USA Road Trip: Day 12

Monday April 8, 2019

Page is a good town to pass through, less attractive as a destination. A relatively recent town, established in the late 1950s it does not have much character. We started the day with no internet connection. In years gone by, that would be no big deal but it is amazing how much you rely on it these days when in town. There was no reliable AT&T service in Page and the hotel WiFi went down around 9.30pm and was not restored by the time we left.

We headed out of town for a few miles stopping to see the now famous Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, just before the river enters the Grand Canyon National Park boundary. The site has become a huge tourist attraction thanks to Instagram and the Microsoft computers screen saver featuring a photo of the Bends. The huge increase in visitor numbers has put pressure on the local community. The town is now building a carpark to cater for tourists. In the meantime they have a shuttle bus service from a large car park about 3 miles away. Horseshoe Bend is where the river makes a 270° turn. It is absolutely beautiful but so very difficult to capture in a photo. The water was surprisingly clear and we felt quite envious of the kayakers we could see camped on the river banks down below.

Once back in the car we headed towards the Grand Canyon. The drive to Cameron was the reverse of the drive last week but was just as stunning in reverse. We pulled up at a look out where the Little Colarado River joins into the Colorado River. It is surprising how muddy both rivers are given that the Colarado was so clear at Horseshoe Bend. Going through the Navajo land, the houses and surrounds seem depauporate. It struck me as strange that much of their valuable land was traded for trinkets and now they are trading jewellery and pottery trinkets to survive. For a once proud nation and people, they now seem to be doing it tough.

We made it to the Grand Canyon arriving from the east entrance. We stopped at a few lookouts before reaching the Village Centre. No matter how many times we’ve seen this canyon its beauty is still awe inspiring.

At the Village Centre most of the car parks were full. We managed to get a spot after driving around in circles and joined the shuttle bus queues to get out to the western end of the park at Hermits Rest.

They say you need patience to be a teacher but I dip my hat to the bus drivers in the park. It seems like it should be simple, get on the bus and move towards the back and let everyone else get on. Invariably someone gets on stops, blocking the way for anyone else trying to move towards the back. Once off the bus at the western end, we decided to walk back on the Rim Trail.

The rim walk was astounding. No matter how many times we have looked into the Canyon it is still breathtaking to be on the edge of the big hole. Seeing the Bright Angel trail reminded us of our last visit here when we hiked into the canyon spending two nights camped below the rim. I remember being moved to tears as the setting sun lit up the canyon walls all around us. It was a truly transcendent experience which deepened our love and appreciation of the natural world.

With these thoughts dancing in our mind we left the Grand Canyon and headed south towards Flagstaff around 75 miles away.

The sun was setting as we neared the snow capped mountain peaks that provide the backdrop to the town. The sky was lit in beautiful shades of crimson and violet blues reflecting on the snowy peaks. Such a beautiful way to end the day.