2019 Fall Gateway




To Canyon Country and the Grand Circle

Hike Willis Creek Canyon

Kayak Glen Canyon

Musings from the Grand Canyon

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 1

Winter Hours:

November 1-

February 28

8:45 am - 2:45 pm

7 Days a Week

Summer Hours:

March 1 -

October 31

7:45 am - 4:15 pm

7 Days a Week

Hiking Tours Depart

Every 30 Minutes

$48 00* Adults

Per Person. Includes

Navajo Nation Permit Fee.

$28 00* Children

8-12 Years Old. Per Person.

Includes Navajo Nation

Permit Fee.

0-7 Years FREE

All Tours Are Guided



• Bottled Water

• Closed-Toe Hiking Shoes

• Sun Screen & Hat

Hiking Tours Depart Every 30 minutes





*Prices subject to change.

2 Gateway to Canyon Country

Set against the dazzling Glen

Canyon Overlook off Highway

89, the Sleep Inn & Suites® hotel

and Baymont Inn & Suites® hotel

in Page puts guests close to

gorgeous Arizona landmarks like

Horseshoe Bend and Rainbow



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AZ, 86040, US Phone: (928)

645-2020 Fax: (928) 645-4950

These non-smoking affordable

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• Antelope Canyon

• Horseshoe Bend

• Lake Powell

• Wahweap Overlook

• John Wesley Powell Museum

• Water Holes Canyon

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All guest rooms offer a 40-inch HDTV and desk. Some rooms feature a balcony,

coffee maker, whirlpool, microwave, refrigerator, sofa sleeper

and in-room tea and coffee.

Dream better at the Sleep Inn & Suites

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Hotels in Page, AZ offer cozy,

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677 Scenic View Rd, Page AZ

Ph: 928-645-5050 • Fax: 928-645-0028

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 3

Dispatch from the Editor

This dispatch is being written from Point

Imperial, an overlook on the Grand Canyon’s

North Rim with a sublime view to the east. Less

than five feet in front of me the ground drops

away and away and away through nine rock layers,

and finally ends 5,800 feet below me at the

Colorado River. From my vantage I can see a

little green sliver of it, which includes Kwagunt

Rapid, far below me.

The Grand Canyon, celebrated its 100th anniversary

of being a national park this year, and

due to that milestone there has been a lot of discussion

about the Grand Canyon this year, and

a lot of events and festivals to commemorate

our great love and appreciation for this special

place; a place that is certainly one of the greatest

on the planet.

The crown that is the Grand Circle is emblazoned

with many spectacular gems, among them

Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument

Valley, The Wave, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe

Bend. In my opinion, the shiniest gem in

the Grand Circle’s crown is the Grand Canyon.

Just sitting on its edge, looking out across

it peaks, pyramids, buttes, towers and numerous

sidecanyons, is a sublime experience.

And exploring the Grand Canyon from floor

level reveals so much more. I had the great,

great fortune of being a Grand Canyon river

guide for eight seasons and I can tell you that

seeing the Grand Canyon from the bottom looking

up is just as amazing – if not more so –

than seeing it from the top. And from my eight

years as a river guide inside the Grand Canyon

I can also tell you this: The Grand Canyon is

an amazing, singular paradise. And inside it, if

you’re fortunate to spend a good amount of time

exploring it, you’ll find another thousand hidden

paradises. You’ll find them tucked at the back

of Elves Chasm, or Tapeats Creek. The view

from the top of Nankoweap Trail. Splashing

through Monsoon pools in Tuckup Canyon. The

sandstone pillar, standing like an ancient sundial,

when you hike from Hermit Camp to Granite

Camp. And many others.

I spent eight seasons as a Grand Canyon river

guide. But here’s a strange thing. I’ve visited

the rim of the Grand Canyon fewer than ten

times, even though I live only two and a half

hours from either rim.

My friends, especially those who live outside

of the Grand Staircse, are always astounded to

hear that I’ve only been to the rims of the Grand

Canyon five or six times. But there’s a good

reason why: remember that thing I said above,

about the Grand Canyon having a thousand little

hidden pockets of paradise, splendor,

wonder hidden inside of it? The same

holds true for Zion, Arches, Canyonlands

and Monument Valley. They all

have dozens or hundreds of their own

little paradises tucked away inside of

them, and I spend a good bit of my free

time finding them, and exploring them.

And contemplating them. And those

places are just the paradises inside gems

of the crown. Within the Grand Circle

itself lie thousands upon thousands

more such places. If I could grant myself

five lifetimes, I still couldn’t visit

all of them.

So happy 100th birthday Grand Canyon!

To me, it seems silly – pure human

hubris – to celebrate the 100th birthday,

or anniversary of a place that’s

been around for millions of years. Perhaps

a better way of looking at it is this

year marks the 100th anniversary of the

day humans were wise enough to realize

that a place on earth had value beyond

what could be extracted from it.

Much of that credit needs to go to

President Theodore Roosevelt who designated

the Grand Canyon a National

Monument in 1908 (declaring it a national

park was outside the scope of his

presidential powers).

