthusiast, and the occasional campers were now dotting the river.
We, then, came upon the iconic Horseshoe Bend, a bend in the river that resembles a horseshoe. It wasn’t apparent from river level but every one on the raft new of the location. It’s one of the most photographed spots in the world. I also visited the overlook from above after the tour as well. On my first visit, nine years ago, Horseshoe Bend overlook was only accessible by a small dirt lot and a little sandy trail. There were only a couple dozen people there enjoying the view. Now, the city of Page has made it into a major attraction adding a large paved parking lot and the trail is now paved as well.
This time, there must have been a couple of hundred people enjoying the view. With all this progress comes a cost, $10 entrance fee. This thousand foot overlook of the mighty Colorado River is now accessible to everyone. Honestly, I liked it better when only photographers and the adventurous visited, but then again I’m a purist.
The rafting tour continued on passing the bend and we encountered even more people along the river. We were getting closer to Lees Ferry, the source of all the visitors. Lees Ferry is the origination point of all the people we had past. You can rent kayaks or SUP equipment and have someone ferry you upstream and you can paddle your way back. Lees Ferry is also the point where the Grand Canyon National Park also begins. It’s also were the ten-day, hair-raising ,Colorado River rafting trip begins.
I had done this slow motion rafting trip nine years ago during my first visit, but I loved it so much I had to do it again. It’s so peaceful here and it’s a great way to appreciate the river and to see its power. Some portions of the canyon are a thousand feet high. It’s something you can’t experience at the Grand Canyon as the river is too far from the rim.
We did this trip, too, maybe 15 years ago. It’s such a beautiful area, though I remember the water being very cold even though it was boiling hot outside. I know what you mean about how things change over time as more and more tourists come. I just found out that to climb Quandary Peak, one of Colorado’s 14ers, later this month, we have to buy a pass to park at the trailhead. $25 on the day we chose, but $50 on high demand days. Ugh. It didn’t use to be this way.
Yes, the water is cold because it comes the bottom of the dam. One other change is that you have to go through a security check before departing on this tour since the dam is a target for terrorists.
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