FREE AUTUMN 2019
To Canyon Country and the Grand Circle
Hike Willis Creek Canyon
Kayak Glen Canyon
Musings from the Grand Canyon
8:45 am - 2:45 pm
7 Days a Week
March 1 -
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
0-7 Years FREE
All Tours Are Guided
THINGS TO BRING:
• Bottled Water
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Hiking Tours Depart Every 30 minutes
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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
SLEEP INN & SUITES
673 Scenic View Rd, Page,
AZ, 86040, US Phone: (928)
645-2020 Fax: (928) 645-4950
These non-smoking affordable
Page hotels are also near attractions
• Antelope Canyon
• Horseshoe Bend
• Lake Powell
• Wahweap Overlook
• John Wesley Powell Museum
• Water Holes Canyon
We want you to feel refreshed when you stay with us, that’s why our indoor heated
pools and whirlpool is a great place to relax. Our exercise rooms are the perfect
place to keep your endorphins going.
Other amenities include:
• Free full breakfast • Free WiFi • Free parking • Guest laundry
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
and Baymont Inn & Suites® hotel.
Hotels in Page, AZ offer cozy,
modern rooms at a great value.
Baymont Inn & Suites
677 Scenic View Rd, Page AZ
Ph: 928-645-5050 • Fax: 928-645-0028
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
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.
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.
Nicole M. Anderson
Connect With Us:
4 Gateway to Canyon Country
Pow Wow Trading Post
635 Elm Street, Page, Arizona
powwowtradiingpost.com • 928.645-2140
Gateway to Canyon Country
6 Gateway to Canyon Country
Navajo Mountain to
A Slice of Cake on a Slice of Beach
In a Slice of Paradise
A smoothwater kayak in Glen Canyon
Musings from the Grand Canyon
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
880 Haul Rd.,
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)
“Come try our hog wild fries”
614 N. Main,
MARBLE CANYON LODGE
OPEN YEAR ROUND
Located on the
125 Miles North of Flagstaff On
The Colorado River at Lees Ferry
Fishing • Hiking
GROUP FACILITIES & RATES
Motel • Restaurant
Fishing Supplies • Landing Strip
Boat Storage • Trading Post
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Gas Station • Convenience Store
Coin-op Laundry • U.S. Post Office
P.O. Box 6001,
Marble Canyon, AZ 86036
Call or Write
Navajo Mountain to
10 Gateway to Canyon Country
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
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
Cowboy Cookin’ at
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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
State Line Launch
Lone Rock Beach/
Last Chance Bay
Marina & Launch
Glen Canyon Dam
18 Gateway to Canyon Country
Bonita Rd. W
Bonita St. Bonita Rd. W
Piute Piute Ct.
Castle Rock St.
Del Barrco Ave.
United States Post Office
A B C D
To Glen Canyon Dam
& Kanab, UT
N. Navajo Dr.
Powell Lake N
N. Navajo Dr.
N. 10th Ave.
S. Lake Powell Blvd.
Padre Escalante Dr.
10th N. Ave.
S. 9th Ave.
Glen Canyon Dr.
Glen Canyon Dr.
Tower Butte Ave.
Page Municipal Airport
Tower Butte Ave.
S. Navajo Dr.
S. Navajo Dr.
S. Navajo Dr.
S. Lake Powell Blvd.
S. Lake Powell Blvd.
Golden Eagle Ct.
S. Lake Powell Blvd.
San Francisco Rd.
e Powell S. Lake Blvd. Powell Blvd.
Sunset Rd. W Sunset St.
To Horseshoe Bend
San Francisco Rd.
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Amado Rd. W
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
Juniper Ave. D-2
Kachina St. C-2
Kaibab Rd. B-3,4
Knoll Ave. C-1
Lake Powell Blvd.
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
San Francisco Rd. B,C-4
Scenic View Rd. B-1,2
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
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
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
We enjoyed the moment
of being at Rainbow
Bridge. The ravens
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
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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2018 E. Frontage Rd., Page, AZ 86040
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.
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
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
In this manner I,
and the members
of my group, pass
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
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
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
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.
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.
Musings from the
“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
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
At the End of Your Day...
• Deluxe guest rooms with fridges, microwaves,
Coffee pots, irons & ironing boards
• Boat parking/AC power • Convenient location
• Free wireless Internet • Breakfast
• Guest laundry
Lake Powell Days Inn & Suites
961 Hwy 89, Box 3910,
Page, AZ 86040
1 (800) DAYSINN
at East Zion
Restaurant (435) 648-2262
Golf Course (435) 648-2188
Gift Shop (435) 648-2203 ext 5
Zion National Park - 12 miles
Bryce Canyon - 60 miles
Grand Canyon - 85 miles
US 89 & SR 9
7 am - 11 pm
34 Gateway to Canyon Country
Experience the authentic atmosphere
of Mexico and enjoy the
best Margarita’s in town.
36 Gateway to Canyon Country