On a bike ride on the Kaibab Plateau, we passed a sign for Jacob Lake. Now I don’t mean to be mean, but would you call the 50 foot wide puddle that My Lovely Bride is pointing to a “lake”? You can’t even see what little water there is from here! I submit that “sinkhole” or “cattle wallow” would be a more appropriate appellation, but who am I to judge? Maybe here in Arid Arizona this qualifies as a lake…
Back at the campground, Suzanne caught this Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) sitting on a feeder trying to decide on which breakfast to order… they feed on nectar and insects. Males tend to be promiscuous, which actually ensures the survival of the species, but after a pair mates, the male departs and the female raises the young on her own. (Males do not receive the Audubon Society’s Good Parenting Award.) These little birds are about 3-4 inches in length, and have adapted to cold mountain climates by being able to selectively enter torpor, slowing its heart rate and dropping its body temperature. (Note: males of the species Homo sapiens may also display torpor [and sometimes stupor] when spoken to by their wives or while watching football on TV.)
We departed the high Kaibab Saturday morning and headed for Page, Arizona, but the primary, most direct road was closed. For… maintenance? No. Road work? No. Annual cleaning? No. In February, the road collapsed. There is a 25 ft deep crevice (partially shown here) that makes it difficult for motor coaches to traverse. But not to worry, there is an alternate route, which only required an extra hour of driving…
We crossed towering Glen Canyon Dam on our way to nearby Page, AZ. Creation of the dam back in the late 1960s created Lake Powell, the second-largest man made lake/reservoir after Lake Mead (Hoover Dam). The 710 ft high dam is an imposing sight, and certainly a marvel of civil engineering.
The Glen Canyon dam is also a major hydroelectric generation facility. These power line towers are the largest I’ve ever seen.
Lake Powell is also a major boating area, with most people opting for houseboats and power boats. It is over 200 miles from one end to the other, and the scenery is certainly spectacular.
We are staying for three days at the Page, Arizona, Elks Lodge, for $15 per night vs. $45 at a commercial campground with the same facilities. This lodge’s RV area is well-equipped with 50 and 30 amp electrical connections and water, both of which are in high demand because of the brutal heat (we saw 105F yesterday, but it’s a dry heat… yeah, like that makes a lot of difference when you’re suffering from sunstroke!) To beat the heat, we opted for early rev on Saturday morning (0545, not too bad considering dawn arrives at 0506, which is more than a little rude). We wanted to get an early start kayaking on Lake Powell before the heat set in. Here we are at the boat ramp (1/4 mile long from the parking lot to the water).
We set out to Lower Antelope Canyon, where at first we enjoyed some solitude between towering sandstone cliffs with only occasional birds for company.
I mentioned to My Lovely Bride that this was the first boat trip when I had to worry more about falling rocks than storms or high waves. This was the view straight up from my kayak.
We paddled to the head of navigation, this beach where a 40 minute trail up the slot canyon began. Since we were wearing Teva sandals, we weren’t planning on a very long hike in 100F temps.
On the hike, we saw this well-camouflaged lizard. Natural selection is an awesome process; he was almost invisible against the sandstone.
Then these desert lilies (I think) caught our attention. They were less well camouflaged, but perhaps that was to get bees and hummingbirds to collect their nectar and spread their seeds farther afield?
The highlight of our stay here in Page, however, came today with a photographers’ tour of Antelope Canyon. It was truly a spiritual experience. You cannot visit Antelope Canyon without leaving stunned with the grandeur of our natural world and God’s creativity. Here are just three of our photos; please visit Suzanne’s Facebook page for more. I will also have a longer write-up about this magical canyon in tomorrow’s blog.