(Jan) Many of you may have noticed photos of my brother Ron and Sister-in-Law Scarlett on our Blog as we have been able to meet on the road in different places. They were able to join us in the fall of 2009 at Coarsegold & Yosemite, Thanksgiving 2011 at Mittry Lake, in Pasadena for the 2013 Rose Bowl Parade, in Alaska last June and at Quartzsite last December. There were also wonderful visits at their home in California and to our family’s homes in Iowa. Just one month ago we had a ‘Siblings’ visit at Ron & Scarlett’s. He lived with so much pain but did not let that stop him from enjoying travel & family. Two weeks ago we headed to California for our last visit with Ron. His cancer had taken a bad turn. We were privileged to help Scarlett care for him in his last days at home. He passed away on Thursday April 24, 2014. He was an accomplished mountain biker; he and Scarlett had ridden over 20,000 miles together. He was a good brother, husband and father and will be missed by all who knew him.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
(Jan) Page, Arizona had it’s beginning in 1957 as a settlement for workers building the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado river. Today it is a small city of over 7,000. Page sits in the center of the Grand Circle of National Parks & Monuments. It is amazingly beautiful country! While we were in Page we toured Antelope Canyon, hiked to the Horseshoe Bend, floated in a raft down the Colorado through those massive sandstone cliffs, hiked the Toadstool’s trail, toured the Glen Canyon Dam, hiked to the GC Dam overlook, visited the Grand Canyon, hiked at Antelope Point and stayed at Lone Rock CG on Lake Powell.
Our mile hike to the Horseshoe Bend ended in a sheer drop off overlooking this famous meander of the Colorado River. It’s a spectacular sight. There are no guard rails so peeking over the edge is both brave and foolhardy. We settled for the view from several feet back!
Pictured at Left and then right are pictures taken on our hikes to Lake Powell near Antelope Point and the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook.
The Glen Canyon Dam is the second tallest Dam in the U.S., second only to the Hoover Dam downstream on the Colorado River. This impressive 710 foot tall concrete dam, was started in 1956 and finished in 1966. The dam created Lake Powell. “The power plant at Glen Canyon Dam is located at the foot of the structure and contains eight 155,500 horsepower generators with a combined capacity of 1,296 megawatts (MW).” Our tour took us down the elevator through the thick walls of the dam to the power plant. The wall at the top of the dam is 25 foot thick; it’s 300 foot thick at the base. Pictured at right are the huge generators in the pwer plat at the base of the dam that produce the electricity.
The weather was very warm & sunny the day we drove west and went on our Toad Stool Hike in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The path followed a dry stream bed back into a canyon to a curious collection of rock formations known as the Toad Stools. It was a great hike that also awarded us with a view of the valley floor to the west below us.
Last Wednesday we drove down to Grand Canyon NP. We visited there in February about ten years ago and didn’t see the Canyon. It started snowing as we were driving there and fog & snow completely blocked the view of the canyon! This time the weather was beautiful. We enjoyed a full day of stopping at all of the overlooks and seeing the tremendous beauty of this mile wide and mile deep canyon. It’s just huge! Lunch at the Bright Angel Dining Room and a short hike on the Bright Angel Trail finished a picture perfect day.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
(Chuck) We did a float trip down the Colorado River from the Glen Canyon Dam to Lee’s Ferry. Our day started with a bus ride down a two mile tunnel (8% grade) which ended at the foot of the dam. This tunnel was built to access the lower area of the dam during construction. We boarded the large powered rafts and proceeded fifteen miles down the Glen Canyon. The weather was perfect and we were surrounded by 700 to 1,400 foot canyon walls.
We went through the famous Horse Shoe Bend which looks completely different from the river than it looked to us the day before from high above the canyon walls. From the top it seemed quite difficult to stand close enough to the edge to gain the whole bend in the camera lens (I wasn’t even willing to crawl to the edge on my stomach and hold the camera out.) From the river we could see several quite small figures on the rim of the canyon trying to get the correct photo of the bend. It was nice to view it from both sides.
It is a beautiful river and canyon and we considered it a good trip. There is a massive rock slide which has closed Highway 89. What would have been a short bus ride back to Page is now a detour of about 90 miles.
