There’s an undeniable appeal to finding oases in the desert. About 170 miles to the north of Sedona sits Lake Powell, a fascinating area where you can find gorgeous rocks, the Colorado River, amazing sunsets, and even a beach.
Our itch for a watery time out was facilitated by custom outdoor tour operator Discovery Treks and its owner/lead guide Robert Fliegel. We asked him to put together a photogenic tour with lots of water views. His itinerary brought us to this area near Page, Ariz., not far from the Utah border. Gear for this trip was lightweight casual attire, with a good pair of hiking boots a must. Anyone booking a tour such as this would get a checklist of items needed.
And so, our intrepid travelers gathered for a two-day, one-night excursion. As our photographer reported gleefully, the magic was apparent at sunset. “Every five minutes the sky would change completely, getting more beautiful as the time passed until the sun left the sky.”
Waterworld: Lake Powell
About 15 minutes from Page, Ariz., sits Lake Powell, 186 miles of sparkling blue. The lake beckons lovers of the popular water activities – fishing, boating, etc. – but it’s just as powerful if all you want to do is relax and drink it all in. The surrounding red cliffs just take your breath away.
The lake was created in 1956, a byproduct of the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. Stretching up from Arizona into Utah, it has more than 2,000 miles of shoreline.
There was one intrusion of reality in this otherwise idyllic scene. Lake Powell has been hit by a severe drought, now stretching into its sixth year. The water level has dropped 130 ft., exposing land masses that would normally be under water and posing an ominous threat to the water supply in the Southwest. It’s just a little damper on an otherwise gorgeous day.
No Pushover: Balanced Rock
A freak of nature? Remarkably, this orphaned piece of cliff came to a stop here to create this structure. Ultimately, according to signage at the site, the soft rock now protected by the umbrella of harder conglomerate will erode and the boulder will topple again to the ground, but apparently it’s not as much of an anomaly as you might think; nearby piles of gravel mark the sites of former balanced rocks.
Up a Lazy River: Marble Canyon
The extremely colorful rocks of Marble Canyon are a particularly picturesque landmark near the beginning of the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River flows peacefully beneath the cliffs. The Navajo Bridge provides one vantage point from which to view the water below; for a chance to stretch out on the Colorado’s banks, travel about 10 miles south of the bridge, where you’ll come upon a number of routes that will take you to the river.