Written by rufusni on 12 Oct, 2011
Being in Page we had planned to go the Colorado River Discovery float...so we booked for the afternoon trip. We arrived at the office/shop in Page in plenty of time...and checked in, and were told that we would be briefed shortly out the front. There…Read More
Being in Page we had planned to go the Colorado River Discovery float...so we booked for the afternoon trip. We arrived at the office/shop in Page in plenty of time...and checked in, and were told that we would be briefed shortly out the front. There were a good number of bathrooms there...there was also a small coffee shop if you needed that fix. There was a shop with a range of stuff...lots of logo stuff ...but we decided not to purchase anything on our way out as it meant carrying more stuff, which turned out wise.So we sat down outside on the small patio area. And the buses arrived back from the morning trip. We were getting excited.Then someone started calling out the names of those booked on the afternoon trip. But then came the bad news...they had let us check in because they were waiting for the 12.30 weather report. This reported that there could be thunderstorms...hail...but also tornadic wind warning. The guy said hail didn't worry him as a hard hat could cope with that but anything a weather warning involving tornadic weather meant he wouldn't take us out on water. So we were directed inside to either get a refund or rebook. Unfortunately we couldn't do the rebook so we got a refund...and headed back to the motel.Now it didn't look bad outside and not having the car...and needing to get some stuff ...and feeling a need for some food...decided that walking down from the hotel to Walmart seemed like a good plan. So it was less than a ten minute walk...and only slightly taking my life in hand to cross the road. Got things I needed and started to walk back...and at this stage the dark clouds were there. Got across the road, and I knew I wasn't going to make it back to the motel before the storm started. So Burger King was just there...so as I ordered a drink...the storm started...rain, thunder and lightning. Not the most spectacular storm to watch...but bad enough with lots of hail falling...and the temperature dropped enough that even several hours later there were places around Page that still had banks of white left from the hail. But some amount of rain fell too...and once the rain stopped I walked back through the car park of some stores. But there was so much water lying and flowing across the tarmac...my feet got wet quickly. But then I got to in front of the motel and two rivers of water and red sand flowed across the entrance. With no option...I walked though water that was more than ankle deep.I was very glad to get back to the motel and was quite happy to have a quiet afternoon watching TV. I was especially glad not to have been doing to river float...even if not doing it was a bit disappointed. But we later met one of the guides who had taken us through Antelope Canyon, who told us he had a group of Japanese tourists in the slot canyon when they got the warning to get out...but no matter how much he shouted at them...they were too busy taking photos...even when water started to get around them they still wouldn't hurry up...if it was me in a slot canyon formed by water being forced through a narrow space I'd want out of it.Thankfully since it was a torrent of water and sand it was easier than mud to get out of my shoes in my walk back to the motel. It also meant I was in a Burger King, and I think it was the first time in probably ten years. But it all reminded me that in Ireland I'm so not used to 'serious' weather, that I had forgotten what weather warnings elsewhere can actually mean in severity. Close
Written by btwood2 on 04 Jan, 2006
Page was born along with the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. Land east of Glen Canyon BuRec (Bureau of Reclamation) needed to house construction workers belonged to the Navajo Nation. BuRec, BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs), and Navajo Nation worked out a trade, in which…Read More
Page was born along with the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. Land east of Glen Canyon BuRec (Bureau of Reclamation) needed to house construction workers belonged to the Navajo Nation. BuRec, BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs), and Navajo Nation worked out a trade, in which the Navajo gave 17 square miles that would become Page in exchange for some nearby lands in the Four Corners area purported to be rich in oil. The town was named after BuRec commissioner John C. Page, whose term ran from 1937 to 1943 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Page stands on Manson Mesa, so named for the Navajo family that used to live here.
During the building of the dam, Page grew rapidly into a trailer town. A school for children of construction workers, and metal buildings housing basic businesses sprang up, followed by more permanent structures. Once the dam was completed in 1966, population slumped, but only four years later, the Navajo Generating Station boosted it once again, during the five years it took to complete. From 4000 people in 1980, Page’s population grown to U.S. Census Bureau’s estimate of just under 7000 for 2004.
