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