Saturday, March 13th, 1999
This year my adventure trip should lead me to Arizona. After I discovered Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon area last year in Nevada/Arizona, I would travel to Black Canyon/Lake Mead this year.
So on top of the pyramid was well-known travel guide Mike, one other guide, 5 (male) students and me. At 8.45 a.m. we left Bozeman, heading to Cedar City/Utah. It was a sunny day and I enjoyed the different landscapes from within the blue van. After about 659 miles we arrived in Cedar City, staying at the “Comfort Inn” for the night.
Sunday, March 14th, 1999
At 8.20 a.m. we left for Boulder Beach at Lake Mead, Nevada. I had never heard of Lake Mead before and was quite excited what to expect. Like last year we passed through Zion and Dixie NP. On we went through St. George/Utah, Littlefield/Arizona and Mesquite/Nevada. There were casinos everywhere and houses were built in Mexican style. We also passed through Las Vegas! But on the highway you can´t really see anything. So first of all we headed for Boulder Beach Campground and a drugstore. Here we bought a Frisbee and postcards. Hey, no idea why the boys wanted to have a Frisbee on the trip…..We had dinner at Burger King. Last minute drinks and groceries were bought at Albertson´s“. We spent the night on the campground.
Monday, March 15th, 1999
I woke up at 6.15 a.m. this morning. After breakfast we went to the Bureau of Reclamation to pick up licenses etc. So now the trip began: we passed Hoover Dam. Wow, that was amazing. The view, the dimension of the dam – great. Right next to the dam I saw a tiny little winding road down to the river. I thought Mike was kidding when he said we would go down this road. The road was very steep and winding and the smell from the breaks was horrible. I even got sick. After finally arriving at the riverside we prepared the boats. Let the adventure begin!* (click map to enlarge)
At first we paddled to Sauna Cove, a cave with hot water. From here we took a little walk along the canyon. Our next destination was Boyscout Canyon, where we wanted to stay the night. The wind was blowing and the water of the river was choppy. This was not a good spot so we decided to paddle on to the next possible stop Arizona Hot Springs. This was better and we pitched the tents.
In the evening three of the students and I played – Hearts! I thought I must be dreaming. Last year I played this card game every evening with the other students from the trip. This is how fast it can be…
* Map was part of our Itinerary, provided by “ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Center”
Tuesday, March 16th, 1999
I woke up at about 8. We had breakfast and everyone had the chance to go on a hike to discover the canyon. At about 12.30 three of the guys and I started to hit “White Rock Canyon Trail” that leads to Highway US-93-S. It was a long hike and very exhausting (yellow line). The weather was great, sun was shining. But nowhere a tree in sight so the sun became almost unbearable. Somehow the three of us separated and it was me, the sun, the trail and solitude. The tranquility was a bit scary but I could spot the highway in the far distance. When I could clearly see it I started to turn around as I needed to calculate the time to walk back to camp.
In the evening we had a campfire and made “smores”. Since the place is called “Hot Springs”, we took advantage of the wonderful hot spring.The water was quite hot but we enjoyed it. After half an hour we went back to camp. The long hike, the sun, the warm water made us tired and we all went to bed at 9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 17th, 1999
Oh no, I woke up very early, at about 6. At about 7 we had breakfast. We then paddled for about 5-6 miles along the Colorado River to a place called Willow Beach. Here we packed everything into the van and then drove all the way to “Pearce Ferry”. This is the border of Lake Mead to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. After we set up the tents we took a walk up a hill from which we had a fantastic view over the entire bay. After dinner we played cards.
Thursday, March 18th, 1999
After breakfast Mike suggested to leave for Las Vegas and later on to Zion National Park– today. We all decided that that was a good idea. But first we went on a last paddle tour along the lake into the Grand Canyon. I was in a kajak but the others were too fast so after 4 miles I jumped into a canoe with Matt.
We paddled to a little waterfall to have lunch.
Suddenly we noticed that we had lost Steve. We waited for half an hour. In between we had a little canoe race. Our boat arrived at the same time as Steve´s boat. It was fun! Then we packed our stuff and left for Las Vegas. The first hotel was somehow not good enough for Mike or booked out, I don´t know. We went on to “Circus Circus”. Ryan, Gerrit, Matt and I shared a room. At about 10 p.m. we had dinner at the buffet. Then we finally left for the Strip! It was unbelievable. I was in Las Vegas and walked along the crowded strip. I was absolutely exhausted from paddling and hiking but the colorful night was waiting. Matt and I separated from the group as they decided to have fun in the casino. I wanted to see a bit more of the city and we walked on. Matt and I saw the white tiger, well rather the ad for the show. The water fountain at the Bellagio´s was beautiful. We spent some time there to watch it. We then met the other guys. They wanted to go to a bar and drink. Matt and I arrived almost at the end of the strip. We decided to take the bus back to the hotel. At the bus station some strange guy dissed us so we walked all the way back, totally exhausted. At about 3 in the morning we fell into our beds. Matt left the bed for me (for myself) and slept on the floor (by himself)…
Friday, March 19th, 1999
I got up at 9.15 and had breakfast with Gerrit. The others slept in and skipped breakfast. I bought a shirt in the shop of the hotel. At 11 we all met at the van. We went to Red Rock Canyon to go on a short hike.
Again the silence was striking. The noises from last night still echoed in my ears so the silence was almost disturbing. This area was beautiful! The red rocks were impressive. The eroded stones formed shapes and figures, the desert is so diverse. We also saw pictograms.
We went on to Zion NP. I drove through the park many times but this time we were to climb up to “Angel´s Landing”. Sounds thrilling.
When we arrived at the parking lot Mike said: “Up there you can see the top of the mountain. This is our destination. Here we go!” I was feeling a bit unpleasent. In front of me there rose this mountain up to the endless blue sky. People were almost not visible, they looked like tiny ants. But – fair enough, I just took one foot after the other. After hours we finally reached the top. The last part was anything but fun. While the majority of the way up consisted of a windy and small paved path, the last bit could only be reached using a chain. I just hoped there wouldn´t be two-way traffic! Only with great care and slowly I climbed along the chain all the way to the top. The view was spectacular.
The same day we left for Bozeman. Everyone was worn out, the van was quiet during the drive. However, I don´t regret a thing. I´m so happy that I was given the chance to see this beautiful part of the world.