Since Page is such a relatively “new” town, one gets a distinctly ‘60s time-warp feel cruising the curving streets. Most of the businesses are on Lake Powell Boulevard, which is Business 89 loop. Eleven churches all in a curving row are found on South Lake Powell Boulevard. BuRec granted the land for the various denominations to build their churches. North Lake Powell Boulevard is intersected by another loopy street, Navajo Drive, which skirts Lake Powell National Golf Course.
On 8th Avenue, you’ll find the Street of the Little Motels. Long one-story motels named Lulu’s and Red Rock offer private rooms for very reasonable rates, in the $30’s. One old motel has been turned into a hostel, with picture-window sized murals painted between the windows. Our favorite, though, was Bashful Bob’s, photo below.
Dining in Page: We ate out twice. Grant, the balloon pilot who took us up that morning, ate at Butterfield Stage Co. Steakhouse the evening before. We’d driven by it earlier, next to a Best Western Motel, and liked their view, perched on the edge of the mesa. Grant told us, “It wasn’t very good.” That turned out to be a serious understatement. We checked out the Dam Bar & Grill up the street first, but the prices were a bit high, and it was crowded. “Let’s go to that place with the great view”, suggested Bob.
We were surprised as we pulled up, not to find any other cars in front of the restaurant. “It must be closed,” I said. Heck, dinnertime on the Saturday of the balloon regatta, the balloon glow about to begin, and closed? No, the door was open, and we had the pick of all the seats in the house, and outdoors besides. This should have been enough to clue us in, but we sat in the corner booth with a great view, and ordered T-bone steak with soup and salad bar ($18.95). The salad bar was pathetic. The soup was horrible, canned beef broth plus a jar of pimentos, and a few small pieces of tasteless beef. Thin dried out steak, overcooked baby carrots on the side; the baked potato was the only thing that was just ok. Afterwards, Bob complained to the hostess, and she seemed surprised, but took $5 off our bill. There are other Butterfields in Arizona, but we won’t give any a try.
Kens Old West Restaurant and Lounge was a different story. That’s the place we were treated to an absolutely delicious buffet brunch, thanks to Peaches and Grant, who were given extra free meal tickets. On a side street off of Lake Powell Boulevard, Ken’s stands out with a small covered wagon perched high on a post. Rough-hewn wood exterior and wooden walkway are edged by rusty farm implements, old buckboards and the like. Indoors, the balloon community of Page was havin’ a ball. We turned in our tickets and proceeded to feast on big generous breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, country potatoes, ham, bacon, sausage, you name it. Giant tasty cinnamon rolls served as dessert, all washed down by orange juice and coffee. On the way out, we checked out the dinner menu, comparable in price to Butterfield’s. Next time we’re in Page, Ken’s will be our choice for whatever meal we decide to eat out.
After decades of traveling on all-too-brief vacations in the Southwest, and more recently, three years of full-time post-retirement travel in our motor home, we’d yet to visit Lake Powell. But here we are, in November of 2005, driving towards Page, Arizona at dusk, crossing the…Read More
After decades of traveling on all-too-brief vacations in the Southwest, and more recently, three years of full-time post-retirement travel in our motor home, we’d yet to visit Lake Powell. But here we are, in November of 2005, driving towards Page, Arizona at dusk, crossing the Utah-Arizona state line. Visions of Edward Abbey’s beyond-mischievous Monkey Wrench Gang play in my head, in fading light of day, warm tones, reds, maroons, and darker on wide sandstone vistas. As we near Glen Canyon Bridge, ugly, bristling high voltage transmission towers loom spookily west of the dam. But as we cross the bridge in what little light remains, I gasp at what I’m able to see of the steep narrow canyon walls dropping precipitously to the river, glimmering in last light.
I will gasp again many times during our visit. The subsequent days will have us viewing the canyon, lake, river, and surroundings from sunrises to sunsets, from vantage points ranging from the dam itself, to overlooks, to high in the sky in a hot air balloon. The Colorado Plateau, in which Lake Powell lies, is awe-inspiring country. Its warm desert colors, stark shadows, and unforgettable, unique landforms are a favorite locale for moviemakers of the Hollywood kind. Swirling sandstone, jagged outcroppings, narrow slot canyons… endless secret places that beg you to stay and savor, sacred places to respect by avoiding.
