Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge and the Colorado’s horseshoe bend

[This was the second leg of our ~3000 mile journey in the great American west. Here are the links to the firstthird, fourth & fifth parts]

We left the beautiful sand dunes of Colorado, and headed westward towards a city called Page, in Arizona. Our real destination was a campground in Wahweap bay, just off Page, and situated inside the Glen-Canyon national park.

map great sand dunes to page arizona

While crossing Utah (the route takes you first through Utah, and then onto Arizona), the scene started to change quite dramatically. First the hills and forests gave way to large open fields which then turned into barren land and eventually into red rocks and canyons. As the sun set, we were driving through red Indian reservation areas of arid, desert lands, and tall canyons. No vegetation, no animals and no humans in sight for dozens of miles. The loneliness of this part of the country was eerie. The harsh landscape really felt unearthly, as if we had landed on the moon or on mars.

Heading west from southern Colorado toward Arizona

Heading west from southern Colorado toward Arizona

We reached the Wahweap bay campground past dinner, and quickly went about setting up our tent.  Amazingly and thankfully, we were able to shower there (timed at $2 for 15 minutes of water!).

A lovely sunrise at lake Powell marina, Wahweap, Arizona (Uday Arya)

A lovely sunrise at lake Powell marina, Wahweap, Arizona

The weather was pleasant at night, but quite windy. We’d underestimated  the wind and upon returning from a walk, found our fully setup tent a good 100 feet away from where we left it!

The next day, we had a ‘full’ Arizona sun – temperatures went as high as 35c. We had booked a cruise that would take us to the famous “Rainbow Bridge” through the beautiful Lake Powell.

Lake Powell happens to be a huge reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona (most of it, along with Rainbow Bridge, is in Utah). It is the second largest man-made reservoir in the United States.

 

Beautiful walls of sandstone surrounding Lake Powell (Uday Arya)

Beautiful walls of sandstone surrounding Lake Powell

 

We'd been on the boat for almost two hours at this point, and here the waterways had become quite narrow (Uday Arya)

We’d been on the boat for almost two hours at this point, and here the waterways had become quite narrow

 

The docking area on lake Powell near Rainbow Bridge national monument, Arizona (Uday Arya)

The docking area on lake Powell near Rainbow Bridge national monument, Arizona

 

After the day was almost over, and right before sunset, we headed to a place a half-hour away called the “Horseshoe-bend”.

You’ll see it in the pictures. Here the Colorado river makes a dramatic turn which can be seen from over a cliff which is more than 1,000 feet over the river. (To put this in context – the Eiffel tower is about t 980 feet above ground, so this feels as if one were standing at that height above the Colorado! – just magnificent.)

We were there until there was almost no light in the sky. It was very windy, and there were raging dust gusts every few minutes. There was no chance of being able to make the tripod stand ! At Horseshoe bend, Colorado river, Grand Canyon (Uday Arya)

At the Horseshoe bend of the mighty Colorado. At one level it was a tremendous vision of Nature – graceful, of infinite strength and calm. And on a more tangible note – it was actually very windy, and there were raging dust gusts every few minutes.

It was really beautiful – and very windy. At several points that evening, while climbing slippery rocks, we felt we could well be  blown away – and not just by the beauty.

silhouette at horseshoe bend, colorado river, near page, arizona

We waited until there was almost no light in the sky, and then walked back in the windy silence – an unforgettable evening.

We returned to the comfort of our tent after a long day out, soaking in moments that have stayed with us to this day.

Other parts of this road-trip

Uday
..is a wanna-be travel-writer and photographer currently based out of New York. In 2013, received the Dilbert bravery award for attempting to put together lengthy travelogues in the age of 20-sec attention spans.
Uday
Uday