To President Roosevelt the Congressmen

who designated the Grand

Canyon a national park preserving it

for my and my daughter’s generation, I

thank you, and salute your foresight.

Steven Law



to Canyon Country

is produced four times a year by the

staff of the

Lake Powell Chronicle,

P.O. BOX 1716, Page, AZ 86040.

Copyright 2019 News Media Corp.

Phone 928.645.8888

Fax 928.645.2209


Mike Caywood



Steven Law



Steven Law

Nicole M. Anderson

Phil Clark


Marty Sisk



Ed Pease


Norma Tsinnijinnie



Jim Blittersdorf

John Baker

Connect With Us:






4 Gateway to Canyon Country

Pow Wow Trading Post

Specializing in


American Arts

& Crafts

635 Elm Street, Page, Arizona

powwowtradiingpost.com • 928.645-2140

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 5

Gateway to Canyon Country

Autumn 2019


6 Gateway to Canyon Country

Favorite Hike:

Navajo Mountain to

Rainbow Bridge

Page 10

A Slice of Cake on a Slice of Beach

In a Slice of Paradise

A smoothwater kayak in Glen Canyon

Page 24

Musings from the Grand Canyon

Page 30

By Phil Clark

By Steven Law

By Nicole M. Anderson

Photo, this page by Steven Law: Desert Rapture.

Hikers in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

Cover Photo by Steven Law: River Revelry.

Sharon Woodard enjoys a day kayaking in Glen


www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 7


880 Haul Rd.,

Page, AZ

Comforts of Home

At Country, hospitality is more personal.

A welcoming smile, breakfast on a real

plate, a complimentary Wi-Fi connection

to those you love. Enjoy the comforts that

make you feel like family.

Complimentary Hot Breakfast

Complimentary High-Speed Wi-Fi

Read It & Return Lending Library

8 Gateway to Canyon Country

New Owners • New Name

(formerly Flying M Restaurant)

Grand Opening

Everybody Welcome!

“Come try our hog wild fries”

614 N. Main,

Panguitch, Utah





Located on the

Colorado River

Established 1926

125 Miles North of Flagstaff On

The Colorado River at Lees Ferry

Fishing • Hiking



Motel • Restaurant

Fishing Supplies • Landing Strip

Boat Storage • Trading Post

Indian Jewelry & Rugs

Gas Station • Convenience Store

Coin-op Laundry • U.S. Post Office



Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 6001,

Marble Canyon, AZ 86036

Call or Write

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 9

favorite hike

Navajo Mountain to

Rainbow Bridge

10 Gateway to Canyon Country

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 11

During this challenging multi-day hike, backpackers will travel

through some of the most remote, most beautiful country in America.

12 Gateway to Canyon Country

Story and photos by Phil Clark

Rainbow Bridge is a huge natural stone ridge in a remote part of

southern Utah and is sacred to Native Americans. There are two

ways to get to Rainbow Bridge: by boat or on foot. I recently went

on foot, with a full pack and with four other new friends.

William Howard Taft established Rainbow Bridge National Monument by

Presidential Proclamation in May 1910. The National Monument preserves

a unique and impressively large natural bridge which has been known to Native

Americans long before the arrival of anglos to the Colorado Plateau. It

arcs across the sky as if a rainbow indeed turned into a reddish brown sandstone

arch streaked with desert varnish. From its base to the top of the arch,

it is 290 feet-nearly the height of the Statue of Liberty-and spans 275 feet

across the arroyo. Navajo stories tell of a male and a female rainbow person

coming together in perfect union, and being frozen in time. This rock rainbow

is particularly special because it looks like a rainbow from both sides,

which is quite rare.

Everyone has a bucket list. Mine is still a work in progress and hiking

to Rainbow Bridge was one of the items on that list. A friend of mine announced

one day on Facebook that he was organizing a backpacking trip to

Rainbow Bridge and to let him know if anyone was interested in going. I

jumped at the chance. To hike to Rainbow Bridge, the party must have a

Navajo Nation hiking permit. The group leader was in charge of that. The

rest of us just had to get our packs ready and show up.

Five of us showed up at the rendezvous address and piled our heavy packs

in the back of a friend's pickup. As I hoisted my pack, an 'old school' Kelty

frame, I was glad it was not as heavy as usual. At 44 pounds with water,

while lighter than usual, it still felt heavy.

We drove some 100 miles to the trailhead on a day when the skies were

clear and hardly a breeze was blowing. The wildflowers were highlighting

the landscape with color as we approached the trailhead. After leaving

the paved road, the roads weren't marked and criss-crossed through the sandy

and rocky landscape. Our leader knew the way. Finally, we got to the

trailhead and the view was already impressive. We had only a hint of what

awaited us. Some in the group had been on the hike. The rest of us hadn't.

The hike is not for the novice backpacker. While the net elevation drop

from trailhead to Lake Powell is around 2200 feet, the hike has plenty of uphills

to climb for a net elevation gain. The two longest steep climbs ended

up easier than they looked from the bottom, even in the 80s heat.

