Southwest – Day 16

Southwest USA

Retirement Trip

September 2019

29 Days – 6,500 Miles – 19 States

7 National Parks

Several State Parks – 6,000+ Photos

1 Trillion Insects Squished by Car Windshield

 From 108 Degrees to Snow

From 282 Feet Below Sea Level to 12,000+ Feet

Bison, Elk, Prairie Dogs, Lizards, Wild Horses

Elvis, Aliens, John Wayne Westerns

Walking In The Footsteps of Forrest Gump

And More! 

Today, we traveled from Kanab, Utah to Kayenta, Arizona.

We pass through Vermilion Cliffs, Marble Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more.

Since we explored the Grand Canyon North Rim yesterday, we could take our time today and see

more sites along the route from Kanab to Kayenta.  There is plenty to see, so let’s begin!

After a good breakfast at the hotel in Kanab, we loaded the car and headed south

on Rt 89A past the entrance to the Grand Canyon North Rim

(where we explored yesterday).  Within an hour, the scenery changed once again.

Not long after passing Jacob Lake and the entrance to the Grand Canyon North Rim,
the forests gave way to hills and semi-desert landscapes.
Then, as we came over the top of a hill, this large cliff came into view. 
It stretched from one side of the windshield to the other.  And beyond!
Laid out in front of us was the Vermilion Cliffs. 
The Vermilion Cliffs National Monument covers nearly 300,000 acres in northern Arizona.
These cliffs run along the southern and eastern edges.
Once again, the intrepid photographer out doing his thing.
This farm sits along the southwest corner of Vermilion Cliffs.  We will be passing by there shortly.
How’s that for peace and solitude?
As we traveled along the southern edge of Vermilion Cliffs, we were treated to amazing views.
It is over 20 miles from one end of the cliffs to the other end.

We stopped at this pull off for the Dominguez-Escalante Historic Trail.
The Dominguez-Escalante Expedition was a Spanish journey of exploration conducted in 1776 by 2 Franciscan priests, Atanasio Dominguez and Silvestre VĂ©lez Escalante, to find an overland route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to their Roman Catholic mission in Monterey, on the coast of modern-day California.
The land was harsh and unforgiving, and hardships encountered during the travel forced the group to return to Santa Fe before reaching Monterey. The Dominguez-Escalante route eventually became an early template for the Old Spanish Trail. 
(Notes from Wikipedia)
For more information: 
Sign marking the turnoff. 
Looking west back on Rt 89A, where we just came from.

Looking east on Rt 89A as motorcyclists pass by.  We will soon be following their lead. 
Another view of Vermilion Cliffs as we near the eastern edge near Marble Canyon. 
Great view of the eastern end of Vermilion Cliffs.
Learn more about Vermilion Cliffs: 
This close-up shows some of the interesting colors of the cliffs.


Just a few miles east, we took a detour to Lee’s Ferry, just on the southern tip of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The road goes through about 6 miles of beautiful canyons before coming to the

Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry, upstream of the Grand Canyon.

On this Google Earth image, you can see where we are.
We were driving on Rt 89A from left to right and turned north at the red marker onto Lee’s Ferry Road.
We followed that north until we came out at Lee’s Ferry, indicated by the yellow arrow. 
After we leave here, we will return to Rt 89A and see the new and old Navajo Bridges as they span the Colorado River canyon.
You can also see both of the bridges on this image.
Heading out toward Lee’s Ferry. 
The scenery is incredible!!!
To put it in perspective, these rocks are over 2 miles away, and as tall as the Empire State Building.
Around the next corner, we were surprised to see an area with several balancing rocks, some as high as 30-40 feet.   
These are formed when a large rock made of hard material rolls down the hillside into softer rock/soil. 

