Becky’s September square photo challenge Day 26! She would like us to share photos which embrace ‘pink’ – there could be pink in the photo, the subject or photographer could be ‘tickled pink’*, or indeed looking ‘in the pink’*. A photo that manages to do all three things is the ultimate offering.
tickled pink to frame this reddish-pink balanced rock in Marble Canyon
*‘in the pink’ means in perfect condition, or in good health, and ‘tickled pink’ means delighted.
Paula’s (Lost in Translation) challenge this week is slightly different than usual in that she has provided a list of words from which to pick one to illustrate.
I am going for decrepit: adjective meaning – worn out or ruined because of age or neglect; dilapidated; rickety; run-down; broken-down; ramshackle; worn-out; derelict; falling to pieces; on its last legs
I like photographing old and decrepit things and on a trip around the Canyons a few years ago we came across this abandoned ‘village’ near Marble Canyon, AZ. During the Great Depression, a few white settlers built a small town of wooden structures with shingle roofs that still cling to gigantic boulders in a moon-like setting at the foot of Vermilion Cliffs. They were known as the Cliff Dwellers.
How anyone survived in this desolate landscape I have no idea.
Please pop over to see Paula if you would like to join in.
On Monday we left Page to drive to Bryce Canyon and our next stop. First we had a look at the Glen Canyon Dam which was the reason for the town of Page as it originated from housing the workers of the dam when construction started in 1957.
Then we stopped at Lake Powell which is the largest lake in Arizona/Utah and famed for its water sports, fishing, hiking and boat trips to Rainbow Bridge (the world’s largest natural stone bridge).
Lake Powell is arguably the most scenic lake in America, situated in some of Southern Utah’s finest red-rock desert country.
Above: The Hydroelectric Project (Glen Canyon) and the Navajo Generating Station. Why are two power stations so close? The reason is the river. The availability of water at lake Powell, the proximity of a source of coal and a worker base in the city of Page determined the location.
Sparkling clear, blue water laps against towering, sheer, red-rock canyon walls and sandy beaches. Lake Powell has more coastline than the entire west coast and you need a water craft to access the majority of the canyons as access is limited because there are few roads.
Moving on we crossed the border into Utah which is only about ten miles from Page. Utah’s southwest corner is often called “Colour Country” and has a dry, hot climate and Highway 89 is a Heritage Highway because of the wealth of history along its route.
Driving past Paria Canyon and the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness you then pass Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Backway with rugged peaks called the Cockscomb. Next is an area called Telegraph Flat named in 1876 when Western Telegraph opened an office here. It is now a ghost town.
The biggest town along the route is Kanab, famous for the Western Legends Roundup and Western Film Festival an annual event that is a tribute to the area’s rich movie history. Nearby is the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (covered in snow as we passed ) where the rare plant, Welsh’s Milkweed, grows.
The United Order experiment was instituted in 1874 for a communal lifestyle at the direction of Brigham Young. Eighty families moved here from Mount Carmel where the co-operative had failed.
It existed until the 1880s when it started to fall apart, though it had grown to more than 700. The families lived in apartments which were identical, they all ate in a common dining hall and wore uniforms. Private property did not exist.
The next town is Mount Carmel Junction where Highway 9 to Zion National Park intersects with the 89 (and which we would be taking tomorrow as we retraced the next stage of our trip), a few miles on we drove through the unusually named Orderville.
Mount Carmel Junction was first settled by Dr Priddy Meeks in 1864 as part of Brigham Young’s plan to settle all of Utah’s territory. It was later named after a mountain in Israel.
John Wesley Powell first visited in 1872; he was the first white man to descend the East Fork of the Virgin River and who named the canyon “Parunuweap” from the Paiute word meaning roaring water canyon.
Just before Panguitch (another town with an interesting tale, which I will tell you about in my next post) you take a turn to the right on State Route 12, another of the All American Roads, which winds 124 miles through some of the most unique geology on earth. Almost immediately you hit Red Canyon, a section of the Dixie National Forest, with red hillsides dotted with ponderosa pines and hoodoos.
(Click an image to enlarge and for further information)
Ponderosa Pines cling to Cap Rock
After 14 miles we took another right turn and headed back south on Highway 63 to Bryce Canyon National Park, so named after Ebenezer Bryce a Mormon pioneer. We were staying in the Best Western Ruby’s Inn which is a short distance from the park entrance.
“Before there were any Indians the Legend people, To-When-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were so many of them. They were of many kinds – birds, animals, lizards and such things – but they looked like people…
For some reason the Legend People in that place were bad. Because they were bad Coyote turned them into rocks; some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding onto others. You can see their faces with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks…”
~ a Paiute Indian Legend
After checking in and dropping our luggage in the Lakeview Lodge we headed off into the park to have a look at the incredible hoodoos that are concentrated in a horse-shoe shaped amphitheatres that provide amazing spots to watch the sun rise and set.
A perfect spot for star-gazing as there is no light pollution.
The 3 feet of snow that had fallen over the weekend meant that several of the pathways were under snow and walking was quite treacherous. It didn’t seem to put off some people though as we saw them climbing over fences to approach the end of a lookout point – oblivious to the fact that you couldn’t see the edge. I even saw two lads carrying a mate in a wheelchair to the edge of one viewpoint.
From Sunset Point this trail takes you down onto the floor of the canyon and amongst the hoodoos. Not to be ventured on except by people in stout boots with walking poles, or idiots in fashion boots complete with high heels!!