Water is the crucial factor in deciding when to go. A person needs four

liters of water to start the trip, the minimum for one day. Some years, the

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 13

streams dry up. This year, with the generous

snows we didn't have to worry about water. The

trails were originally established by the Civilian

Conservation Corps and could use a little tender

loving care. The condition of the trails varied from

just walking across a packed sand path to switchbacks

that were covered with round rocks. Cairns

were frequently well placed to make following the

trail easy. Sometimes it seemed there were too

many cairns. One of the hikers in our group successfully

hiked the entire trail in Chaco flip flops

without injury! I swore that, after seeing her accomplish

this feat, I wouldn't make fun of another

hiker in flip flops! To each their own! I'll just use


As we hiked up and down the trail, the beauty

around us kept changing. From a distance, Navajo

Mountain, which towers above Rainbow Bridge,

doesn't look all that jagged. The landscape unfolded

with amazing rock formations including fins

and canyons. We didn't have time to explore many

nearby places, and made a mental note to spend a

day longer, next time, to allow exploration. A look

at the topo map shows a general east-west line of

canyons, fins and cracks.

Several hours later, and countless photos taken,

our leader identifies our camp site for the night. It

is on a high, flat area with a splendidly expansive

view to the north. In the distance rose the Henry

Mountains. Between the Henrys and our camp,

thousands of canyons and countless rock formations

lie between. Water was about 1/2 mile away

from camp. While plentiful, it still needed to be

hauled to camp. I pulled out a featherweight cloth

bucket-bag and filled it with about a gallon of water.

One of the other hikers in our group and I

shared the task of hauling this precious resource.

We hung out by the campfire for a while, cooking

steaks and potatoes in the coals, fresh swiss chard

sauteed on a nearby backpacker's stove rounded off

14 Gateway to Canyon Country

the evening meal.

The next day was the longest, most challenging

day. As a reward for our efforts, we were greeted

with beauty at almost every turn. The wildflower

blooms kept changing with new colors and shapes

for each mile or two rarely leaving an area flower-less.

The ridges in the distance took shape as

masses of sandstone fins cut by canyons. At seemingly

each turn in the trail, the scenery just got better.

The water kept being plentiful with a couple

chances to top canteens as we hiked. We all had

our water treatment systems and it isn't advisable

ing walls that likely dated back to the CCC days.

Luckily the switchbacks were still there to allow

climbing out of the canyons.

The scenery continued to lay itself out in front

of us. We hiked over dome shaped rock, sandy

washes, through bushes and down a crack wide

enough for a backpack which led to the main canyon,

the canyon we would continue to follow tomorrow.

Tonight, the group stayed where they

had stayed before, in a deep canyon with a flattish

area to set up tents and kitchens.

As we set up the camp, we heard the sound of

to drink untreated water. At lunch we soaked frogs croaking in the canyon. With the many alcoves

our sore feet and basked in the sun. Some wandered

off to a nearby sandstone dome. I focused

on wildflowers and let my eyes take me around the


After lunch we continued to make our way to

carved out by the creek, the amphibians may

have figured out how to amplify their sound by

sitting in the sweet spot of an alcove. They were

loud. I spent a long time listening to the sounds of

nature at camp. The amplified frog sounds were

the ultimate goal of the trip. Rainbow Bridge itself.

It was that afternoon I saw some trail retain- See Rainbow page 22

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 15

Cowboy Cookin’ at

Juicy Steaks & more!

Freshly made



Navajo Tacos!

Great Food &

Great Prices -

come on down

and see for


Fresh Salad Bar!

Open 11 am to 2 pm; 5 pm to close

718 Vista Ave., Page, AZ • 928-645-0908

16 Gateway to Canyon Country


Bay Warm Creek






Point Marina

State Line Launch









San Jaun



Creek Bay

Bullfrog Bay








Hite Marina

Lake Powell

Lone Rock Beach/

Fee Camping

Last Chance Bay

Padre Bay


Marina & Launch


Glen Canyon Dam

West Canyon

Navajo Canyon



Marina &









Rainbow Bridge



Wahweap Marina

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 17

18 Gateway to Canyon Country

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 19


Morgan Rd.

Hawk Ct.

Falcon Ct.

Elk Rd.

Cameron St.

Bonita Rd. W

Bonita St. Bonita Rd. W

Piute Piute Ct.

Castle Rock St.


Del Barrco Ave.



Page Hospital

Urgent Care

Police Station

Fire Station




Must See

Visitors’ Centers

Scenic Overlooks


Lake Access



Golf Course

United States Post Office


To Glen Canyon Dam

Wahweap Marina

& Kanab, UT

Glen Canyon

Dam Overlook


View Rd.


N. Navajo Dr.


Lake Powell

National Golf


Powell Lake N

Date St.

Clubhouse Dr.




Navajo N.



Fir St.





19th Ave.

Pueblo Dr.


Rim View

N. Navajo Dr.

18th Ave.



