Lake Powell and the Rainbow Bridge, Page AZ

Created by the huge Glen Canyon Dam, this lake and recreation area is beautiful beyond words. We stayed at an RV park along the lovely lake and we had a fabulous all day boat trip to see Rainbow Bridge and the startling rock formations that surround the lake. Boating is big here with three large marinas for speed boats, fishing boats and houseboats.

As an oasis in an arid desert that straddles Nevada and Arizona this area offers recreation to thousands as well as producing electricity via hydroelectric generation at the Dam. Many toured the Dam but we had just visited the

Mother of all Colorado River dams – Hoover – so we enjoyed the small but intriguing museum dedicated to John Wesley Powell who explored the Green and Colorado river and Canyons first. A remarkable man who despite physical challenges – he lost his arm in the Civil War Battle of Shiloh – he became the first to survey the rivers and reported in detail on the environment for the first time. A tiny museum that was logically organized and a valuable resource.

Rainbow Bridge was a beautiful sight after traveling more than two hours thru the scenic lake. It’s the largest free standing natural bridge in the world and it lives up to its billing. It was a gorgeous day on the water and our boat crew made us comfortable with water and lunches along the way.

This is also a place we would return to and perhaps spend a week or so to truly enjoy the area. Boats of all sizes are available for rent and that would appeal to us. The many different houseboats were fascinating and we also saw pontoon boats – a popular choice in these venues. Clearly this is a popular weekend and vacation spot given the influx of people we saw while visiting.

We also had a special tour of Antelope Slot Canyon by the Navajo tribes who have tended to this sacred site for generations

Our tour guide Irene was amazing and insightful as her grandfather was a shaman who held the Canyon secret before his death and on his deathbed decided it should be shared with others guided by tribe members. This was like visiting a glorious cathedral – it was spiritual and heart warming and the photos from this visit are singular thru no fault of mine – the spirits there clearly express themselves in color and light through crevices.

A spectacular place that words cannot describe.

Now we travel to Jacob Lake AZ and a visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Zion National Park – a beauty among beauties with tantalizing sights to enjoy.

Zion National Park was a terrific experience – they have a fabulous shuttle to take you through the park and the Visitor Center was a valuable stop. We did our first hiking into the Narrows and had a wonderful late lunch in the Zion Lodge. We were surrounded by huge red rock mountains with shining finishes glowing from centuries of erosion. The Virgin River winds through the Park and along the way we see petroglyphs – evidence of early natives people adorning the cliffs.

A delight of world class rock climbers – this park draws worldwide visitors. Often we heard many languages other than English spoken on the shuttles and in the restaurants. We met a young woman with Mt Everest climbing experience visiting Zion for the for some climbing on the sheer cliffs.

We felt this visit was an introduction and may return because two full days was not enough. Zion was discovered by Morman settlers early in the 1900s – one can only imagine their reaction to this grand towering landscape. A short drive thru the park and thru a mountain bridge shows us a completely different stone landscape – less red sandstone – more white limestone formations that resemble frosting or whipped cream creations.

The view through the mountain bridge was pretty cool so I added a few shoots to give you an idea of the drive through both ways. Finally a selfie of us at the Narrows before our first big hike in new hiking boots. We enjoyed the hike but it was very hard mostly due to the altitude – much higher than the sea level we are used to.

We would remain over a mile high for much of the tour with a high of 9100 ft in Bryce Canyon. It takes a lot out of you and everyone reminds you to drink a lot of water all the time. We also enjoyed the unique hanging gardens and lush riverside plants along the Virgin River.

Next stop is Page, Arizona to see the Largest free standing natural bridge – Rainbow Bridge and the Lake Powell Recreation Area.

Touring the National Parks around Grand Canyon – Death Valley first!

We joined this Western National Fantasy RV Tour in Pahrump NV. late in August. As you can imagine it was still quite hot and at our first stop – Death Valley- the temp was 129-130 degrees. It’s a huge amazing place – a desert complete with sand dunes, a giant salt deposit – Furnace Creek with no water, two meteor craters, thriving vegetation that must clap at the slightest moisture and odd rolling hills of sand turned to stone. Great visitor center here where you get good information on the valley’s characteristics.

Our group is composed of 23 motor coaches of all sizes and the people are mostly retired couples although two solo women are driving their own small class c RVs. People are from all over USA with a variety or range of experience. There are four Kathy’s or Kathleen’s and one couple Richard & Kathleen have an Entegra Cornerstone like us. Nineteen dogs have accompanied their owners on this trek

Some folks have seen some of these parks while for others like us this is a brand new experience. Our wagon masters and tailgunners are experienced tour leaders or participants and two grew up out west or while all have traveled here before.

After Death Valley we headed northeast, but we stop to enjoy the Valley of Fire State Park, an incredible array of red stone formations that defy imagination. Or so we thought. Our tour exposed us to many unusual landscapes and out of this world formations – these were the first of many! The Park had a terrific museum and visitor center where we bought a book about this amazing place.

Our next stop is Zion National Park in Southwestern Utah.

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