A day of Fun in Page, Arizona

The Experience

Today was devoted to a small town in Northern Arizona called Page, which was built in 1957 to house workers who were building the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River and their families. Page was named after John C. Page, head of the Reclamation Commission, which constructed the dam. We saw many Native Americans, specifically Navajo descendents, lived and worked in Page. The Navajo people revered coyote greatly. I recall a group project I did while working on my Bachelor of Science degree about two decades ago was regarding Navajo Native Americans.

We had two tours scheduled. One in the morning and the other in the afternoon. After eating free breakfast and checking out of the hotel, we headed to our morning Lower Antelope Canyon tour that’s scheduled at 10:20 am.

On our way there, we saw a group of tourists sitting in the back of a truck in front of us. The truck was modified to have handles, seats, doors and a cover. A cheap and ingenious tour bus option for the owner.

Truck modified tour vehicle

Truck modified tour vehicle

West's largest coal-fired plant, Navajo Generating Station, seen in the distance

West’s largest coal-fired plant, Navajo Generating Station, seen in the distance

Upon entering the Native American property, we saw something out of ordinary:

Do you see it? Hint, hint, the words on the Sign to the left

Do you see it? Hint, hint, the words on the Sign to the left

Antelope Canyon was a slot canyon which located along a large wash that drained into Lake Powell, a manmade lake a few miles east of Page. The Canyon got its name from the pronghorn antelopes that once grazed in the area.

Our Navajo tour guide took us to the narrow small entrance of the Lower Antelope Canyon. The Navajo name for it was Hasdestwazi, or “spiral rock arches”. We moved down the stairways one after the other. The ladders were fully bolted into the sandstone canyon walls. Once we were down there and reached the canyon floor, I couldn’t believe the spectacular view. The vertical, winding walls were carved by fast-flowing flash flood waters during monsoon season. The floods carried abrasive sand, rocks, and other debris picked up by the sudden torrents as they rushed into the narrow passageways. A lot of the sediment and debris was deposited on the canyon bed. Over time, these floods sculpted natural corridors through the soft sandstone.

Per our tour guide, they monitored weather forecasts for the area constantly. If a storm was coming, the place was shut down and no one was allowed. The power of nature was never questioned at Antelope Canyon.

Was it out of this world?

Was it out of this world?

The light that penetrated the canyon floor revealed a fantasy world of colored stones. The pockets on the canyon walls were formed when pockets of different mineral composition secreted mineral residue. Some of the pockets fell off and left dents on the walls.

The light that penetrated the canyon floor revealed a fantasy world of colored stones. The pockets on the canyon walls were formed when pockets of different mineral composition secreted mineral residue. Some of the pockets fell off and left dents on the walls.

The light was strongest at the slot opening and weakened with every bend and twisted along the path.

The light was strongest at the slot opening and weakened with every bend and twisted along the path.

The stunning colors changed depending on the position of the light.

The stunning colors changed depending on the position of the light.

I couldn't believe that I was actually inside of a Canyon

I couldn’t believe that I was actually inside of a Canyon

Light somehow managed to find a way through the walls of the canyon, despite its irregularities and narrowness.

Light somehow managed to find a way through the walls of the canyon, despite its irregularities and narrowness.

We took so many beautiful pictures inside of the Lower Antelope Canyon. Some places were so narrow that only one person could barely pass through.

Our tour guide coming out of the narrow and irregular opening of Lower Antelope Canyon

Our tour guide coming out of the narrow and irregular opening of Lower Antelope Canyon

After admiring the nature’s marvel, it’s time to get ready for our afternoon’s four-hour long Smooth Water Rafting tour.

We bought subs at Subway. Then we parked our car near the Rafting pickup center a block away. We found a table with umbrella outside of the center, sat and ate our lunch there. It’s close to 1 pm already. We gathered our stuff and boarded a shuttle to the Glen Canyon Dam where the rafting started. The drive was short and the shuttle bus passed a two-mile long tunnel to the bottom of Glen Canyon Dam.

