Glen Canyon Kayaking day 2

The second day on Glen Canyon, we had 9-miles to do. The river current is very slow, there are just a few places where the water goes faster actually carrying down with no efforts. But for the most part you have to paddle quite a bit. With some stops and taking our time, it took us 5 hours to go down. And we didn't even make the last stretch after the last bend, as the canyon really widens out past Fall Creek, and the wind comes rushing in. That afternoon it was so strong, we couldn't paddle against it. So we waited for one of the outfitters huge raft to come by and they hauled us back to Lee's Ferry on that last stretch. We enjoyed that effortless 1-mile ride back to the launch site, especially as that stretch looking out towards Lee's Ferry is not as scenic. There are many beaches to have lunch, we stopped on one that was conveniently in the shade, and hung out there for an hour. I also stopped with Antoine in one part of the canyon that gets quite narrow where there's no more beaches, and the river is stuck between vertical cliffs of each side of the canyon, and gave a quick paddling class to Antoine as he's getting a hold on Kayaking!

Glen Canyon kayaking day 1

To go into Glen Canyon you have to hire Colorado River Discovery to back-haul your boats from Lee's Ferry into the canyon. There's no way down the canyon below the dam. These guys picked us up at 2:30pm from Lee's Ferry and dropped us at Ferry Swale canyon campsite at 3:30pm. Their boats are giant version of our inflatable kayaks, with an engine. On the way you can stop out the places where you might want to stop, and we were even able to drop all our camping gear on a campsite so we could reserve it, and not have to carry all our equipment on the first day. We paid $288 for the back-haul for all 7 people and gear. After being dropped at Ferry Swale campsite we headed down the river towards the Petroglyph site. It's a short 200 yards walk to the site. Giant lizards welcome you there, as well as wildflowers, at least in April. Then it's an easy paddle down the river around Horseshoe Bend. Down on the river you could see people on the rim at the Horseshoe Bend lookout getting ready for the sunset picture. Where we were there was barely anyone in sight. The 9-mile campsite at the tip of Horseshoe Bend was taken by fishermen with a motor boat, so we took the 8 1/2 mile one where there's actually two campsites there. That location was great because it provides plenty of shade if you come during the summer. In April any location is good. It gets cool possibly cold at night because the river is so cold here, around 8ºC. It hurts to have your feet in there.

Lee's Ferry

Lee's Ferry is where you can finally cross the Colorado River again, 350 miles (564 km) away from Hoover Dam. That's also where we'll be starting our next kayaking trip on the Colorado River inside Glen Canyon below the dam that hold Lake Powell. Lee's Ferry is the only place in Arizona where you can drive down to the Colorado River, it's the only natural crossing. Until the early 1900s a ferry was operated here to help people cross the river. Now it's the launch for all the 3-week long Rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. There's also a windy campground, where you can sleep on gravel. It's a nice location, but not always a pleasant camping experience. In April it's busy, and can easily be filled early in the day during weekends, and you'll share the space with RVs running generators until 8pm. Get a spot with a tree if you can. In the summer it's usually too hot, and super windy. But we enjoyed our night here knowing that we were going to spend two more days on the Colorado River in the last stretch of Glen Canyon that was submersed by Lake Powell. Glen Canyon is deep with long straight red cliff on each side and the river in the middle, but most of it was sadly drowned in Lake Powell, and that 15-mile stretch is the last remaining bit of that beautiful landscape. The other feature here is the double Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River right at Marble Canyon.

 

Grand Canyon day visit

So on this trip we were basically doing a tour around the Grand Canyon, starting in Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Lee's Ferry, Zion National Park, then Death Valley, and back to San Francisco via South Lake Tahoe. So we had to make a stop to the Grand Canyon South Rim. It's nice to see the Grand Canyon, but it's never a pleasant visit. If you're not going to hike into the Canyon, then you're just going to go from vista points to vista points, with thousands of other people, most of them doing the one day round trip from Las Vegas. The crowds seriously suck, they're not your typical park's crowd, they're just tourists that you find in shopping malls usually. On top of that the Grand Canyon is actually GRAND. It's 11 miles wide and 1-mile deep at the main view point area, so it's often hazy, and it's hard to even get a sense of what you're looking at. We didn't hike this time, although I had planned to do a 6-mile round-trip on the South Kaibab trail, but after 2 days of kayaking and before 2 more days of kayaking we needed a break. So we just drove on hwy 64 stopping at all the view points. The road is nice whether you have a view of the Canyon or not. It's on the South Kaibab plateau at about 6000 feet so it's a thick pine forest.