Thursday, September 19, 2013

Page Arizona

After the Grand Canyon, I had my heart set on doing a little tour of the Southwest US of A - or at least as much as I could within a 5 hourish drive of the Grand Canyon. The thought process was quite easy: I was going to be in one of the more beautiful regions of the country, so I might as well do some exploring. Running (slogging) across the Grand Canyon and back is cool, but there's so much more out there than just that big hole in the ground! Having grown up a New Englander, there always was an intrigue and draw to the desert southwest, and I needed to figure out how to make this work.

Fortunately, I had a separate group of friends who were heading out to do the Zion Traverse the weekend after R2R2R. This solidified the need to stick around in the area, with Zion ultimately being my destination, as my alternatives were to 1.) simply go home, or 2.) do my 2nd 8+ hour drive in 3 days, then do it again to Zion 4 days later, and of course, again, a few days later to return back to America's Finest. So, 4 days of 8-9 hour drives over the course of 9 days? No thanks. I'll stick around, explore. Maybe even be a tourist!

Next stop on my itinerary was a little town called Page, Arizona. Most people have never heard of Page (myself included up until about a month beforehand), but after following the U.S. Department of Interior's instagram account, I noted a few photos from locales around Page that really caught my attention. Having bought myself a nice little Christmas gift a few months prior, I figured it was time to become acquainted and do some exploring.

One thing to note: the drive from the Grand Canyon to Page included a large section of RAAM last year that Airey and I absolutely torched. Surprisingly, it didn't invoke many nostalgic memories and day dreaming. Maybe it was because it was only 65 and cloudy rather than 104 and sunny, or because the immediate scarring of the grand canyon was at the forefront of my mind.

Anyhow, I got to Page, and after establishing a layout of the land that included my Motel 8 penthouse suite and a hole-in-the-wall mexican restaurant that would rival Roberto's in Mission Beach, I headed over to my first stop.

Glen Canyon Dam

Pretty much the reason why Page is on the map, the Glen Canyon Dam was built originally to provide hydroelectricity and regulate water levels from the upper Colorado river that I ran across just a few days prior.

I have no photos of the Dam, but in essence, it's a Dam - not much else. The surrounding area though had some interesting texture to it:

Horseshoe Bend

It's a geographic anomaly whose pictures do no justice. I parked my sweet econobox rental car, and made the treacherous half-mile sandy hike. From afar, it's really hard to get your head wrapped around what you are walking towards:

But once I got to the edge of the 1,000ft cliff overlooking this freak of nature, it was hard not to behold the power of what she can do if given enough time:

Click for monitor size bigness

I took about a Bazillion more photos, all of which look the same and continue to do no justice - not to mention my camera lense is simply not wide enough - so the above photo is stitched.

Not captured: How amazingly quiet and peaceful it was here.

Antelope Canyon

A lot of people go to Page for their trophy photos of this canyon, and quite honestly, I was no different. It was less for the trophy photo, and more of the experience and being in and seeing this cave up-close-and-personal. Pretty neat how wind and water helped shape this canyon over time.

But first, just outside of Page is this little contrast of environments: Nature showing her beauty, and man - well, being man.

Of course, going down into the earth via narrow passage was kind of neat too:

From within:

You can probably see where waters has trickled in on this one:

More abstractness:

We even got a little bit of rain towards the end.

Normally, being in a slot canyon when there is any type of rain is a big no-no, but I didn't feel particularly worried, seeing as though we were close to the end of this little tour.

On the contrary, this made the "tourists" freak out rather quickly, and there was a exodus towards the exit staircase. Of course, this being america, it was closely followed by quite a few people getting winded and out of breath from climbing 2 flights of stairs.

After that, it was time to gas up at a gas station where I was the only non-native american there and then I was on my way to Zion - I mean Bryce Canyon!