Monday, April 7, 2014
(Chuck) Southern Utah and Northern Arizona have a long list of spectacular sights for the outdoor enthusiast to admire. Most of them involve the red Navaho Sandstone which dominates the terrain. Page, Arizona is home to Antelope Canyon which “spectacular” may not be a big enough word. The photos which may seem unworldly and mysterious are the result of standing at the bottom of the very narrow canyon and looking up. The canyon is 120 feet deep and the walls are cut with large swirls and curves from many years of flash floods. The flood water is a thick abrasive mixture of water and sand which over the years have provided a magical sculpture. As the light filters down to the canyon floor it is reflected off the walls and seems to provide an unending opportunity for amazing photographs.
We toured Upper Antelope Canyon and have saved the Lower Canyon for another visit. We took the 1:30 Sightseers Tour and were very pleased. Our guide is a regular photo tour guide and he gave us an added insight to the lighting conditions.
The canyon has been subject to heavy flooding in recent years. In August 2013 a large flood scoured the canyon and exposed two large boulders at the top end. In the process the canyon was deepened by about five feet as sand was washed from the floor. In August of 1997 a flash flood caused the deaths of eleven tourists which were trapped in the Lower Canyon. These events underscore the need for caution when entering the slot canyons of the Southwest. A rainstorm may be many miles away but the water may still eventually funnel down a single narrow canyon.
We were very fortunate to have excellent lighting conditions on the day of our visit. It was a memorable visit and will rank as one highlights of our Southwest visit.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
We were in Yuma, Arizona in February which is Mountain Standard time. But the week before we stayed across the border in California and went down into Los Algodones, Mexico. Both are on Pacific time. (However, all of the shops and offices in Algodones run on Arizona time because many of their visitors are from the Arizona area.)
At the end of February we headed north to work at an NASCAR event in Las Vegas, Nevada which is on Pacific time so we gained an hour. While we were working, Daylight Savings time came along so we lost an hour! After NASCAR, our travels took us to southern Utah which is Mountain Daylight Savings time. About 10 days later we went back to Las Vegas for me to catch a flight to California, both are on Pacific Daylight time. After that we were back into Utah. Again we were on Mountain Daylight Time.
Today we are living in south central Utah at Lone Rock CG on Lake Powell. We are several miles from the Arizona border and the city of Page. While both states are in Mountain Time zone, Arizona does not honor Daylight Savings time. Depending on which cell tower we get reception from our phones may correspond to Mountain Daylight or Standard time! To avoid too much confusion we are leaving our house and car clocks on Arizona’s Standard time.
Yesterday we went on a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon which is on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. The Navajo Nation does observe Daylight Savings Time. However, their office is in Page, Arizona and the tours leave on Arizona’s Standard time! We did get there at the correct time and the tour was awesome!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
(Chuck) During our stay in the Zion National Park area John & Julie introduced us to one of their favorite haunts. An enterprising family has established a street side pizza business in Hurricane, UT. For around $8.00 you can order a pizza and watch it being made and baked in the wood fired clay oven. The kids prepare the ingredients and assemble the pizzas and then they are fired in the oven. Most pizzas are takeout however there is a picnic table available to eat by the street. Our favorite turned out to be pesto chicken which was an invention of J&J. There have been several Pegs and Jokers games played while we have been in the Zion area. It is still in dispute who is the actual champion, although if you ask the men, they are sure to know.
We hiked twice in Zion National Park and toured Bryce Canyon on a separate day. The rock formations are awesome. We were blessed with wonderful weather in Bryce and the sun gave the photos an extra shot of magic.
We have since moved on to Kanab, UT and have been here for several days. We have enjoyed looking around the area. The weather has not been cooperative since it has been cool and windy. The chances of rain showers have limited our canyon hikes. Slot canyons and flash floods are hazardous to your health, so we have been to several locations and enjoyed the fantastic rock formations in the Kanab area such as the one in the photo at right. The photo at left is looking out of our MH window to the red hills to the northeast of Kanab.
Tomorrow we move to Page, AZ which is on the Colorado River. There will be more hikes and places to explore.