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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Circuit…

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Today was a driving exploration around the edge of the Vermilion Cliffs NM. So we headed west on Highway 89A to the Kaibab Plateau. This image was taken partially up the side of the plateau looking back toward the east. The plain extends south all the way to the Grand Canyon. This portion of Arizona is called the Strip. Can you imagine crossing this territory in 1775? Two priests from Santa Fe did, trying to find a route to Monterrey CA. They eventually gave up. Escalante-Grand Staircase NM is named after one of the priests.

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We drove up to the intersection where you head south to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. There is a very nice campground here, but the road south and the campground were still closed. As you can see, there is still snow here around 8000 feet.

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A more wide angle view. In the late 90s, California Condors were re-established on the cliffs.

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There is a gravel/dirt road that travels north up the west side of the Vermilion Cliffs NM, through House Rock Valley, with the Kaibab Plateau to the left. The top of the National Monument is accessible from this side.

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Some interesting purple, older rock.

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An image looking back south with the Kaibab Plateau in view, and the awesome sky. Showers developed later.

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Interesting formations. Permits are required to access the top of the monument. Only 20 people per day are allowed overnight in the southern and northern sections each of Coyote Buttes.

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This is the access to the northern section of Coyote Buttes at Wire Pass Trailhead. From here you can hike through Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in the southwest, twelve miles. At the end of Buckskin is the Paria River Canyon, which exits at Lee’s Ferry. A great forty-three mile hike from here…easy peasy. You can also hike to the WAVE.

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Ya gotta get over the wall first…

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We finally bounced along and reached Highway 89 on the northern side of the monument, turning east to Page. We drove through the in-famous Wahweap campground and huge marina on Lake Powell. The winds were sustained at 25-30 mph as Carla took this image looking north to the marina. The bottom of the canyon is about 200-300 feet below those boats.

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The Glen Canyon Dam is in the distance and in the far left corner you can see the 2,220 MW Navajo coal-fired power plant. Why two power stations so close together? Water and easy access to coal. If you look close in the middle of the image, you can see the very tip top of a rock tower in the water. Yeah, the level is lowering.

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A great image of the dam and the bathtub rim. The lake is easily approaching 100 feet below normal. During the 1982-83 flood, water came within six feet of the dam top. The water at this point is about 550 feet deep.

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We stopped for a bite at Page and noticed that the visibility was lowering to our north in blowing sand and dust. As we drove south this was out the left window. If you look closely, you can see dark swirls…dust devils embedded in the broader blowing sand.

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Finally back at camp, just as the showers reach the cliffs. It rained for about 5 minutes.

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