Today we took the drive from Salt Lake City to Page AZ. It’s neat to see how the landscape changes along the way, driving into the desert with the emergence of hoodoos and terracotta-colored buttes. We arrived at one of our favorite places from our last trip, Lake Powell. The RV village was still pretty full despite it being the off season. We set up the RV, had dinner and turned in for the night.
The next day was AWESOME! Our day started with a tour of the Lower Antelope Canyon. We were unable to go on a tour the last time around because you have to go on a Navajo lead tour to go into the canyon and the Navajo Nation had been hit pretty hard by COVID in 2020, so there were no tours. This time around we were able to land tickets to a tour through Ken’s Tours. We both were really looking forward to this. We were in a group of 6 led by a girl named Tessema. Luckily, because of the pandemic, the groups were kept small and it was relatively uncrowded. (Apparently, they normally have hundreds of people waiting at the stairs in the hot AZ sun to descend into the canyon.) The ladders to get down into the canyon are very steep, so there was absolutely no pictures on the stairs! Ha. Our guide said that some Navajo, or Dine’ (literally, the people) prayed for safe passage before entering the canyon. They did this because they believed that humans are meant to be between the sky and earth, so entering the canyon is entering a space where humans really shouldn’t be.
When we got down into the canyon we were in complete awe! Everywhere you looked, it was breathtaking. It was a network of glowing, twisted sandstone carved by ages of passing water. The light bounced off the slot canyon walls, creating highlights and shadows as we walked through. I almost got a bit emotional because I felt so privileged to see this. I had pictured it in my head many times before but nothing compared to seeing it in person. As we continued through, our guide pointed out shapes created in the rock and shared stories about the canyon. It was so special.
Our day didn’t end there. We spent the second half of our day on the water on a jet boat tour of Lake Powell. The boat was quick, getting up to 50 mph when it opened up. We sat in front of an open door, which created a sort of windstorm each time he picked up speed. It was fun! We really hadn’t appreciated just how large this lake was the last time we were here. Before we arrived, we had heard that the lake’s water levels were at an all time low, about 180ft lower than usual. Our captain mentioned that the lake naturally refills in the spring as the mountain snowmelt refills the lake. Its water levels have ebbed and flowed over the years but this was a new record low.
Lake Powell is a boating hotspot and a playground for the elite. A popular thing to do at Lake Powell is rent a boathouse. They park in communities on the lake and have ‘pilots’ drive the houseboat to different spots on the lake where they take want to park. They take their smaller boats and jet skis out to enjoy the lake, which are all attached to the houseboat. For the ultra wealthy who can afford to purchase their own houseboats, they had separate ‘neighborhoods’ where they docked. When I say houseboat, it’s really more of a mega yacht in houseboat form. $10-20 million on average per our captain. Some of them had jet ski lifts in the back that raised and lowered the jet skis from the water. Some were very modern and sleek, which was a such a unique thing to see as we ventured around the lake. Just to give you an idea of how big this lake is, our captain said there is more shoreline along Lake Powell than there is in the continental US! He took us past the upper Antelope Canyon lakeside entrance where we saw kayakers paddling up into the canyon. We saw the Glen Canyon dam near town and ended at Navajo canyon. I snapped a few pictures where you could really appreciate the bath water ring along the canyon, delineating where the water level use to be. As you boat around the canyon, you can look way up at the towering sandstone and precarious spires and half arches set to collapse. The captain said it wasn’t unusual for a spire to be there one day and gone the very next. The canyon is still shaping itself. Our ride back was great. We passed back by the kayakers and saw people fishing, tubing and just enjoying the water. We passed by the luxury communities of house boats and other branches of the lake that lead you far off into solitude. What a fun trip on the water! We ended our day with some takeout from the restaurant, Sunset89. We watched Brooklyn 99 and got ready for bed. What an awesome day!!