Paddling Around the (Horseshoe) Bend

13 May 2019
The amazing Horseshoe Bend at sunset, with sunstar and beautiful sky.

A couple years ago, before we fashioned our first teepee, I came across an article titled: “5 Best Southwestern Adventures.”  Of particular interest to me was a canoe trip from the backside of Glen Canyon Dam, down 15 miles of freezing crystal-clear water, to Lees Ferry. This trip was particularly appealing because I have always wanted to navigate the Colorado river as it winds through the Grand Canyon and this route went through Horseshoe Bend, a place beautiful enough to claim selfie-taking lives once or twice a year. Also, the Teepee clan is always looking for adventures that we can take with the kiddos. I decided that I would price the trip out, based on the articles recommendations, and see if I could get The Teepee Lady excited to “rough it” at the bottom of the Grand Canyon for a couple days.  Much like my proposal, I was delighted and surprised to get an enthusiastic “yes” out of her.  I was also able to convince my brother, his wife and 8 year old son to come along.

canoe family selfie

                From Phoenix, a four hour drive to Page, AZ where the Fellas at Kayak Powell got us our canoes, life jackets and paddles.  From there, its about 45 miles to Lees Ferry, where Colorado River Discovery met us on the bank to load our gear and canoes and then shuttle us up river to the backside of the dam.  Its about 15 miles of paddling from the dam back to Lees Ferry.  By the time gear and peeps are offloaded and ready to roll, its mid afternoon.  So we canoed about half way back down river until we found an empty authorized campsite.  It was a lot warmer in the canyon than we expected.  We even sustained a couple casualties from fire ant bites, yikes!  We all had a lot of laughs, thanks to my sister in-law bringing a portable shower for a 1-day campout!  I opted to sleep outside while the Teepee Lady and our daughter slept in a tent. An early morning drizzle brought much needed natural A/C. 

All ready to load up our canoes and head to the dam to start our two day adventure!

                Once we had breakfast and broke camp it was about 3 and a half hours until we were back at the landing.  We went through Horseshoe Bend and waived at onlookers hundreds of feet above us. There was plenty of awesome wildlife as well.  We saw Bighorn Sheep, wild horses and the occasional otter, or beaver, depending on the observer’s opinion,.  The scenery was amazing and it was big adventure for the Teepee fam.  If you haven’t been on the mighty Colorado, winding through one of the natural wonders of the world, what are you waiting for?  Its just a few hours away and one of the many treasures here in beautiful Arizona.