Wandering West Day 5, Monday, June 28
Yes, we did wake up around 2 am today and it was worth every minute of lost sleep!
Today’s agenda consisted of a kayak trip on Lake Page and a hike through Antelope Canyon. Then, to top it off we stopped by Horseshoe Bend, drove through the Painted Desert and some in our group saw a bull elk leisurely having his dinner on the side of the highway.
Your first question may be why in the world would you book any kind of excursion that required you to get up so early??? Well, that’s an interesting story. Originally we had booked a rafting trip that would take us on the Colorado River, around Horseshoe Bend, and to see the Petroglyphs. We booked and paid for this trip months ago. Last week, I actually believe it was last Monday, we received an e-mail from the rafting company saying that they were canceling our trip due to excessive heat. What!!!!! We had all been looking forward to this rafting trip and now it was ripped away from us. I went into “fix-it mode”. There is not another rafting company in the town these go out of, Page, AZ, and what we knew was that we wanted something that would at least get us on the water. So, while there may not be another rafting company there are plenty of kayak/paddleboard companies in Page. Just one problem, they typically book up months in advance for groups as big as ours. However, I was not going to be deterred. I just kept calling every company I could find on Google and Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks came through for us. The owner called in two extra guides for the day just to get us a trip, there was only one catch…we had to be at their shop by 5:45 am the morning of the trip. Not too bad right? Well, not until you realize that our campground is 2.5 hours away from Page! So, that’s how we all found ourselves driving through the middle of Grand Canyon National Park at 3 am on a Monday morning.
I have to say, so far this has been my favorite part of this leg of the trip. We started at the boat launch on Lake Powell which is in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area just north of the Grand Canyon. This area is known for its slot canyons that rise hundreds of feed above you. We paddled our way into what is called Antelope Canyon. I think the first paddle took us an hour or so to arrive at the area where we left the kayaks to start our hike. You know, when you go on any kind of kayak trip you should choose your partner wisely. My partner was great for the trip into the canyon, not so much on the trip back (yep, I had Noah).
The hike into Antelope Canyon was just as fun as the kayaking. The further you walk into the canyon, the closer together the walls become. By the time we hiked in a little over a mile the walls were so close we were weaving in and out of places that were almost touching. Most of the kids loved this part, they were like monkeys climbing the canyon walls. Also, since we started our trip so early in the morning we had the canyon almost completely to ourselves. Funny thing, somehow we managed to send one of our guides on ahead with ALL OF THE KIDS! We realized this as us parents were leisurely walking back talking with our other guide. Don’t think we didn’t take advantage of the quiet time and enjoyed our hike back. In reality, we knew Houston, Lucas, and Logan were with them. They are our responsible, don’t do anything stupid, typical oldest children. They wouldn’t let their siblings get too crazy. LOL!
The paddle back was fun but much, much harder! We were fighting a head wind all the way back plus there were more boats getting out on Lake Powell so once we got out of the canyon and into the big water the waves were getting bigger. Of course, it didn’t help that my partner was hit and miss on when he wanted to paddle. I’m pretty sure all of us are going to be feeling this in our arms tomorrow.
We finished up the trip around 11 am and were absolutely famished. So, we found a good lunch at a local eatery in Page called The Ranch House. I think Kevin and Tiffany found the green chile sauce they had been craving since heading west and Jaci, Scott and Johnny were happy they served breakfast all day. Overall, I’d recommend it to anyone in the area.
Bellies full, we headed off to check out Horseshoe Bend that is also right there in Page. Horseshoe Bend is one of those places that travel companies use pictures of to entice you to their area. I can almost guarantee you have seen a picture of it, even if you did not know that is what it was. It really is very cool. Thank goodness there is a railing on most of the overlook because when you look down, it is so steep it messes with your eyes and balance! Well worth the stop if you are anywhere close.
Needless to say, we were all exhausted by the time we meandered our way back to camp. We all had a few different things we wanted to see or do on the way back (like another trip to Wal-Mart…UGH) so we ended up separated and all had our own mini-adventures on the way back. We all saw the beauty of the Painted Desert as you drive straight through it between GCNP and Page. Some saw the big bull elk, some saw wild horses roaming the canyon, some saw a camper blow a tire and had to flag the person down, and some saw new and different views of the Grand Canyon.
Today was a great way to end our trip here at Grand Canyon National Park. Tomorrow we hook up and head toward LAS VEGAS!!