17th Ave.



15th Ave.

14th Ave.

6th Ave.

13th Ave.



20th Ave.






7th S.

Elm St.


Mesa Dr.




Grandview St.

13th Ct.



N. 10th Ave.

Hemlock St.

Pine St.

Poplar St.

S. Lake Powell Blvd.

View Dr.


14th Ave.





Padre Escalante Dr.



Cathedral Ave.

Coconino St.

Kachina Kachina

20th Ave.

Westview Dr.

10th N. Ave.

Aero Ave.

Plateau Ct.



7th Ave.

Grandview St.


Mesa Red

8th Ave.

Gunsight St.

S. 9th Ave.

Grandview St.

Glen Canyon Dr.

Gunsight St.



Glen Canyon Dr.

Thunderbird Ave.

Gramdview St.


Tower Butte Ave.

Page Municipal Airport

Redrock St.

Mirage St.




Cll Hermosa

Pondersoa St.

Juniper Ave.

Cypress Ave.

Tamarisk St.



Colorado St.

Willow St.

Vermilion Ave.

Tower Butte Ave.

Sage Ave.

S. Navajo Dr.


S. Navajo Dr.

1st Ave.





Cedar St.



Aspen St.

Date St.

S. Navajo Dr.



5th Ave.

John C.

Page Park




E 6



S. Lake Powell Blvd.

Aqua Ave.


S. 9th

Oak St.

Village Dr.

Veronica Ct.

Antelope Ave.

Cheryl Ave.

Diane Ct.

Sunrise St.

Hopi Ave.

Lakeside Ct.

Sage Ave.

Elm St.


Haul Rd.

S. Lake Powell Blvd.

Kaibab Rd.

Haul Rd.

Golden Eagle Ct.


Cache Rd.

Bran Rd.


S. Lake Powell Blvd.

Cemetery Rd.

San Francisco Rd.

Azure Rd.


Cameron St.



Public Library

Cascade St.

Manson Rd.

Marble Rd.


Via Valdez

Jerome St.t

Newburn Rd.

Maverick Loop



Coppermine Rd.

Coppermine Rd.

Sandpiper Dr.

Osprey Dr.

Buckeye Dr.


Appaloosa Rd.

e Powell S. Lake Blvd. Powell Blvd.

Cameron St.

Haul Rd.

Palomino Rd.

Clydesdale Rd.

Cliff Ct.

Manson Rd.

Packer Ct.

Bass Ct.



Sunset Rd. W Sunset St.



To Horseshoe Bend

lake powell






Mustang Rd.

San Francisco Rd.


Azure Rd.




Sunset St.

Aztec St.

Amand Cir.

Scott’s Lake Powell Printing ©2015 All Rights Reserved

315 S. 12th Street :: Montrose, CO 81401 :: 928-645-3663 :: scottb@scottsprinting.com |Reproduction of the whole or any part of this publication, by any method for any purpose whatever, without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited.

Amado Rd. W

Amado St.

Bonita Loop

Cameron St.

To Antelope Point Marina

Navajo Generating Station

& Kayenta, AZ


To Flagstaff, AZ

Aero Ave. C, D-2

Amado St. C-4

Amado Rd. W. C-4

Armand Cir. C-4

Antelope Ave. D-3

Appaloosa Rd. B-5

Aqua Ave. D-3

Aspen St. C-3

Aztec St. C-4

Azure Rd. B-4

Bran Rd. B-4

Bass Ct. C-3

Birch St. B,C-3

Bonita Lp. C-4

Bonita Rd. W. C-4

Bonita St. C-4

Buckeye Dr. D-4

Bureau St. C-2

Butte Ct. C-1

Cll. Hermosa D-2

Cache Rd. B-4

Cameron St. B-3, D-3,4

Cascade St. C-4

Castle Rock St. C-2

Cathedral Ave. C-2

Cedar St. B,C-3

Cemetery Rd. B-3,4

Cheryl Ave. D-3

Cliff Ct. B-3

Clubhouse Dr. B-1,2

Clydesale Rd. B-4

Coconino St. C-2

Colorado St. D-2

Coppermine Rd. (89T)


Crestview Ave. D-2

Cypress Ave. D-2

Date St. B-2,3,C-3

Del Barrco Ave. D-2

Diane Ct. D-3

Driftwood Ave. D-2

Eagle Dr. B,C-2

Elk Rd. B-3,4

Elm St. B,C-2

El Mirage St. D-2

Falcon Ct. B-4

Fir St. C-2

Glen Canyon Dr. D-1,2

Granada Rd. C-4

Grandview St. C-1,2


Golden Eagle Ct. B-3,4

Gum St. B,C-2

Gunsight St. C-1, D-1,2

Haul Rd. A,B,C,D-4

Hawk Ct. B-4

Hemlock St. C-2

Hopi Ave. D-3

Jerome St. C-4

street index

Juniper Ave. D-2

Kachina St. C-2

Kaibab Rd. B-3,4

Knoll Ave. C-1

Lake Powell Blvd.