As the rain erodes the surrounding soft rock/soil, the hard rock on top protects the rock/soil underneath. 
Eventually, though, the soft rock/soil will erode to the point where the large rock falls to the ground, and
the process starts all over again.  Check back in a few thousand years for updates.
Here is a better explanation of the balancing rocks. 
A couple more balancing rocks.
And a nice profile to show how delicately balanced these are. 
I can see a Road Runner vs Coyote cartoon in the making!
After a few more miles of incredible scenery, we came to Lee’s Ferry.  This is the only easy access to the Colorado River for over 100 miles.
Today, bus loads of kids waited to board rafts to go explore the river and canyons. 
Swimming, fishing, boating, and rafting are all popular sports here.
The road we came in on (and will be leaving on) goes along below the cliffs in the upper right.
This family was having a relaxing day by the river.
One of several informative signs along the river.
Stories of river explores from John Wesley Powell on. 
Quite a change in the river since the Glen Canyon Dam was built.
Some say it was not all for the better.
Two historic cabins at Lee’s Ferry. 
Looks like a scene out of an old western movie.

This is one of those photos that begs to be in Black and White.  Which do you prefer?

Window to the past. 

Next, we returned to Rt 89A and turned left (east) just in time to see the old and new Navajo Bridges.

(You can see them both on the Google Earth photo earlier)


Just east of Lee’s Ferry is a pair of similar-looking bridges spanning the Colorado River.

The original was built in 1927-1929 and carried traffic for nearly 70 years.

In 1995, a new bridge was built to replace the overworked old bridge.

To read more: 

View of the new Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River. 
View of the new (left) and old (right) Navajo Bridges.   
You can walk out on the old bridge for great views.
Plaque by the old Navajo Bridge.
Panorama of the new bridge and the Colorado River. 
View up the Colorado River from the old bridge.
Lee’s Ferry is just a few miles up.

From here, we continued east and then north toward Page AZ.

Our next stop is Horseshoe Bend, which you may recognize from the photos.


Located just south of Page AZ is Horseshoe Bend. 

To get there, you must pay to park, then hike 1.5 miles to the overlook. 

After parking and walking up the first hill, you can see the trail leading off into the distance.
Not much else to see at this point, except that canyon up ahead and to the left.
I’m now just minutes away from the overlook, but see little. 
After a long hike through the sand, I’ve reached the viewing area. 
(Even though there are “Stay Off The Rocks” signs all over, some people climb out to the edges. 
That’s why you hear about people falling 1,000 feet to the death each year. Oh well.)
Suddenly, I reach the edge and am greeted with this magnificent view! (Recognize it now?)
  Horseshoe Bend is a good name.  It really is a 1,000-foot drop from here.
For more information on Horseshoe Bend:

We are actually less than 10 miles upstream from Lee’s Ferry.
This Google Earth image shows the twisty path of the Colorado River.
Next, we will be heading east on Rt 98 off to the right.


Now it was lunchtime and we were hungry.  Since we have been trying a lot of different foods the

past 2 weeks, we both said we would just like a hamburger. So, we pulled into McDonalds

at Page for a quick lunch before continuing to Kayenta.

After lunch, we turned east on Rt 98 and immediately started climbing.
Incredible scenery just by the road.
After climbing through the rocky passes, we come out on a high plain.
We are now at around 5,700 feet elevation, compared to 4,300 feet back in Page.
The Navajo Generating Station has been providing electricity to this region since 1976. 
It is one of several coal-fired plants being shut down this year.  Its 430 employees will soon be out of work.
Continuing southeast on Rt 98 toward Kayenta.
As we neared Kaibito, we saw some horses grazing.   The cliffs make an interesting background.
More horses grazing nearby.
Soon, we reached Rt 160 and turned northeast toward Kayenta.
Nearing Kayenta.  We stopped at a casino (Navajo country) and had a nice supper.
Helpful Hint:  We have found casinos quite often offer great meals and buffets for low $$.
After supper, it was on to the hotel. 
The Wetherill Inn is owned and operated by the Navajo nation, and is very clean and quiet.  Excellent breakfast, too.

Tonight, we watched TV and rested as we planned ahead for

tomorrow’s drive through Monument Valley and 4 Corners.

We hope you will join us again tomorrow!  See you then!

Mileage Today:  230 Miles

Trip Total:   3,864 Miles