The Glen Canyon Dam was built to provide hydroelectricity and flow regulation from the upper Colorado River Basin (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) to the lower (California and Nevada). Because the upper Colorado River Basin states, whose rivers flowed wild and free, had no way to ensure they could utilize their water allotment in dry years due to lack of sufficient storage. Glen Canyon Dam was a concrete arch dam and located just upstream of Lee’s Ferry, which was the official dividing point of the upper and lower basins, would provide much of the power needed to pump water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

We got off the shuttle, put our helmets on to prevent injuries from runaway rocks above us while walking down to a raft. We then took our helmets off, put life jackets on for children twelve and under and boarded the raft, and it went through Glen Canyon on a stretch of the Colorado River just before Grand Canyon National Park began. The Colorado River was the nation’s seventh-longest river.

Glen Canyon Dam and Glen Canyon Dam Bridge seen from our raft. The other side of the dam was Lake Powell.

Glen Canyon Dam and Glen Canyon Dam Bridge seen from our raft. The other side of the dam was Lake Powell.

Lake Powell was the reservoir to absorb water from floods. However it’s drying up and currently at 45 percent of capacity due to draughts.

A bird nest on top of the pole

A bird nest on top of the pole

An observation place for the government officials when the dam was being built

An observation place for the government officials when the dam was being built

Beautiful scenery with greenish blue clear water. The water wasn't a reddish-brown color because the dam was trapping sediment.

Beautiful scenery with greenish blue clear water. The water wasn’t a reddish-brown color because the dam was trapping sediment.

A beaver lived there. Can you see its lodge?

A beaver lived there. Can you see its lodge?

Look at nature's carvings

Look at nature’s carvings

There were hiking trails and camp sites on Glen Canyon

There were hiking trails and camp sites on Glen Canyon

Interesting rock formations and the Colorado River was drying up.

Interesting rock formations and the Colorado River was drying up.

Our Navajo tour guide and raft operator pulled our raft into a little beach that was about 1.5 hours into the tour. We got off the raft to see the Petroglyph Panel. Then the kids jumped into the water for a quick dip. The water was pulled into Glen Canyon Dam about 200 feet down from the surface and it’s 47ºF. There’s no animal except trout, which they brought into the river because trout could endure cold water.

Ancient petroglyphs by Ancestral Puebloan people

Ancient petroglyphs by Ancestral Puebloan people

Another Ancient petroglyphs from Ancestral Puebloan people. No offense, but they looked like children's scribbles to me.

Another Ancient petroglyphs from Ancestral Puebloan people. No offense, but they looked like children’s scribbles to me.

Horseshoe Bend Observation Point above

Horseshoe Bend Observation Point above

Horseshoe Bend Observation Point up close. You could see people's heads. There's no railing or anything as protective measure. Our tour guide said they were too close to the edge and people did fall off the cliff while getting pictures taken in the not distant pasts. The Navajo people say they could smell your death as the body decomposed.

Horseshoe Bend Observation Point up close. You could see people’s heads. There’s no railing or anything as protective measure. Our tour guide said they were too close to the edge and people did fall off the cliff while getting pictures taken in the not distant pasts. The Navajo people say they could smell your death as the body decomposed.

Camping sites opposite of Horseshoe Bend Observation Point.

Camping sites opposite of Horseshoe Bend Observation Point.

We had nothing new to see on our way back. Our tour guide turned the motor to full speed and our pontoon raft was zooming on the river back to where we boarded the raft.

It’s our most expensive day of our trip, but we enjoyed the surreal experience of walking on the Lower Antelope Canyon floor while mesmerized by its beauty, and being in the Glen Canyon and rafting on the Colorado River.

After eating dinner at a Pizza Hut, we were on our way again to our next destination – the Grand Canyon.

We checked into our hotel a little over 9 pm. The hotel was very fancy, and it even had a gift shop. It also had four buildings for hotel rooms and was expanding to add even more.

Financial Implications of the Day: Would’ve Cost:$953.99, Actual Cost:$653.99

  • Hotel Best Western in Tusayan does’t have free breakfast: $300, cost us 0
  • Lower Antelope Canyon tour admission was $86 + $5 tip = $91
  • Subway lunch: $26.07
  • Smooth Water Rafting $440 + $5 tip = $445
  • Circle K cold drink x 4 in Page: $2.62
  • Pizza Hut dinner in Page: $21.05 with a $10 coupon
  • Grand Canyon entrance fee: $30 per car
  • Milk in hotel: $2.75 x 3 = $8.25
  • Gas: $30

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