A-3,B-1,3,C-1,2,3, D-3

Lakeside Ct. D-3

Manson Rd. B,C-3

Marble Rd. C-3

Maverick Lp. C-4

Mesa Dr. C-1

Morgan Rd. B-4,5

Mustang Rd. B-5

Navajo Dr. B,C-1,2,3,


Newburn Rd. C-3,4

Oak St. D-3

O’Neil Lp. B-4

Osprey Dr. D-3

Packer Ct. C-3

Padre Escalante Dr.


Palomino Rd. B-4

Pine St. C-2

Pinto Rd. B-5

Piute Ct. C-3

Plateau Ct. C,D-1

Ponderosa St. D-2

Poplar St. C-2

Pueblo Dr. C-1

Red Mesa Ave. C-2

Redrock St. D-2

Rim View Dr. C-1

Rimview Dr. C-2

Sage Ave.

Sandpiper Dr.



San Francisco Rd. B,C-4

Scenic View Rd. B-1,2

Shetland B-5

Spruce D-2

Sunrise St. D-3

Sunset St. B-4

Sunset Rd. W. B-3,4

Tamerisk St. D-2

Thunderbird Ave. C,D-2

Tower Butte Ave. D-2

Turquoise Ave. C-2

Valley Ct. C-1

Vermilion Ave. D-2

Veronica Ct. D-3

Via Valdez C-4

W. View Dr. C-1

Village Dr. D-3

Vista Ave. C-1,2

Westview Dr. C-1

Willow St. D-2

1st Ave. B-2,3

2nd Ave. B-3

3rd Ave. B,C-3

4th Ave. C-2,3

5th Ave. C-2,3

6th Ave. C-2,3

7th Ave. C-2

8th Ave. C,D-2

9th Ave. C,D-2,3

N. 10th Ave. C-1,2

10th St. D-1,2

11th Ave. C,D-1

12th Ave. C-1

13th Ave. C-1

13th Ct. C-1

14th Ave. C-1

15th Ave. C-1

16th Ave. C-1

17th Ave. C-1

18th Ave. C-1

19th Ave. C-1

20th Ave. C,D-1

20 Gateway to Canyon Country

The Comfort Inn & Suites®

hotel in Page, Arizona

offers easy access to a variety of

outdoor activities along the Colorado

River, including water skiing, hiking,

biking, fishing, golfing and raft trips.

This Page, AZ hotel is also

convenient to Horseshoe Bend

and Antelope Canyon.

Guests of the Comfort Inn & Suites will appreciate our many amenities including:

• Free wireless high-speed Internet access • Business center

• Heated indoor pool & Jacuzzi! • Complimentary hot breakfast • Fitness Room


890 Haul Road, Page, AZ

Indoor heated pool & jacuzzi

The Rodeway Inn® is located close

to Powell Museum and Lake Powell

National Golf Course.

Recreational amenities include an

outdoor pool. Those traveling on

business have access to a

business center at this hotel.

Complimentary wireless Internet

access is available in public areas.

Self parking is complimentary.

Additional property amenities include

free WiFi, laundry facilities, and a

picnic area. Some accommodations

have balconies or patios if available.

Free hot breakfast. All rooms with flat

screen TV’s, microwave, refrigerator,

coffee pot and hair dryer.

Great Wall of China Restaurant

inside the Rodeway Inn

Downtown Page, AZ

107 S. Lake Powell Blvd., Page, AZ • 928-645-2406

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 21

Rainbow from page 15

just one of the 'instruments' that were playing. Crickets

were punctuating the sound with their contribution.

The sound of the creek was the percussion section in

the sound of water gently flowing over rocks serving as

background 'beat'. The 'orchestra' was mesmerizing. At

first my fellow campers offered their own track with their

camp stories. I found that by moving around along the

creek, the various 'tracks' of sound changed with the frog

sounds becoming louder, the further away from human

voices I went.

It bad been a long, strenuous day and as I listened to

the frogs, I was grateful

for the opportunity to

have gone on this hike.

Grateful to have seen

such incredible scenery.

Grateful that nothing

bad happened. Grateful

for my new friends.

The camp felt a lot like

a river camp that one

might find along the

Colorado River or any

of the other wet canyons

of the Colorado

Plateau. We hung out

and talked for a while

before fatigue took over

and it was time to fall

asleep, looking at the

star-filled sky.

The last day proved

to be the most windy.

We packed up camp

quickly and finished

breakfast. We all knew

that today would be the

easiest backpacking day and the day we would see Rainbow

Bridge. We only had three miles to cover and several

hours til our rendezvous with another friend with a

boat to take us back to Antelope Point Marina.

We hiked down the canyon. Not too far, one in our

group noticed a small 'tub' of water in the creek. Even

though we hadn't gone long, the idea of getting wet was

enticing. Hesitating for a while, we finally decided to

cool off. Good choice, I thought, as we carefully let ourselves

into the water. The water was perfect. A little

cold, to preclude sudden immersion, and didn't take long

to get used to. Wish we had known about it yesterday!

