Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 3

by Bingle on Jun.05, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

Day 3 started out early making sure we were in the lobby of the Red Feather Lodge before our bus would arrive to take us on our “Smooth Water Tour” of the Colorado River. Around 6:15 a.m. we started off on a 3 hour or so ride to Page, AZ and the Glen Canyon Dam. The Glen Canyon Dam holds back the Colorado River to form Lake Powell and the base of the dam was to be our starting point on our smooth water tour of the Colorado River and Glen Canyon. I was almost left behind after both of the stops we made on the way. The first was at the Maswick Lodge within the Grand Canyon where we picked up a few more folks. We had taken a few minutes to look through the gift shop and had gotten back to the bus when Karen decided she wanted to get a hat that she had seen at the gift shop. Karen and I ran back in to get it and while we were inside, the driver finished with the phone call he was making inside and decided it was time to leave. Luckily the girls kept the driver from leaving that time. The second time was while we were stopped at a gift shop in Cameron and I got separated from the others while browsing inside.

Glen Canyon Dam

As we were to board our powered rubber rafts at the very base of the dam (700 or so feet down) and would require traversing a 2 mile long tunnel drilled through the canyon wall, security was fairly tight. In fact, Karen and Amber had to surrender their fanny packs before we boarded a different bus for our trip down the tunnel. Their packs (and other rafter’s belongings) were placed in a separate vehicle for the trip down and could only be picked up once we reached the rafts. Once we reached the bottom, we were handed hard hats that we had to wear until we were about to board the rafts. This was to protect us from anything thrown over the side of the bridge hundreds of feet over our heads.

Our guide on the river, Josh (aka Billy Bob), then treated us (and about a dozen other folks) to a leisurely trip down the Navajo sandstone Glen Canyon, stopping frequently to point out interesting features or give us a bit of history of John Wesley Powell’s expedition down the Colorado River in 1869.

More River Rats

The flatness and uniformity of the sandstone walls of the canyon made it very difficult to truly grasp the scale. At one point, I was just pondering whether the canyon walls were significantly higher than they had been when we started when Josh asked that exact question. I immediately responded with a yes, and Josh then informed us that they indeed were, the rim having grown to over 1000 feet above the river. He pointed to an area of the wall that had broken out and amazed us that the missing chunk was over 300 feet from top to bottom, about 3 times what it appeared to be at first glance. Later at Horseshoe Bend, there was someone (who I quickly named “Idiot”) at the edge of the rim hundreds of feet above us waving down at the rafts as we went by (it turned out that this “Idiot” was actually the bus driver for one of the other tours that was out on the river with us).

Our trip ended at Lee’s Ferry, near the mouth of the Grand Canyon. Here we boarded our bus and headed back to Tusayan.

Next stop, the Grand Canyon!

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