Padilla Vacation Out West
Part II: Page, AZ
So today I’m picking back up where I left off from my last vacation post.
After lunch and ice cream at the Desert View Watchtower, we made our way to Page, Arizona. There are very few places to stop on this drive, so be sure you have gas and snacks and that everyone goes to the bathroom before getting on the road.
The topography changes quickly: lots more sand and the mountains have a pink hue. Not far out of Page, you will drive a steep incline and go through a mountain, if I remember correctly. If you are pulling an RV or driving a large vehicle, heads up.
There are actually two roads you can take from the Grand Canyon to Page. Our map wanted to take us a different road to our hotel, but we took the route that goes by Horseshoe Bend, which appears to be the straight-shot path.
This trip is great for those who like to camp out or take RVs. Our family does not like to “rough it,” so we stayed at hotels the whole trip. In Page, we stayed at the Hyatt Place hotel. The hotel looks and feels brand-new. Everything was super clean and comfortable; they had a Starbucks machine. On the downside, the view isn’t great (it’s in an area that looks to be in development) and the pool is small.
We almost stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel but in the end chose Hyatt Place because the price was better, breakfast was included, and the hotel was newer. However, from the outside, the Marriott looked beautiful.
Another lodging option is at Lake Powell Resort at the Wahweap Marina. We ate dinner there on our last night, and the accommodations looked nice. We were told by some locals that this resort and marina is better than the Antelope Resort/Marina.
On our way into Page, we went straight to our hotel and rested a bit. Before dinner, right before dusk, we went to Horseshoe Bend. This was a wonderful time to go. If you go in the summer, it is very hot and sandy (feels like a desert). You have to pay to park, and I believe it’s a mile walk from the parking lot to the overlook and then a mile back. This may not sound bad, but you can get hot quickly. Take plenty of water bottles and hats. Even at dusk, we were glad to have hats and glasses because of the sun, wind, and sand.
Horseshoe Bend was beautiful. But be careful with little ones! There’s a couple of spots with railing but a lot of spots without railing. We learned the next day that the reason the water looks black is because of the algae. However, when you get water from the river and pour it, the water is clear.
The next day we went on a boat tour on the river, so it was fun for Philip to get the bird’s eye view of where we would be the next day. Also, further back from the edge, were some large rocks that were fun to play on for children.
We ate Mexican food at a restaurant in a hotel that came with great recommendations on Yelp, but it was so-so. We were not impressed with the choices of restaurants on this trip.
The next day we had a pre-booked half-day float trip with Lake Powell Wilderness River Adventure. We had to arrive by 9:30 a.m. to check-in. The tour started at 10:30 with a charter bus ride to the dam, and we got home between 2:30-3:30 (I can’t remember exactly now). Because the river is part of a national park, you had to pay or, in our case, show our national park pass. The worse part of this tour was that they packed us in a small room for orientation after checking in, with some folks not wearing masks. This part worried us the most with covid the whole trip. Everyone under 12 had to wear a life jacket, which Philip hated because it was hot on the river and the jacket made him hot.
Once we got to our boat, the rest of the day was really fun. My guess is that there were 14-18 of us to each boat. Our tour guide was fun and entertaining. The view from the boat was beautiful. We saw all kinds of birds and, near the end of the tour, wild horses. In the middle of the tour, the boats stopped at a beach that had bathrooms (stalls with a toilet) and petroglyphs (ancient Indian drawings) on a rock. We packed a lunch and lots of water bottles in our insulated backpack, and ate lunch on the boat.
This boat tour was definitely worth the time and money. For families with older children, there is a white water rafting option further down the river, but we thought this was better for Philip.
After a long nap, we made our way to the Lake Powell Resort to eat at the Rainbow Room where we had a reservation. The food was better than other places, but even better than the food was the view. Funny enough, due to a storm that came during the late afternoon and early evening, we had double rainbows to go along with our Rainbow Room dining experience!
The next day, we checked out of our hotel and made our way to our Antelope Canyon (lower canyons tour). Since this post is already long, I’ll stop here and share about this tour in my next post.
Before I end here, let me say a word about taking a vacation during a pandemic. Osvaldo and I are both vaccinated, but we still try to be very careful for Philip, who is 10 and immunocompromised. We took the vacation probably at the beginning cusp of the Delta variant and would probably not take it right now with the number of hospitalizations, etc. With that said, this was probably the best vacation to take during a pandemic. Outside of flying (which everyone is required to wear masks), the orientation experience for the boat tour, and eating indoors, we were either outside or by ourselves. We always wore masks indoors, and we were even required to wear masks on our Antelope Canyon tour. As always, be safe and take care when you are traveling!
Until next time,