Thursday, May 31, 2012

North Rim Grand Canyon to Page AZ

Thursday, May 31, 2012 -

We were warm enough during the night but it gets light very early here – I think the sun came up at 5:15 or some awful hour….we were both awake at 6:00 and having gone to bed about 9:30 or 10:30 – going back and forth between AZ and UT that are on different times I am really not sure. Anyway we got up, made coffee and decided to drive the 30+ miles to Jacob’s Lake and have breakfast. It was 39 when we got up and the sun was shining brightly – the skies are so very blue. So we got a few photos in the early morning light and were at Jacob’s Lake for breakfast about 7.  They have a bakery and restaurant and gas station and gift shop and motel with cabins. We had stayed there before and remembered they served a good breakfast. We remembered right!
Camp De Motte
Deer near our campsite
 Then we began our drive east to Page. The journey of less than 100 miles took us all morning because we stopped so much. We were traveling on AZ 89A – and if ever in this area take this road. In the early morning with the sun shining on the Vermillion Cliffs –there simply are not words to describe the beauty that we witnessed for probably 60 miles.  We stopped a few times to read markers, take photos, and for Ben to collect rocks. We have been many interesting places and seen many wonderful and scenic sites but for me today is probably the most beautiful.  Of course I LOVE the red rock areas. These need some work to deepen the color but I do not have it in me tonight!

Vermillion Cliffs

Ben Collecting Red Sandstone
Jane near Lees Ferry
When we arrived at Lee’s Ferry we stopped for a short walk to the home of the ferry manager in the early 1900’s. They have a fruit orchard and the apricots were ripe and everyone was invited to pick a few. Even Ben (who hates apricots) said oh this is good tastes nothing like a canned apricot! We drove down to the area where all the Colorado rafting trips get their start. There was a group there – looked like 2 rafts for the riders and 3 much larger ones for the supplies. The traffic on the river is highly regulated by the Park Service. Individuals who want to go on their own have a year or more wait for a permit. The outfitters handle most of the traffic. This group looked like they were about ready to leave. As we were getting back on the highway about 20 minutes later it looked like another group was arriving by van and bus. They various trips take from 3-18 days depending on type of boat and distance.  There are few places to access the Colorado besides here. The river looks so peaceful here but not so on up the way.

Lees Ferry
Ripe Apricots at Lees Ferry
From Lee’s Ferry we visited Navajo Bridge and saw some of the rafters heading down the river.
As we climbed the last mountain to head into Page we were stopped for 5 minutes for road construction. The roadman told us it was their yearly clean-up of the rocks that fall down on the right-of-way along the road…no one could have asked for a more beautiful view for road construction!

Page was a surprise – we both remembered it as not much of a town – remembered staying an OK motel and eating at an OK restaurant. The place has really blossomed. There were lots of new modern motels and hotels and all that goes with them. We drove on a couple miles north of Page to Wahweap Resort and Marina on Lake Powell. This is quite a place. Huge resort hotel with restaurants, boat tours, gift shops etc.  In the marina are more house and pleasure boats than we have seen in a long time – and I mean BIG houseboats! Adjacent is a very nice campground with all the amenities. The one thing that is strange is you pay $2 for a shower. Interesting that a shower is $2 and a load of laundry is only $1.  Guess they think there are more dirty people than dirty clothes.  Nice bathroom right across from our campsite but for the shower it is down about ¼ mile to the store/office/shower and laundromat.  There are probably 300 sites in this campground. Largest one we have been in this trip. And it seems to be filling up as I write this about 7:30.  So it will probably be full for the weekend. 

Since we will be here until Saturday and it is HOT and there is little shade – we pulled out beach tent out and let a little Florida sand mingle with the red Arizona sand….we had not put this up since our last beach trip to the Keys.  It fits over the picnic table and gives a little shade. It was in the mid 90’s when we arrived but now it is 85 and very pleasant. With low humidity the 85 is very comfortable. The sun is setting now at 7:40. We expect the temperature to be down to 70 by bedtime. I really would like to take a good sunset photo.  The colors are good but there is just not a good vantage point.
Our Campsite at Wahweep
View of Lake Powell from Campsite
We spent a lazy afternoon in the shade reading, downloading 2 days of photos, posting yesterday’s blog and also a lot of nothing…we are on vacation after all!

About 4:30 we headed into town for some necessities and bought some cold deli food for supper – just did not want anything hot!  We also stopped at the tour desk to check on our tour for tomorrow morning. It leaves at 7:30 so we will be getting up early again tomorrow. 

The park has telescopes set up and when it gets dark will be looking at stars. Our campsite is on a hillside elevated just enough we have a great view of Lake Powell. Lake Powell was formed when Glen Canyon Dam was built between 1956 and 1966 to provide electricity and regulate the water along the Colorado.  Much controversy still exists over the changes the dam caused in the lower Colorado.

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