We continued following the trail and the canyon, stopping

at the site of an old cowboy camp. Above the camp

was a tall and deep alcove. Some in the group scrambled

inside the alcove. Others just relaxed and enjoyed the

scene. Throughout the hike, we saw various man-made

structures. Some appeared to be native sheep camps.

At last, the edge of the stone rainbow came into view.

Just a portion of it but it was unmistakable. Before long,

we crossed the fence with the National Park Service sign

marking the official Monument boundary. It had been

a long time since I had seen Rainbow Bridge and never

got to see it appear from the upstream, sunnier side.

When so near, it doesn't seem like the US Capitol or even

most of the Statue of

Liberty could fit underneath,

but I don't

doubt it. I remember

the day when it wasn't

a long walk from the

boat dock to be able

to get a view of the

bridge. The waters of

Lake Powell used to be

under the bridge. Today,

some thirty years

later, the trail from the

bridge is over a mile

long and it seemed to

be the longest of the

entire trip.

We enjoyed the moment

of being at Rainbow

Bridge. The ravens

were sailing

through the canyon.

The canyon flowed water

and formed a variety

of pools. The

winds had died down. There were very few others. It

was peaceful. As if blessed, we had beauty all around

us for our entire trip. The Bridge still is as impressive as

ever. A near-perfect half circle, connected on one side to

a cliff.

Once on the boat, refreshments in hand, the ride was

a bit bumpy with a lot of white caps on the water. Our

friend's boat cut through the water like a knife. The

wind that woke us up this morning had just increased,

foretelling a storm passing through. Luckily we had

excellent weather for the three days. The next day, it


22 Gateway to Canyon Country

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www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 23

A slice of cake

on a slice of beach

In a slice of Paradise

Smoothwater kayaking on the Colorado River between

the Glen Canyon Dam and Lee’s Ferry

24 Gateway to Canyon Country

Story and photos by Steven Law

The river is coke bottle green. The mid-morning

sunlight falls gently on whiskey-colored

cliff walls. The Cicadas are making their rasping

noises from the tamarisk trees which line

shores, a sound like a card dealer repeatedly fanning his

thumb over the edges of a deck of cards.

Up on the rim the temperature on this August morning

is already in the mid-90s, but down in the bottom of

Glen Canyon, which only recently emerged from the canyon’s

wall shadow, the temperature is ten degrees cooler.

We arrange our small amounts of gear in our kayaks

– water bottles, lunches, and cameras in drybags – then

push off the bank and into the current. The river below

the Glen Canyon dam is exceptionally clear and healthy.

Looking over the side of our kayaks into the water we

see trout swimming beneath us and a healthy ecosystem

of river weeds and other aquatic plants waving in the water.

To get to this spot on the river we hired a company

called Kayak the Colorado to haul our kayaks, gear and

ourselves from Lee’s Ferry up the river. We choose to

disembark about 10 miles upriver at a beach and campsite

called Ferry Swale. There are seven of us, a group

of friends from Page, Arizona. We’re also joined by an

old friend of mine, and his mom, from Oakland, California.

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 25

The Colorado River has some amazing, world-class

whitewater, but there is no whitewater along the stretch

between the Glen Canyon Dam and Lee’s Ferry. We are

not in whitewater, fast-action, highly-maneuverable kayaks,

but long, roomy sea kayaks.

This stretch of the river flows at four miles per hour.

Most of the paddling we do is to stay out of the eddies,

or to move closer to get a better look at some ducks, or

some wild horses grazing on the river bank.

It’s August 4, 2019. We chose to float this section of

the Colorado River because it is an auspicious day. Exactly

150 years earlier, on Aug. 4, 1869, John Wesley

Powell and his crew floated through this section of Glen

Canyon. They camped the night of Aug. 3 just above the

Crossing of the Father’s and camped the night of Aug. 4

at what is now Lee’s Ferry.

On the night Powell and his men camped at the spot in

1869 it was just another empty spot inside a massive empty


After paddling/floating for about 45 minutes we pull our

kayaks onto a beach

where we disembark

from our lovely

fleet. Because it is

an auspicious date,

we run into several

more friends of

ours from Page who

are also on the river


the day. Some

are on kayaks, some

on a drift boat. Two

of them, Mick and

Gina Swapp, are on

a pimped-out pontoon

boat, named

River Time.

Mick and Gina are celebrating another big occasion:

Mick’s 63rd birthday. A man in our group, George Hardeen,

works with Mick and knew that it was his birthday,

and so he brought with him a birthday cake, which he presented

to Mick. For years Mick worked weekends as a

river guide on this stretch of river, something his friend

George does currently.

These four different groups of friends, even though we

came separately and launched at different times, just happened

to converge at Petros Beach at the same times and

we spend 30 minutes saying hello to each other. Shannon

offers me a beer. Mick offers to let me use his blower to

air up my inflatable kayak, which I had failed to pump as

tight as it should have been. We then leave the river and

walk up a sand trail to see the famous “Descending Antelope”

petroglyph panel, which depicts antelope, humans,

bighorn sheep and abstract etchings which are harder to

interpret their meaning.

