Lake Powell/Zion

Memorial Day is a holiday in USA where they remember those who have died in the nations service. Its also a long weekend and we decided to set off to see the sandstone slot canyons at Lake Powell. Its an 8 hour drive to Lake Powell and we tried to set off early enough on Friday afternoon to beat the traffic. But we failed so we didnt even make it to Las Vegas on the first night. We decided to stop in Vegas for a buffet Lunch the next day. But made a big mistake when we decided to try out the MGM buffet instead of our favourite Belagio. Belagio is still the king of buffets.

Its rather hard to capture the feel of the Arizona county side by camera. Its made up mostly of bare red wind sculptured hills and desert. Its quite beautiful. But we are not inspired to walk in it.

Here is our first view of Lake Powell. Its a National Park, but its not a natural creation. Its made by the damming of the Colordo River. You can rent a house boat there. It looked very crowded with powerboats. But apparently is very good once you get away from the crowded part. As usual we could have spent more time there.

Horseshoe bend is a rather spectacular formation made by the meandering of a river. I think it would be very good to go down there in a kayak. Its a short walk to get there from the carpark, but there is no obvious access to get down there.

A good view of Lake Powel taken from near our campsite. We frequently decide on these trips at the last moment and end up missing our on a good camping spot. On this occassion we had a fantastic spot.

Our camping spot. We could walk down to the shore of the lake, had a good BBQ and were stocked up with beer!

At the BBQ!

The reason we came were the slot canyons. I was expecting to be able to walk to them but they are on Indian land and you must take a tour. (not true according to Mum who has been there and entered a good canyon unguided) We got in these big four wheel drive vehicles and off we went. They were really quite something, but even harder to photograph than the desert.

There is also a photographers tour. I dont know if they go to the same place, but I think it might be worth it if we had a tripod and a better camera. If we go again I might break out my old SLR.

I dont want to give the impression that this was a badly planned trip. But when we planned it we had a map of Arizona spread out on our table. We planned to spend the whole weekend at Lake Powell. But once we got there we realized that Zion National Park was right across the border in Utah. So we decided to go over and have a look. Zion turned out to be very spectacular. Another place we needed a lot more time. This whole mountainside had been carved up into a checkerboard by some stange process (wind?).

In the river valley. Zion was not the desert we were expecting at all.

Lots of spectacular mountain formations in Zion. Looked like a good rock climbing spot.

At the end of the walk up the river there were lots of warning signs about not proceeding, but lots did. There were people coming back with packs on their backs and even wetsuits for walking up the river between the steep rock walls. We just walked a short distance and had to come back because we were running out of daylight.

Another view of the great red rocks at Zion. We werent aware of its existence, but based on photos nearby Bryce Canyon National Park looks even better than Zion. So we cant wait to get back up there. Maybe next time we will take packs and have a better look around.