We arrived a day earlier than planned to Page, Arizona. We stopped off for a quick lunch after setting up camp and then explored around before calling it a night. We were up early the next morning and off to take a tour of the Glenn Canyon Dam. We worked on our Junior Ranger books while we waited for our 8:30am tour to begin.
We went up an elevator to the top of the dam and got to walk along the top of it. We learned that this is the first in a series of 7 dams along the Colorado River, next it Hoover Dam near Las Vegas. Hoover Dam is only 16 feet higher than Glenn Canyon Damn but used WAY less concrete. We even got to see examples of some of the parts in the dam that help to generate the electricity and control water flow.
The entire town of Page, Arizona did not exist before 1956 and was only establish to build the dam. There was a land trade with the Navajo (since this is a former portion of the Navajo Nation). We are really learning how expansive, isolated and resource free the land is that the US government gave back to the Navajo after the Long Walk.
We saw men training on how to fix dam issues. They had to repel down the interior of the dam.
We learned about the 15 foot long bolts driven into the Navajo sandstone to stabilize the walls of the canyon. The sandstone is porous so it “seeps” water from Lake Powell.
In the dam there are lots of long corridors. The employees use bicycles to get from place to place inside the dam.
Outside there is actually a giant lawn! Rather than just have a giant concrete place they opted to grow grass.
The men working on the dam were still out training and slowly going lower on the dam.
We even got to see part of the inner workings of the dam. We were not allowed in the room but were able to look through glass and take photos.
After our tour we headed towards Lee’s Ferry, the only place in a 700 mile stretch of the Colorado river where you can put in a boat. On the way we saw “Balanced Rocks”. Thousands of years ago these boulders fell from the areas above and erosion caused the sandstone below to wash away leaving these HUGE boulders balanced on a little bit of sandstone!
I decided to cli the boulder, just kidding!
The other one next to it was even bigger!
We made our way to Lee’s Ferry and stuck our hands in the Colorado River. It was ICY cold at 47F.
I braved the waters and got my feet wet too!
We played on the beach a bit and skipped stones (or tried to!) and headed to explore more.
There were lots of cacti in bloom.
I spotted lots of cool lizards.
We hiked around at a historic site and learned about the importance of Lee’s Ferry.
We found move cool lizards.
Next we drove to Navajo Bridge. We hiked out the bridge and looked down at the Colorado River below.
We called it a day and enjoyed some downtime in the camper. We were up early next morning and took a raft tour of the Colorado River. We boarded a pontoon type raft and enjoyed the chilly canyon views.
The views were spectacular and we learned about the history of the river. The guide was entertaining but it was his last week so he spent moots his time talking with a girl sitting by him. Oh well, we still had fun!
I got a bit grumpy. In fact I have been a lot grumpy lately. I was cold, hungry and thirsty. All of those were fixable as we had food and snacks and life vests.
We got to see the dam from below. To get to the raft we had to take a bus through 2 mile long access tunnel that is restricted by Homeland Security. It was fun to drive through the mountain and see the inside of it!
We saw Little Niagra… haha.
E and I spent most of the trip hanging out of the boat and looking into the water.
We stopped at Petroglyph Beach and I saw lots of wildlife. We saw mating ladybugs.
A giant lizard called a chuckwalla.
We hiked the trail and saw the petroglyphs of big horned sheep.
We all got a giggle at the House Rules.
We played on the bank of the river for a few minutes before we had to move along.
This is the giant boat we were riding in.
Mom sat out on the edge with us for a while on the way back. Water was splashing up between the pontoons and our feet got wet.
We have more to do here in Page but this is a good stopping point. More later!