Good Dam Day

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Kayenta, AZ to Page, AZ

Upon reconsideration, we decided to skip a revisit to Monument Valley, which would have taken us about 60 miles and several hours in the wrong direction this morning.  So we headed west from Kayenta on US-160.  The scenery along this stretch of 160 is stunning, a straight arrow route through the Klethia Valley.  Along the roadsides, red rock canyons are nestled by orange hills covered in low green scrub.  (View above shows a location six miles SW of Kayenta on US-160.)

Thirty miles southwest of Kayenta, we turned west on AZ-98 on the way to Lake Powell and the town of Page.  Other than the tiny town of Kaibito about midway along the route, Highway 98 stretches through a 70-mile section of the Navajo Nation that is devoid of settlements.  We stopped in Kaibito in a vain search for a post office to mail a card, but the dirt streets yielded no such institution.
AZ-98 was not without its scenic appeal
Since we're still in the Colorado Plateau, we did come across another of the eroded volcanic plugs we kept seeing yesterday.  One was about five miles east of Kaibito and earned its own scenic view rest area.  At the pullout, we noticed a school bus stop, one of many we would see today.  As we later learned, most of the kids who live within an hour of Page make a very long bus ride to and from school each day, creating the need for these isolated bus stop shelters.

Another Chimney Rock?
Just after noon we arrived at Page, where we visited one of the Lake Powell marinas and enjoyed our picnic lunch.  After checking in at the local Courtyard, we hopped over to check out the Glen Canyon Dam.  The Carl Hayden Visitor Center near the dam provides a great introduction to the dam, its water management and energy producing efforts, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Glen Canyon Dam
Built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the dam was constructed to provide water storage and produce hydroelectric power.  In the process, it created Lake Powell, the second largest artificial lake in the U.S. (behind Lake Mead).  Lake Powell is one of the most popular houseboating and water-skiing areas in the United States.  Surrounding the reservoir, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area receives almost two million visitors annually.

After locating a letterbox near the visitor center and a couple more in town, we had a good meal at the local Fiesta Mexicana before retiring to the hotel for the night.  Tomorrow we hope to hike to one of the famous slot canyons in the area.

Glen Canyon Bridge
Bridge up close
Lake Powell near dam
Lake Powell