Having missed the sunrise at the Zion National Park Museum the previous day, we woke up at 5:30 (again) so that we could get there in time to see it happen! Mr. Misadventures headed to the meadow behind the museum to set-up his camera and I parked myself on a bench very jealous of the others around me who had nice warm mugs of coffee in hand as they waited the arrival of the sun!
It was pretty peaceful and I wonder how full it gets in the summer when the swarms of tourists arrive. You have to be pretty dedicated to want to take sunrise photography (of which on my own I am not!). I was amazed to see that there were already groups of rock climbers on the canyon walls, they had to have gotten up even earlier than us!
Mr. Misadventures grumbled that the light wasn’t any good, but here is a photo because dammit I woke up at 5:30 to have it, someone ought to see it!
As it was 6:30 and we didn’t have to be in Page, our next stop only 90-minutes away until 12:30, we had plenty of time to take more photos along the Zion-Mt. Carmel road. I have to say I spent a lot of time in the car reading the Zion National Park newspaper as it was pretty chilly out and I had taken a large amount of photos the previous day. It was a day for textures and Mr. Misadventures got some pretty cool shots. A lot of them he laid on the ground to capture, sometimes upside down!
And of course more give-my-wife-a-heartattack road shots:
Satisfied that we had captured the last of Zion we headed to Page, Arizona where we would be spending the afternoon rafting down the Colorado River. We arrived in Page around 11 a.m. and decided to grab lunch before heading to the tour office. Page is one of the largest towns in about a 3-hour radius, which is why Mr. Misadventures intended it to be our home-base for the next four days. There is a decent amount of hotels, including the fairly new Courtyard Marriott that we stayed in. Some of the hotels looked more run down than others so check the reviews . There was also two additional hotels under construction although I don’t know what chain they belonged to.
There is a brand new Walmart, a Safeway with a Starbucks, several fast food places and other local restaurants with offerings such as barbeque and steaks. There is also a relatively new Denny’s which we ate three breakfasts in. Considering that I had only eaten in Denny’s one time during the previous ten years, that is significant!
In terms of picking up food supplies, head to the Walmart and not the Safeway. I waited 45 minutes to have two deli sandwiches made and 30 minutes the next morning at the Starbucks to get two drinks, and I had to explain how to make a soy mocha to the barrista, so that tells you a little something about the staff there. It is not good for anyone’s blood pressure to shop there, head to the brand-spanking new Walmart instead. Given the fact that I had also only been in a Walmart one previous time in the last ten years, that’s saying a lot!
Lunch complete we headed to the tour office, and after checking in and getting a safety lecture from the good people at Colorado River Discovery we jumped on a bus and headed to the Glen Canyon Dam where we would be catching our pontoons. We entered through a special tunnel and then a restricted area which required us to don hard hats in case any debris fell and bonked up on the head. It was only a five minute walk down to the dock, a lot of drama for such a short distance (but I would probably be the one to get hit, so I guess I better just shut up!).
Glen Canyon Dam is only 16-feet shorter than the Hoover Dam, so it is pretty darn big. Earlier in the day we had driven over the bridge going over the dam on our way into town, But you get a whole different perspective as you leave the dock!
I think the tour was labeled river rafting, but it really should be called river floating as there aren’t any rapids. The rapids start exactly in the spot where we would end our tour, Lee’s Ferry, which is also the beginning of the Grand Canyon. No matter as we had a funny guide full of details about the history of the river, the dam and the canyons.
Here are some tips for the river tour:
> There are several companies based in Page that operate these tours. As with anything, make sure you check out the reviews for any company you are considering purchasing a tour from. We went with Colorado River Discovery and were very pleased with them.
> There is NO shade on the boat, be prepared for full sun exposure.
> There are two beach stops (unless the group votes otherwise) and there is NO shade, be prepared for full sun exposure.
> The water is 45 degrees (7.5 Celsuis) all-year round, so no swimming unless you like it real chilly!
> Feel free to bring your camera, I was worried that I would do something stupid with mine, but unless you lean over and drop it in the river, it will be just fine. (That’s the reason all the photos from the river are by my hubby!)
> It is a 90-minute ride back to Page once you end at Lee’s Ferry consider having a snack (if you didn’t already bring your lunch) as you will be famished!
Day 4 we spent time in Antelope Canyon, come back and check it out!