I floated downstream, passed by numerous motorized rafts taking large groups up the river on day trips. I stopped by two petroglyph sites, the first one I had completely to myself, but the second was full of day trippers. I continued downstream, taking my time and stopping for a third time at the confluence of Waterholes Canyon with the Colorado. I had done a few hikes in the upper end of the canyon which contains one really nice slot section with sculpted sandstone not entirely unlike the more famous Antelope Canyon, and another section, one of the most technical canyons in the region requiring ropes and climbing gear to descend numerous drops of several hundred feet. From the lower end, I hiked up as far as I could. After about a mile, there is a large drop off with a nicely sculpted water hole at the bottom – there was no way to proceed without climbing gear. One day, it would be nice to do the whole canyon.
On the advice of a local kayak shop in page, I got a haul back up the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to just below the dam, about 16 river miles. It wasn’t cheap at about $65 for me and my kayak, but it was worth it for the spectacular scenery. I loaded Maya onto the large motorized raft, another couple loaded up their gear and we were off. The trip upriver only took about 45 minutes. The river is free of rapids above Lee’s Ferry, but the current is quite strong especially considering the river was at its highest flow rate in decades. A few hundred yards below the dam, they dropped us off at a small beach. I got in the kayak and, hugging the shoreline and hopping from one eddy to the next and quickly ferrying across any tongues of current, I made my way slowly upstream to get a closer view of the dam. I decided it would have been a difficult task to paddle upstream all the way from Lee’s Ferry, although some people do it when the flow is less.