View across Lake Powell from Wahweap Marina. — Photo by Pat Bean
“The power of the river is to flow wildly. The power of the lake is to think calmly. Wise man both flows like a river and thinks like a lake.” – Mehmet Merat ildan
Then Lake Powell before Dark
After joining up with Highway 89 in Flagstaff, where I made a quick stop for gas and snacks — Cheetos and a Coke despite my resolution not to eat such road trip fare — I didn’t stop again until Page, where I checked into the Super 8 Motel.
Lone Rock as seen from the beach where I camped my first night in Gypsy Lee. — Photo by Pat Bean
While the accommodation was definitely economy with no frills, the cost of my room, $150 a night, definitely wasn’t. I had gotten one of the last free rooms available in town when I had called five days earlier. The only room free at the Super 8 — and it was the cheapest of what was still available — had been a three-bed unit. It was a bit of overkill for me and my canine companion Pepper, for whom I paid an additional $10 pet fee. But I was thankful for it when I arrived because the people in the check-in line, both ahead and behind me, were turned away because they had no reservations and there were no vacancies.
This motel, one couple said, was their last hope. Page sits pretty much in the middle of nowhere on its northern edge with the Utah border. Kanab, if the unlucky travelers were headed west was 75 miles away, and Flagstaff, if they were headed south, was 135 miles away. Little else was located in between.
Page, with only about 8,000 residents, has about 15 hotels – and sees about 3 million tourists annually. The town sprang up in the late 1950s as a housing community for workers and their families during the construction of the nearby Glen Canyon Dam, which backed up the Colorado River to form Lake Powell. The 17-square mile city of Page, land for which was purchased from the Navajo Nation, is perched atop a 4,300-foot mesa, about 600 feet above Lake Powell..
View from a scenic overlook near Wahweap. — Photo by Pat Bean
It was still a couple hours before dark after I was checked in, so I decided to check out Lake Powell from the Utah side of the border. You can see the lake from Page, but the better views, I knew, were on the Utah side.
This would be a nostalgic trip back in time for me. I had camped at Lake Powell’s campgrounds several times when I was living in my RV, Gypsy Lee, and toured its lake aboard a boat before that. As an environmental reporter, I had also written about its controversial construction that flooded Glen Canyon, and its environmental impacts on the Colorado River. As in all things, there were two sides to the story. Actually, there were a hundred sides as I now recall.
But this late afternoon was not for thinking, just for seeing – and remembering. And the very best memory of all came when I looked upon Lone Rock. This unimproved beach was where I spent my first night in Gypsy Lee back in April of 2004. What a great sundown ending to my first day of this road trip. To be continued …
Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.
Bean Pat: The Open Suitcase http://tinyurl.com/nfg6823 This is a great blog for those of us who can’t afford to visit Europe, And if you don’t live in New York, you can even have fun trying to find Europe in your own backyard.
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