After viewing the petroglyph panel we return to our kayaks

and push out onto the river again and here we enter the

Horseshoe Bend section of the river.

We float. We paddle. We drift. We trail our hands in the

cold water. We take out cameras and phones and take photos

of the beautiful day. I lay my paddle across my kayak

and let the lazy river take it. The nose catches a slight

eddy, which slowly spins my kayak around like a compass

needle lazily searching for north. I lie back and let the river

carry me downriver, while I gently spin about and gaze

at the sky and watch the light change on the cliff walls like

chameleon skin.

In this manner I,

and the members

of my group, pass

through Horseshoe

Bend and a short

distance below that

we pull over to another

beach – a place

called Lunch Beach

– to stretch our legs

and slow down the

trip. With the river

flowing at four miles

an hour, our wonderful

day on the river

will be over too soon

if we don’t make a

few stops along the


The other group of kayakers, and the Swapps pull over

too. Here Mick gets out the birthday cake George had

presented him earlier in the day. In true boatman style, he

slices it with his fish knife, then gives everyone a slice.

We sing him Happy Birthday. And there we each eat a

slice of cake on a slice of beach inside a slice of paradise.

Not bad, not bad.

After half an hour on the beach we get back on our

kayaks and go a short distance downriver. Here Mick and

26 Gateway to Canyon Country

Gina pull River Time into the shade against the left

cliff wall and tie off to a piton anchored into the wall.

There Mick gets out his guitar and the kayakers, still

in their kayaks, pull in close and listen to Mick play

his guitar and sing some of his original river songs,

which were inspired by this very stretch of river.

After listening to Mick, we thank him for sharing

his wonderful music with us, and then push out into

the current again into the canyon’s beautiful afternoon

light. Early morning and late afternoon are my favorite

times to be on the river. A summer morning on the

river is one of life’s great delights. The air is cool.

The light is soft. Swallows, sometimes by the thousands,

skim over the surface of the water catching insects.

On mornings following a nighttime rainstorm,

mist and fog lift off the river which gives the canyon

a just-created quality.

Smell the river. Smell the willows. Smell the grass.

Late afternoon on the river is also amazing.

John D. Lee, for whom

Lee’s Ferry is named, moved

to the area in 1870 with the

goal of establishing a Ferry

Crossing. The ferry, which

was a wooden barge pulled

back and forth across the river

by a cable, was finally established

in 1873.

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 27

There’s a time of day when the sun has descended low

enough that the cliff walls cast their shadows on the water.

The shadow on the river essentially turns it into long,

linear mirror. The cliff walls and the trees on the shore

are mirrored on the river, which turns the canyon into a

funhouse work of art. After the river serenade, we spend

another 90 minutes paddling to Lee’s Ferry, and the end

of our day’s kayaking adventure. Along the way we

passed a group of wild horses grazing on the bank at the

river’s edge.

Though a float trip through this stretch of the Colorado

River starts a short distance below the Glen Canyon

Dam, access to the river can only be obtained from Lee’s

Ferry. From there, private boats are allowed to launch

and motor upriver where they can drop off their friends

with kayaks.

You’ll be sharing the river with rafts from Wilderness

28 Gateway to Canyon Country

River Adventures, who transport sightseers from the Dam

to Lee’s Ferry, as well as fly fishermen with Lee’s Ferry

Anglers, who park their jetboats on the bank, or on gravel

bars and flycast for trout.

Two companies offer backhaul services from Lee’s Ferry

upriver. They will transport you, your friends, your

dogs, your kayaks and whatever gear you want to bring

with you upriver and drop you off at whatever point you

wish to begin your float trip.

Camping along the river is also allowed, but you must

camp in a designated campsite. There are nine of them

along the river. Camping at them is free, but they cannot

be reserved in advance. They operate on a first come,

first served basis. If you plan to camp, the companies

that provide the backhaul can drop your camp gear off

at your desired beach, then transport you and your kayaks

up river, and from there you can paddle back to your


Kayak the Colorado

Kayak the Colorado rents kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. They charge $75 per person for the

backhaul. Kayaks and canoes rent for about $45. They will meet you at Lee’s Ferry any time that works best

for your group.

(928)-856-0012, kayakthecolorado.com

Wilderness River Adventures

Wilderness River Adventures charges $65 per person for their backhaul services. You must meet them at

Lee’s Ferry at times specified by them. They do not rent kayak, canoe or SUP rentals.

800-992-8022, www.riveradventures.com

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 29

Musings from the

Grand Canyon

“There is something ominous about a swift river, and something thrilling about a river of

out of mystery, the nearest downstream bend a door to further mystery.”

30 Gateway to Canyon Country

By Nicole Anderson

The muddy water rushed through the heart of the canyon

creating waves sometimes four, five feet deep.