We ate at Ruby’s that night, there isn’t really a lot of choice, but the food was reasonable – I can’t say that we’ve eaten any remarkable meals during this trip so far. It had been a long day with lots of interesting scenery along the way. There was a lot of snow all around and it was very cold, but thank goodness the roads were cleared and driving was a breeze. Tomorrow should be another interesting day.
Sunday dawned cold and grey. But the photo trip was still on and we spent a couple of hours in the company of Charley from Overland Canyon Tours in the Antelope Canyon which is a few miles outside of Page where the slot canyons are majestic narrow passages with just enough space for a small group to walk the sandy floor – and for the occasional shafts of sunlight to shine down from above. 
The best time to visit is when the sun is overhead so you get those super shots of sunlight on the sand particles shimmering in the oranges, reds and yellows of the naturally carved sandstone. Unfortunately for us there was no sun, but that did not spoil our enjoyment of this incredible place. Even light flares added an interesting purple hue to the rocks. For those of you who are fitter than us you might like to visit the Lower Antelope Canyon which is reached by a series of ladders. All I can say that climbing the steps up into the cab of the Ute was hard enough!
In the afternoon we took a drive back down to Bitter Springs and turned right on to the 89A across the Navajo Bridge to visit Lees Ferry where you can get down to the edge of the Colorado and watch groups preparing to raft down the river. 
(click on an image to enlarge)
Preparing for rafting
At Lees Ferry
Rafts in waiting
Over the ten miles or so south of the Navajo bridge, the Colorado has several fascinating narrow tributary canyons including Seven-mile Draw, Soap Canyon, Jackass Creek and Badger Canyon. The layers of sandstone and shale that form the vermilion cliffs once extended five miles to connect to the same layers in the Echo cliffs. The Colorado River cut a canyon through the Navajo sandstone.
Navajo Bridges (old and new)
Navajo Bridge across the Colorado
We stopped to marvel at the balanced rocks on the way back to Marble Canyon. Thousands of years ago a huge boulder of conglomerate broke from the cliff above and rolled to a stop here. Since then at least 6 feet of this slope has eroded away.
Ultimately the softer rock, now protected by the umbrella of harder conglomerate will erode, and the boulder will topple to the ground again.
Several fallen boulders at the foot of the desolate Vermilion Cliffs on the Arizona Strip north of the Grand Canyon.
At the 89a junction we turned right and drove to the Cliff Dwellers Lodge about nine miles further east to have an early dinner at the diner there.
During the Great Depression, a few white settlers built a small town of wooden structures with shingle roofs that still cling to gigantic boulders in a moon-like setting at the foot of Vermilion Cliffs.
Returning to Page after a very interesting day we managed to catch the sun setting on Echo Cliffs on the land of the Navajo Nation.
 When we did this trip it was OK to have any type of camera but now you need to have a SLR – point and shoot, IPads and IPhones are not accepted, if you have one of these you may find yourself on a normal tour. We had bridge cameras.
 There was a landslip in 2013 which meant that this route was not accessible for quite some time. It is advisable to check routes in this region before setting out.
After breakfast on Saturday we checked out of the hotel and set off eastwards along the East Rim. It was a dry day, but extremely windy, which made standing out on the exposed viewpoints and keeping a camera steady, quite challenging.
(click on an image to enlarge and see the detail)
I was amazed and rather concerned at the number of people who venture out onto the overhanging rocks to get a photograph, especially when said rocks are covered in snow and it is difficult to see where the end is! I wonder how many tourists lose their lives in this way?
The best views of the canyon on the East Rim are from Grandview, Artists Point and Lipan Point. The whole drive takes about an hour but stopping to look from the various pull-ins will add on at least another hour. Possibly more! From this side you can catch glimpses of the River Colorado and the rafts making their way down the rapids.
And if, like us, you are leaving via the east gate then make your last stop at Desert View where you can see and hear the river below. Climb up the Watchtower for even more spectacular vistas, framed by the windows they look like paintings. Admire the wall murals inside and maybe buy yourself a souvenir from the region.
Hard though it was to pull ourselves away from the Canyon we had to get to Page for the night which meant driving eastwards through the Painted Desert to join the 89 route again.
The drive from the Grand Canyon Village to Page will take about three hours without stops, so make sure you don’t dally along the rim for too long! After exiting the east gate at Desert View the next logical stop is at the historic Cameron Trading Post where you can buy artefacts or a Navajo frybread taco if you are feeling hungry!
Painted Desert Scenic Highway
Butte in the desert
Through the Painted Desert
The next two hours is on the Painted Desert scenic highway. The road was pretty empty of traffic in March and the views of the layers of coloured rock meant that it was never boring.
At Bitter Springs where the 89 winds up into the mountains we pulled into a viewpoint where you have views back towards the Grand Canyon and also to Marble Canyon .
Further on is the turn-off to Horseshoe Bend Overlook on the Colorado River, where you need to park up and hike for an hour to view the river from a spectacular high viewpoint. Although I would have liked to see this, we didn’t have the time or the energy for an hours hike (each way).
We stayed at the Courtyard Page at Lake Powell, which is not the most convenient location as it is right on the edge of the town so not easily walkable to the shops and restaurants. But it is quite close to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area from where you get good views of the dam and where you can take river trips down the Colorado.
We popped out later for a burger at the Dam Bar and Grille, a steak house in town, hoping that the snow which was forecast overnight wouldn’t lead to the cancellation of our photo trip to the Upper Antelope Canyon on the following day.
 The US 89 to Page closed after a landslip in February 2013 and you have to take the newly paved 89T or use the route via Tuba City.