A Photogenic Playground – Page, AZ

When we first camped in Page, Arizona in Spring 2016, we had a great time and vowed to return.  That visit was filled with outdoor activities, but several hidden wonderlands remained unexplored in this photogenic playground.  I published two posts on our first visit; Exploring by Land and Water and Banded Hills.  Page was briefly our home base again last summer when we caught the wave on the slopes of Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.

We were happy to spend another week here at the beginning of our northward migration. We never tire of looking at the beautiful colors and contours of the Colorado River and Lake Powell, which constantly beseech me to grab my camera.  So, my adventurous readers, be prepared for a photographic journey!

Looking north toward Glen Canyon Dam and some upscale homes at Page Golf Course

Throughout the day, the gorgeous formations change colors as shadows slip in and out of the canyons.  It’s a natural beauty that creates amazing and ever-changing swirls and patterns.  Can you tell we just love it here? 🙂

Orange colored beach

Sunset at lone rock, viewed from our campground

View from our dining area window

Harris Sparrow

A Harris Sparrow, rare in this area, came by our feeder a few times

So what did we do on our third time through?  Lots!

Hiking the Rimview Trail

The 10-mile Page Rimview Loop Trail winds around Manson Mesa, on which the city of Page was built.  It offers a panorama of water, rock formations, and mountains.  As we walked along the rim we feasted our eyes on sweeping views of the City of Page, the Vermillion Cliffs, Lake Powell, the Kaparowitz Plateau, Navajo Mountain and the surrounding high desert.

Lake Powell

The river that is Lake Powell

The Kaparowitz Plateau and rock formations

 Navajo Generating Station

The Navajo Power Generating Station is the largest coal-fired electric plant in Arizona

Looking southwest at Vermillion Cliffs

Is the color of the rocks salmon or peach or coral?

The Colorado River flows through that deep canyon

Tower Butte with Navajo Mountain in the distant background

Glen Canyon Dam Tour

Steve signs up for dam tours whenever we get near one.  Not available last time due to construction, so we got on the first tour of the day this time.  Dams are always controversial, as human needs must be balanced against environmental issues.  Such was the case here when this dam was planned in the 50’s, and those concerns remain today.

Glen Canyon Dam and bridge viewed from the south

We were closely watched by guards during this tour

Glen Canyon Bridge

Looking up the Glen Canyon Bridge from 500 feet below

There’s always seepage where a dam connects to the canyon wall

Inside the dam, eight generators provide power for over 2 million homes

Looking up at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, 500′ above

The states that benefit from Colorado River water management

After the dam tour, we explored the vibrant desert and ancient sand dunes along the east end of the dam.  Climbing and walking around these less-visited areas gave us a chance to admire the diverse colors and patterns of the sandstone there.

Ancient sand blown in swirls and frozen in time

The sun hit it right to give the rocks a vibrant orange glow

Along the Hanging Garden Trail

Ferns growing out of the rocks

Seemingly limitless climbing opportunities abound in the Page area

Yes dear, I’m coming back down now!

Water Holes Canyon

One of the allures of the Page area are the slot canyons.  The super-popular (and pricey) ones are the two Antelope Canyon tours, which had already astounded us on our previous visit (click here for photos).  This time we opted for the lesser-known Water Holes Canyon, where a less expensive $12 per person permit from the Navajo Parks office was required.  It allowed us to hike on our own without a guide, which may not be the case much longer because word is getting out about this fantastic place.

The opening into Water Holes Canyon

And what better way to enhance a canyon hike than to do it with friends?  Since Dave and Faye and Al and Ingrid were also camped in Page, we were all set for an expedition of bloggers/photographers.  Several hours of goofing off and laughter ensued, and oh yeah, we actually got in a decent hike too!

If you’re ever in the area and physically up for it, TAKE THIS HIKE!  We all started early and had the beautiful canyon to ourselves for much of the hike.  I have to say the beauty of this trek is comparable to the rushed and crowded Antelope Canyon Tours but at a much more reasonable price.

With each other’s help and some canyoneering skills, we were able to meet the challenges of multiple ladders and tight scrambling spots throughout the canyon.  What a blast we had!

Ingrid demonstrates her butt-scooting canyoneering technique as the judges look on

Can you spot Ingrid?

Steve is tired of always having the spotlight on him 😉

This trail was like a journey to a magical place, with its twisting passageways leading off into natural narrows.  As always, the light changed during our hike to create new displays of color, light and shadow.  It was a wow!

Al and Faye posed while their spouses/photographers shared photography tips

Dave and Ingrid sharing camera tricks

The boys hid in a crack to surprise us, but we caught them.  Nice try!

It’s a tight squeeze there

Details, details…ancient sand frozen in time…

And the happy faces say it all!

Faye, Dave, Ingrid, Steve and Al

 

Next up:  And the adventures in Page continue…