Awoke early again on Tues. morning. A cold front had blown in overnight and it was cool and quite breezy. Temps in Sedona today were going to be in the upper 70s vs low 90s during our 3 day stay. But it should be nice up north too. Excited to begin a new adventure, we packed the car and were on the road at exactly 6:30am. Ate bananas and Granola again as we headed up 89A towards Flagstaff. Reached the headwall of Oak Creek Canyon and once again bid adeu to Sedona. Stopped in Flagstaff to fill up the car. D*mn it was cold!! 46 and the wind was whipping. I shivered almost uncontrollably in my shorts and T-shirt and was glad to get back in the car and head up 89 towards Page. Got the cold left over pizza out of the cooler and ate as we drove up the highway.
The route was extremely desolate. Other than Cameron, "towns" consisted of anywhere from 6-12 houses or hogans scattered about. Where did they go to school we wondered. Groceries? Fuel? Water--where did the get their water? But as remote and barrren as the countryside was, it had an eerie beauty about it. We really enjoyed the trip as the scenery was so totally different but so interesting compared to anything we had seen before. It was actually a very scenic drive for someone never experiencing this type of area before.
We came across the intersection of 89 and 89A, and after making the right curve, we were looking straight at Echo Cliffs. Where the heck did the road go? Looks like it dead ends right into the base of the cliffs!! Then we saw that we were going to go up the side of the mountain, right over Echo Cliffs. A scenic overlook is on the way up the mountainside about 2/3rds the way up. Stopped for some beautiful photos. What a view. Overlooking the valley below, with the Vermillion Cliffs to the North and the Kaibab Plateau to the West--it was stunning to say the least.
Headed on towards Page eventually, and stopped at Horseshoe Bend. Comes up on you real quickly. In fact, we shot past it even thogh we were looking for it. The turn is not far past the sign, and we missed it and had to pull a U-turn. Horseshoe Bend Overlook is a beautiful look at the Colorado River. After a good bit of time there and many pictures, we headed to Page.
K-bot, I would like to say you live in a lovely town. Well laid out since it is so new, it was easy to navigate around. We especially liked "Church Row"--when they developed the town, all the churches are lined up one after another on Lake Powell Blvd. We found our hotel (Best Western Arizona) and the Canyon River Rafting HQ, as we were set to do the afternoon smooth water float.
After getting our bearings and finding where we needed to go, we headed for the Glen Canyon Dam and the accompaning visitor Center. We had no time for a tour, but spent quite a while taking pictures, admiring the dam and gazing out into Lake Powell. Read all about the construction and were amazed at the speed and also technical aspects of building such a superstructure in such a remote area. It was now time to be at the float HQ, so we left and went to check in for the float.
After checking in, we ordered 2 boxed lunches from their deli, and waited for our instructions. Hopped on a Scenic Cruiser bus, ate our sandwiches, and headed down the 2 mile tunnel to the base of the Dam to board our rafts. Sitting in that raft, as we left civilization, one could not help but feel so small and insignificant looking up at that huge concrete dam and the beautiful towering canyon walls enveloping you. It was quite a moment.
Our guide was Adam, a young man who had grown up in Page, fishing and rafting the Colorado since a young boy with his father. He was fun, and filled with information. A mile or two down the river, pointing to the right cliffs, with his eagle eyes he had spotted a female Dahl Sheep with a young one nearby. That was awesome to see.
We stopped about half way for potty break and Petroglyphs. The ancient Petroglyphs are so interesting--to think that ancient peoples lived down here so long ago--another moment of feeling so small and insignificant in the big scheme of things. Through Horseshoe bent--the people looking down from where we just were looked smaller than ants--more like pinheads. We eventually reached our destination around 5:30 at Lee's Ferry and disembarked. What a wonderful experience. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a chance to go. For us, the weather was absolutely perfect that afternoon. 76 in Page, so maybe 80ish on the river. Not too hot in the sun and not too cool in the shade. Not a cloud in the sky and the blueness surrounded by the red hues of the canyon walls was eye-popping. A great trip.
An hour drive back on the bus being entertained and educated by our driver we arrived back at the float HQ at 6:30. We decided to check out some menus--so we went to the Blue Buddha. It was rated so highly, but not liking sushi, we wanted to see their other offerings. Nope--not enough other things to choose from for our liking so we headed to Bonkers. The hostess saw us looking over the menu posted outside and came out with some small ones for us to take with us. She was so pleasant (might have been the owner) and the menu looked so enticing that we decided to eat here after cleaning up.
Back at the BWestern (which I highly recommend --very clean and nicely appointed rooms, friendly staff, absolutely zero complaints) it was 7:30 and we debated going out to eat--we were pretty tired, but a shower re-invigorated us and we headed to Bonkers.
I can't say enough nice things about this restaurant. I would put it up against any restaurant we ate at in our two trips to Sedona with the exception of Cafe Eolote. It was a superb dinner, the 2nd best we had on this trip, second only to Elote. So many mediocre ratings on Page restaurants, this one stands out. (a review has been posted) Fully sated we retired back to the BW for the night.
The next morning, up at 5 again, we loaded up and ate breakfast at the hotel breakfast bar. We needed to be at Chief Tsosie's for our Antelope Canyon tour at 8am for our 8:30 tour. It was cool this morning, but forcast for another cloudless 76 degree day. It was a very nice day shaping up. We found it's location, and went and filled up the car so we would be ready to leave directly for the North Rim after our tour.
Obviously, Antelope Canyon is the must do if in Page. After a drive across the bumpy sand flats while hanging onto our hats and a support bar and laughing the whole way, we arrived at the canyon opening. What marvelous, mysterious things the forces of nature can do to our planet. I really don't know what adjectives to use to describe what we were seeing. Beautiful doesn't even come close. We went on the Upper Canyon tour, and our guide was Vere. She was a most interesting person. Native American, multi-lingual (spoke both German and Spanish to tour members)and had been to Israel twice. She was full of knowledge of the area and local customs and religious symbolism in and around the Canyon. We thouroughly enjoyed this tour and felt it was time both well spent and definitely a "must do" if in the area.
After returning, we got in the car and began our treck down to 89A and our next adventure--two nights at the North Rim. We left Page wishing we had had more time, but glad we had included it in our itinerary. But excitement built as we drove off as we knew our next destination--the NRim--was going to be even better. To be continued.......