Glen Canyon Dam was and remains a source of controversy from the time of its conception, throughout its construction (1956-1966), as Lake Powell slowly filled (1963-1980), and to this day. Prior to its construction, conservationists objected to the filling of exquisitely beautiful Glen Canyon, Indians to submerging many sacred sites, ancient pictographs and petroglyphs made by ancestors. But far from resolving these issues, the building of the dam and the resultant Lake Powell created yet other areas of contention. The controversies aren’t about to go away, and neither is the dam. The Bureau of Reclamation estimates its lifespan as between 300-500 years until the lake becomes solid, that is, becomes full of sediment and ceases to function as a reservoir.
But what’s this crazy talk about draining Lake Powell? If you have some rudimentary knowledge of dams, you know it’s not just pulling a giant plug like in the bottom of a bathtub. Glen Canyon Institute explains that the dam itself would remain, but the water level in the reservoir would be allowed to lower down to what’s called “dead pool” level, 237 feet. Bypass tunnels would be drilled around the base of the dam. Much of Glen Canyon would re-emerge and re-vegetate itself within 30 years. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, downriver in Nevada, should be able to take on most of Lake Powell’s water-storage and electricity generating functions.
OK, but why??? Proponents of the plan contend that the dam was a bad idea to begin with, and that the harm to the environment that continues to be done not only locally, but also to the Grand Canyon ecosystem (80 miles downriver), outweighs irrigation and electricity benefits provided by the dam. Whether these benefits are “negligible” or “substantial” depends on which side you’re hearing from. Recipients of water and electricity could also conserve both more… way more. But that idea doesn’t set well with John and Jane Q. Public. Though BuRec is “studying” the proposal, the distinct impression is that they and elected officials aren’t taking it seriously.
It’s sedimentary, my dear Watson. I feel like Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out all the pros and cons of both sides. One of the issues is sediment. The Colorado River is one of the dirtiest, muddiest, nutrient-filled rivers around. Its red-brown color is how it got its name. Thick, warm chocolate milk with a vitamin boost. So what happens when dams are erected is that the sediment sinks to the bottom of the reservoir behind the dam and the water that flows on through is relatively clear. What’s the problem with non-murky Colorado River water, you ask? It depends on your perspective. If you’re an avid trout fisherman, you may know that the tailwaters below Glen Canyon Dam support a thriving trout fishery. One that wasn’t there before the dam cleared the water. A good thing, right? Yes, for the trout and trout fishermen, for sure. But not so good for the unique and now endangered Colorado River fish such as humpback chub (specially shaped to withstand the turbulent currents), bonytail chub (almost extinct), razorback sucker, and Colorado pike minnow, once so abundant they were fished commercially. These big ancient fish, evolved 3-5 million years ago, can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Shades of spotted owls, and it’s not just fish either. In fact, some of the endangered Colorado River region birds are spotted owls: Mexican spotted owls. As well as a pretty but not flamboyant gray-green songbird called the Southwestern willow flycatcher. Invasive streamside plants such as tamarisk crowd out more nutritious indigenous plants all over the southwest, further effecting the fauna.
Another item proponents of draining Lake Powell and those who want to keep the status quo as it is argue about is evaporation. It’s agreed that the lake’s evaporation rate is about 3%. Pro-Lakers say this is low. Pro-drainers compare it to the evaporation rate of the river, which is less than half of that. They add that yet more water is wasted through seepage into sandstone. The lower the lake level is kept, the less evaporation occurs.
The list goes on and on, and it isn’t within the scope of this entry to delve into much deeper. Whether the West could “survive” without Glen Canyon Dam or Lake Powell is reminiscent of oil demands and shortages. But the little town of Page, born of the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, and thriving on the recreational and tourist industry supported by Lake Powell, would be in for some hard times if lake water levels continue to fall, or if the dam were actually decommissioned. Undoubtedly there would be loss of jobs, property values, and local population. As is so often the case, it’s economy vs. ecology.
For a fair and in depth description of Glen Canyon Dam, read Russell Martin’s A Story that Stands Like a Dam: Glen Canyon and the Battle for the Soul of the West. For the bigger picture, sink your teeth into Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert. Read the pro-Lake viewpoint on the Friends of Lake Powell website. Provocative pro-draining views can be found on the Glen Canyon Institute website, and Living Rivers.
