Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Day 9-10, Page AZ
Day 9: Grand Canyon NP to Page, AZ
Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.
We’re up early, coffees in the saloon (yes, double duty for the bar) and then breakfast in the lodge: cheerios with fruit (if you can call ¼ banana and 5 slices of a strawberry fruit) and DB goes again with the banana pancakes: $24.
We off at 8am to Page. On the way we drive for about 20 miles next to the Vermillion Cliffs – very impressive – and stop at the Marble Canyon visitors center to get our passport stamped and see the two parallel bridges over the Colorado River. Around 10:45 we get to page, around 125 miles, where we check in with our tour guide for tomorrow, Carol Big Thumb. There is a strong chance of thunderstorms for tomorrow, we agree to meet as planned at 8:30am and see if the day can go as planned.
We eat lunch at the Dam Bar and Grille: DB has grilled chicken and salad greens and THB has the fish tacos (cod fried in batter, yummy!) and chips. The chips have crossed the French fry line, they are potatoes sliced like chips and deep fried. They are actually way over the line! We eat only half (mostly by THB). With ice tea, $32.
We decide to take a 2.5 hr boat ride on Lake Powell. How hot was it? Very hot, though it wasn’t that hot at noon. When we get off the boat mid-afternoon it is 95 degrees. We have been baked. The scenery from the boat has flashes of interest, we are becoming jaded with all the great viewing we’ve been doing. Total: $135. The one local note: the steel for the Glen Canyon bridge in front of the dam came from E-ville oh those many years ago.
Back to the Courtyard, check-in and take a dip in the pool. A nice, conventional hotel room, something we haven’t been able to say since we left E-ville. Then to dinner at the top rated place in town: Fiesta Mexican food. This is the equal of the Acapulco in Alameda (high praise) and we do something we’ve never done: we outdrink our food $30 to $22 (before tip). That’s what three traditional margaritas and 90 degree weather will do to you. DB has a tostada and THB has the chile relleno and pork tamale combo: total $62. At 7:30, it is a near full moon and 87 out. Thunderstorms tomorrow?!
And, today was a no exercise day: we sat in the car, we sat on the boat, we sat and drank at dinner.
Day 10: Page, AZ
I also love the makers of South Park, because they're political, strong, and they're making all of these comments that would get you shot for if you did it in a drama.
Pics: The first four are from the first day in Page on the boat, the rest are from slot canyons on day two in Page (except for the picture of the coal power plant right outside of town).
A side note: Pics are as always things we see along the way of interest (HAH!). However, the slot canyons are a whole nother thing! DB takes over taking the pictures and Gabriel knows which are the best/famous shots and so he takes some of the pictures as well. THB takes few (THB is in a lot of the pics, another anomaly). Thus what you are seeing here with this posting is a small subset of the pics taken. Very small. So, rather than post the rest of the pics, THB encourages you to seek out sites that show you the range and beauty of the slot canyons. Or something like that…it’s an excuse, really, since we could be posting a huge number of pics at every stop. Which would take a long time. Of course, I have now made the side note longer than most of the other paragraphs.
And the weather is hanging in with us: no rain, wind, lots of blue sky, some big clouds on the horizon.
Since yesterday was a no exercise day, THB gets up early and heads to the fitness center. Breakfast in the room, cereal and melon, then on to visit slots canyons. We’ve booked with Carol Big Thumb, she runs a competing service to the big provider in town (which turns out to be run by her family, she broke off a few years ago to go out on her own). Our guide for the day is Gabriel, another couple was supposed to be with us, they are a no-show, so we are getting a really private tour.
Well, not THAT private. The Lower and Upper Antelope slot canyons are run by the Navaho nation, and people are driving up to the Lower to get on group tours. You can tell from the pics that there are plenty of people in the canyons. Since we are on a private tour, we can go at our pace. Gabriel knows the best spots for viewing. Same for the Upper Antelope canyon, which is even more crowded. It is the more special of the first two from a picture-taking standpoint, though each is spectactular.
Then a sidetrip to Rattlesnake, where we are the only people in this canyon: it’s not part of the basic tour most people are taking. This is where you see DB on a ladder with me awaiting my turn. It is a stretch to get from the ledge down to the ladder. IF this was part of Angel’s Landing, NOBODY would make it to the viewpoint.
Gabriel lets us know that there is an equally challenging set of ladders on the first of the afternoon’s canyons, so DB decides to go on the half day tour (meaning, she’s done!). We eat lunch in the car because it is so windy outside you can’t eat outside. PB&J sandwiches, carrots, water, made in the room before we left for the day. After lunch, DB goes back to town, and I await Gabriel’s return from helping out with other shuffling of people to the canyons.
Gabriel and I take off for Sheephead canyon. After a short drive and a short walk to the beginning of the canyon, there is an abandoned broken aluminum ladder and pieces of the bridge washed out in a recent flash flood. Then we get to the first ladder to climb into the canyon; DB has made the right choice, this is not an easy segue from the ladder to the canyon, it is a HARD segue. At least the drop-off is only 10 – 15 feet of so over soft sand. Hard on the way back, too. I am pretty damn sure I am the only one who has been in this canyon other than guides and limber 20 year olds in a long time, at least since the bridge blew out.
The last canyon of the day is Owl Canyon, and we do see an owl (and a lot of birdshit on the side of the canyon walls). Pretty impressive!
The entire day is impressive, another above and beyond! Half-day tour, $126, full day tour, $226, and a generous tip for Gabriel.
Dinner at the Blue Buddha: edamame, Thai chicken/peanut cups, noodle bowls, sake mojito, martini, glass of wine, $73. Not worth a detour.