The walls, cut deep from eons of wind and rain created

a canyon so deep and desolate that few will experience

it from its heart.

I stood on the plateau, my family's luggage draped in

black garbage bags in hopes of keeping it dry as I watched

a black storm cloud bubble up in the distance against the

azure blue sky. The golden hues of the canyon seemed to

soften as the storm rolled in and the heat of the arid desert

seemed to cool, if only for a moment. A chill rushed

through my body as I reached for my tattered and wellloved

flannel shirt for warmth.

We had walked several miles down into the depths of

the canyon. The trail was wide with the occasional sagebrush

or boulder holding its place boldly in the midst of

the stark canyon. We sang songs and chased lizards, always

making sure to stay hydrated, and when we heard the

rumbling of the mule train in the distance we quickly scurried

to the wall as if to bolt ourselves to it for our protection.

The mules – at least ten per train – strode past us at a

very quick speed, the dirt swirled in the air left us covered

in dusty powder, as if we were celebrating the Holi Festival,

signifying the arrival of something new.

My children were 13, 10, and 8 years young at the time

and were excited to be on such a grand adventure that had

been months in the making. Strangers and friends alike repeatedly

asked me, “What kind of mother takes her children

to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?”

Was it so much of an oddity that I wanted my children to

experience an untouched world? A place where few people

travel? A place where nature and wild still collide and yet

find peace with one another? I didn’t think so, but the unsolicited

comments kept rolling in, much like a rock careening

down the canyon. My favorite comment perhaps

any kind. The nearest upstream bend is a gate

~ Edward Abbey

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian

www.GatewaytoCanyonCountry.com 31

came from a Scoutmaster who told me, “I don’t even take

boys on hikes that long until they were well into their teens.

What are you thinking taking two girls?”

He was sure my son would be fine, but my girls?

In true Edward Abbey fashion, all I could think was that he

wished for our trails to be “crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous

leading [us] to the most amazing view[s].”

And so, we went despite my uneasiness.

Truth be told, those naysayers had weaseled their way into

my head. Sure, I had purchased the best hiking boots and gear

money could buy and we carried more water than we could

drink on that journey, but it was hot, dry, and I was way out

of my comfort zone. The rest of my family - my cousins and

aunts - had walked ahead of us and now, as dusk slowly made

her way into the canyon, shadows from the smallest pebble or

bush appeared high up on the canyon walls -walls taller than

the Empire State Building- a realization that it was just me,

my three children, and the canyon. The Grand Canyon.

Now, decades later, I find myself on a bench just outside

the back doors of the Visitors Center at the

North Rim. The blistering sun feels hot on my skin

and beads of sweat trickle down my spine. Leaning back in

my chair I rest my feet on the stone wall built by members of

the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933, a huge undertaking.

On the South Rim, if you look closely at the wall

you will find a stone, shaped like a heart, installed by a CCC

worker in 1935 for his Harvey Girl Sweetheart (a hotel waitress).

Legend says they were married in that very spot a few

years later. Pondering this love story, I took a drink from

my water bottle and then raised the bottle over my head and

poured it down my back, sending chills down my spine leaving

me refreshed from my day hike along the edge of the canyon


As I sat there staring into the abyss of the grandest canyon

in the world the air seemed to once again soften with clouds

tumbling in from the distance and in this rare weather phenomena,

fog began to fill the canyon stopping just shy of the

rim’s edge. The clouds, fluffy and frothy in appearance gave

us the illusion that we could simply walk across them to the

other side of the canyon.

Air temperatures typically cool as it moves higher into the

Earth's atmosphere, yet during one of these rare inversion

events, “a layer of warm air traps cool air and moisture closer

to the ground, preventing it from dissipating as it normally

would, resulting in a total cloud inversion. It is said to be such

a rarity that most people don’t ever see it in their lifetime. I

walked back inside the visitor’s center past the bronze statue

of Brighty - a most legendary burro - stroking his nose for

luck and turned the corner into the restaurant where I stopped

in my tracks.

That moment hung in the air much like the fog in the canyon and

I recalled my first trip to the Grand Canyon where I sat in the chair

at the corner table by the window as a child, staring into the canyon

when suddenly, or perhaps not so suddenly, the clouds rolled and

tumbled into the canyon filling it with marshmallow clouds.

My mother seemed giddy at the moment, my dad took photos,

and then we just sat together staring out the window, sipping our hot

chocolate. I didn’t realize it at the time what a rare event I was privy

to see; neither did my parents but it was one of those moments where

the canyon etched itself into your memory, never to be forgotten.

John Wesley Powell said, “You cannot see the Grand Canyon in

one view, as if it were a changeless spectacle from which a curtain

might be lifted, but to see it you have to toil from month to month

through its labyrinths.”

Even then you may not fully see it at all. For it is rare, wild, and

much of it untouched. Unexplored even. For it is the Grand Canyon.

Fully wild and in the words of Wallace Stegner, “We simply

need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than

drive to its edge and look in.”

32 Gateway to Canyon Country

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36 Gateway to Canyon Country

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