Written by LA guy on 14 Nov, 2005
Visiting Antelope Canyon is expensive. However, it's worth the price of admission. It is expensive because the canyon resides in Indian reservations and Navajo laws dictates that all visitors to the canyon not only have to pay the $6 per person entrance fee but have…Read More
Visiting Antelope Canyon is expensive. However, it's worth the price of admission. It is expensive because the canyon resides in Indian reservations and Navajo laws dictates that all visitors to the canyon not only have to pay the $6 per person entrance fee but have to purchase a guided tour from a local tour company, which usually runs for $20, more if you want to visit both the upper and lower canyons. We purchased such tour from an Indian-run company and rode a modified Jeep through a very bumpy ride to the canyon, about 20 minutes outside of Page. Antelope Canyon is actually different than I had expected. The entrance was nothing but a crack in a giant sandstone rock. However, once we walked into the canyon, it was like walking into a whole other world. With the sunlight working its way down into the twisting canyon, it lighted the inside of the slot canyon into a spectrum of colors: white at the top, pink underneath, then orange, and finally red at the bottom before it lost its radiance. I had worried about the sky being cloudy that day, but our guide said that it was actually perfect weather for visiting the canyon, because on a clear day, unless the sun is right above the canyon, the canyon would otherwise be dark. As we walked through the canyon, we learned that the canyon is formed by gushing water that runs through it when there are flash floods, While with slow floods sand is deposited within the canyon, with fast floods, sand is actually removed from the canyon. This results in a constantly changing environment in the canyon. We had a good guide who was eager to tell us where to shoot our pictures and what they had named some of the rock formations (the Elvis, the Devil, etc.).The canyon is just about a quarter-mile long, but it took us near 1 hour to go from the south end to the north end and back, as we stopped in our tracks so frequently to take in the sights and take pictures. In the end, we emerged from the Upper Valley with a personal sense of the beauty of this slot canyon and brought back memories of a lifetime. Close
Written by Slaney on 13 Feb, 2003
When we arrived at Lake Powell we went immediately to Wahweap Lodge to book a cruise to the Rainbow Bridge. As there is no airconditioning on the boats and it was high summer, we decided to take the early morning departure. The trip…Read More
When we arrived at Lake Powell we went immediately to Wahweap Lodge to book a cruise to the Rainbow Bridge. As there is no airconditioning on the boats and it was high summer, we decided to take the early morning departure. The trip cost $168.67 for two adults including tax.
After booking our trip we relaxed at the side of the pool at Wahweap Lodge which is situated on the beautiful Lake Powell and passed the afternoon soaking up rays and watching the departing boat trips. Trips are available to other destinations like Antelope Canyon.
The next morning we arrived bright and early for our trip. The boat was not large, but had an upstairs and downstairs - needless to say most people opted for the top deck. Soft drinks were available on the voyage which lasted approx 1.5 hours.
The crew pointed out interesting sights on the way, and the low water level was noticable by the white rocks showing where they had previously been immersed. When we arrived at Rainbow Bridge we had a short walk to actually reach the Bridge. Apparently the boats used to go nearer the Bridge, but the water level had dropped so low, new landings had to be built.
The walk which was not arduous, took about 15 minutes and it was very hot, but it was worth it to see this amazing rock which had been sculptured by the elements over time. You are not allowed to go too near the bridge as it is a sacred religious site to Native American tribes.
We were there about 45 minutes in all.
Written by Slaney on 14 Feb, 2003
Page is a relatively new small town not far from Lake Powell. It was established to house the workers of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1956 and grew as the Dam was filled with water in 1963. It is at the northwest corner…Read More
Page is a relatively new small town not far from Lake Powell. It was established to house the workers of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1956 and grew as the Dam was filled with water in 1963. It is at the northwest corner of a large Navajo Indian Reservation.
It was very quiet when we were there and we had no problem parking. We found an internet cafe and went there the next morning to email home.
There is not much to do, but there are some nice shops and restaurants. There are also quite a few hotels.
There is an overlook just outside town which gives a beautiful view of the Colorado River wending its way to the Grand Canyon.