May 25, 2010

Travelogue Day 4 and 5

Get your best reading glasses on for this lengthy post!

Day 4
Flagstaff - Grand Canyon

This is the scene that we woke to on Monday morning in Flagstaff. It really was snowing here! We were so impressed with this town, even though it was 42 degrees when we left!
The first stop we made on our way to the Grand Canyon, was at this historic Cameron Trading Post. At first we thought it was just another tourist trap, but a quick look in the guide book revealed that it's on the National Historic Registry! It was built in 1916 and sits on the Navajo Reservation. Because of that, much of the store is dedicated to authentic native crafts and jewelry. There was even a pawn case - not what I expected to see!! I must confess we did purchase a beautiful necklace from this case!
We also had the fun of seeing this woman weaving a beautiful blanket in the trading post. She said that it takes her a year to make a rug this size. All of the rugs were handmade works of art.

Next we came through Marble Canyon and the Painted Dessert. It's a wonder we ever made it to our destination since we couldn't stop taking photos in this area! How could you not want to come and see this part of our country?!

This stand is typical as you drive through Navajo land. Crafters sit and sell their handmade items in these stands. It may be humble office space, but you know what they say - location, location, location! I think they have that part solved, don't you?!!

One little note - as we drove through this beautiful scenery, we were listening to perfectly suited music that my sister gave us. It was a CD from a group in Alaska called 10 Mile Junction, and I highly recommend them if you can find them online - thanks sis!

Ahhh...
Finally here! We arrived mid-afternoon and had a very nice beginning to our visit because of this little card...
Since my husband turned 62 this year (is anyone shocked by his age - ha!), he was eligible to buy this lifetime pass to all National Parks for $10 - I know!! And that means that everyone else in the vehicle gets in free too. Is that sweet?!!

Our adorable cabin for the night. Very clean and cozy.
The North Rim Lodge, where we had our celebratory dinner. It was re-built in 1937 by the Utah Parks Company, part of the Union Pacific Railroad, after the original one built by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1928 burned down.
The lodge dining room. We watched the sunset from the lodge and then had our dinner - bison for both of us - very good!
The shot of the outside of the lodge was taken from this path...
...which we hiked in order to have this view...
This lovely guy has been my best friend for 25 years of marriage and never a day passes when I don't thank God for him and pray for him. We are a match made in heaven for sure - each of us just a little off the norm and a perfect compliment to one another!

We took so many photos of the canyon and I'll just put them all together here. Our first site of it brought me to tears, since it's like nothing else you could ever imagine.
Each view was more amazing than the next and then at sunset, there was a special glow that people come to see from far and wide. The buzz at the lodge around sunset was something to experience! A fitting end to a wonderful day.

Day 5
Grand Canyon - Lake Powell/Glen Canyon Dam

Today is our actual 25th anniversary! We skipped the Grand Canyon sunrise experience - it was 37 degrees when we woke up! Instead, we drove up to Imperial Point to see the highest viewpoint of the canyon in the entire park.
Wow! Our last view was a doozy!

As we drove out of the park, we stopped to take a photo of the aftermath of a spectacular fire in 2006. The ranger told us it was caused by lightening. Even though it's a natural cause and actually helps the forest in many ways, it's still a disturbing site.

As we made our way back out of the park, we stopped to photograph an area we had seen the day before. This is in a little town called Cliff Dwellers, which oddly enough has nothing to do with Native American tribes who dwelt in cliffs. Instead a husband and wife who crossed the Colorado River on Lee's Ferry (pictures of that coming up), built a trading post at this site right around this boulder! The cowboys who drove cattle in this area named the homestead Cliff Dwellers since it was so close to the Vermilion Cliffs surrounding the property!
There were more quirky boulders on the property too.
And then there was this restaurant that is on the original property, but in a different location. We actually just intended to ask some questions about the little town, and ended up having lunch there.
We were so pleasantly surprised by the amazing lunch we had. We think the quality of the food is so good because there was a high-end fly fishing guide service right near. Undoubtedly this little place draws in their customers. Just look at this salad (with plenty of caramelized walnuts) and burger with sweet potato fries - mmmmm. I think we may have found a good spot for Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to visit!
Another music note - today we listened to Native Public Radio broadcast from the Navajo Reservation at 100,000 Watts - which my DH tells me is very strong. It was a delightfully quirky mixture of Native American songs (including some contemporary arrangements) and jazz and 40's standards. It all fit the landscape perfectly!


We also stopped at Lee's Ferry Crossing, which is now the site of the Navajo Bridge that spans the Colorado River, but was once an actual ferry crossing for early settlers.

Here's a shot of the Colorado River below this bridge, and it's the same river that flows at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
We arrived at our final destination for the day - Page, AZ, which is known for Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam. We're now very near the Utah border. Lake Powell is a large water reservoir that was created when the dam was built. There has been controversy in it's past and present. You can read about it on Wikipedia if you are so inclined! This is part of the 186-mile long lake.

Looking toward the site where the lake drains into the dam.

The top of the dam.

The wall of the dam. Look closely for the man (little black speck) crossing the dam on the concrete road. This thing is massive and took 8 years to build.
A plummeting look down to the bottom!
I've been weak in the knees with all our steep views lately! What will tomorrow bring?! BTW, we have internet access on our phones, but our coverage has been spotty as you can imagine. If your emails are slow to be answered or your comments slow to be posted - that's why! Back soon.

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