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1997 West Vacation - September 13 through 27, Part 3


My 1997 West Vacation - 14 days, 5440 miles.
Days 6 (continued) to 8, Little Colorado River Gorge to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lees Ferry Unit

Little Colorado River Gorge - September 18

The Little Colorado River Gorge is just a parking area where the Navajo who make their living off the tourist trade set up booths to sell their wares. But behind all that, are sheer drop-offs to the Little Colorado River. If you're coming into Grand Canyon National Park from the East (or exiting to the West to get to the North Rim,) it's a must see...

I did return on my 2008 trip. The pictures and panoramics on my 2008 page were taken earlier in the day.

Little Colorado River Gorge
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Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) - September 18 & 19

You've heard the words: "Awesome", "Grandeur", "Majestic"... They don't begin to describe the feeling you get when you first step to the edge of the Canyon and peer into its depths. You *know* the scale of what you're seeing, but I don't think your mind understands. The Colorado River, some 300 feet wide at this point, appears as a small ribbon, visible every once in a while past the spires and walls of the Canyon.

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (and his army) is credited as the first European to see the Canyon in 1540. He was a Spaniard looking for the seven cities of gold. Of course, the seven cities of gold never existed, but hey, at least we still remember his name. (He got as far as Kansas before he got the confession that his native guide was lying to draw Coronado away from his people. Coronado was convinced there were no precious metals in all this country.)

I have to admit, the pictures from my 2008 trip are much better.

We stopped in Grand Canyon Village, but of course, no rooms were available. So it was South to Tusayan, where we found a Quality Inn with a room.

Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim, Part 1
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Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim, Part 2
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US-89 - September 19

US-89 is a pretty amazing road. It's been mostly supplanted by I-15, and as a matter of fact it's the same road through the more mountainous areas.

But if you really look at the route it takes, this road passes near or through Grand Canyon NP, Glen Canyon NRA, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier NP. That's quite a respectable set of sights. It might be a road trip to go from one end to the other...

Of course, I was in the desert, and it was going to rain on me, but that would have a pay-off later.

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Wahweap, AZ) - September 19 & 20

Double Rainbow
Double rainbow over Lake Powell, from Wahweap, AZ. Proof positive that a lot of amazing pictures are only taken because someone is in the right place at the right time...
We arrived at the Dam at just about the same time as the rainstorm, and went inside the visitors center for a look, but no Dam Tours were left that day. Since it was raining so hard, all the photo equipment was left in the car. Dumb.

I had been talked into camping in Wahweap. I still did stuff like that back then. So we pitched the tent, and unrolled the sleeping bags. Suddenly, the sun came out, and painted a gorgeous double rainbow over Lake Powell, with one end in Utah, and the other in Arizona. Proof positive that you don't have to have talent, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

Got a pretty sunset too. And I repositioned the tent so we could keep the door open and watch the lightning recede in the distance as night fell...

When I was back here in 2008, we wouldn't sleep on the ground, but we would take a boat trip out to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and do the Glen Canyon Dam tour...

Wahweap, AZ / Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
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Navajo Bridge / Marble Canyon - September 20

The Navajo bridge is one of two points that crosses the Colorado river for 60 miles in either direction. The bridge spans Marble Canyon, which at this point is 600 feet across, and 500 feet deep. Grand Canyon National Park starts just South of here, and Glen Canyon NRA is just to the North.

Navaho Bridge / Colorado River
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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lees Ferry) - September 20

The Lees Ferry unit of the Glen Canyon NRA, was the first ferry service across the Colorado river in this area. The Ferry was built in 1873 operated by John D. Lee of the Mormon Church, who is a story in himself. (He would become the fall guy for the Mountain Meadows Massacre.) The ferry service continued until 1929 when the first Navajo Bridge was completed across Marble Canyon, a few miles to the South. There's access to the Colorado River here, as well as some very cool rock formations.

I would visit here again in 2008 and visit Lee's house.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lee's Ferry
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End 1997 West Vacation - Part 3.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

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