2018 Running Trip – Day 6 – Northern Arizona

Day 6 brought us another early start. My colleague Andrew Cole, an avid fan of the Southwest United States, recommended taking in a Grand Canyon sunrise at Desert View Watchtower. On the way to the watchtower in our car, we passed 10+ elk on the side of the road. Normally, this would be welcomed, but not when it’s dark out and you have places to be.

I’m really glad we took Andrew’s advice. The watchtower alone is sight to be seen.

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And then you walk 20 yards and see this! Good morning Grand Canyon!

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Lighting at dawn and dusk makes me happy and turns normal scenery into masterpieces.

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I used my first Runner’s Choice to thank Joe Dan Beavers. Joe was recently in the area competing in Trailfest – three half marathons, in three days, in three National Parks (Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon). Quite impressive I must say!

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Another view at Desert View Watchtower.

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We hit the road for a few hours to reach our next stop – Horseshoe Bend. Arizona driving is stunning!

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Along the way, we entered Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the country by far. The Navajo Nation Reservation is home to 300,000+ Native American residents and covers more than 27,425 square miles in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. Massive. I won’t go into the Navajo Nation too much here as we’ll be spending our last day and half immersed in it.

Throughout the drive, we passed countless roadside pop-up markets. I used a few Runner’s Choices to show off these markets. At the first, I thanked Adam & Lindsey Good again.

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And Sparky Reardon one more time at my favorite roadside market.

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Cameras are not always welcomed within the Navajo Nation. Commercial photographers need to obtain permits and most landmarks on the reservation require that you be a part of a tour. Other times, gratuity is welcomed for photos. Because I was taking photos on the side of the road, I wasn’t really sure of the rules, but it led me to want to do my part. As we climbed in the car to a scenic overlook, we found another roadside market and both of us bought awesome Navajo-themed souvenirs for our kids.

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As mentioned, our next stop was Horseshoe Bend, a popular tourist destination with incredible views of the Colorado River. Horseshoe Bend is located 5 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, about 4 miles southwest of Page, Arizona. We arrived mid-morning and the place was already filled with tourists. It’s a bit of hike to the overlook, but it provided a nice way for us to loosen up our legs following our Grand Canyon hike the day before.

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The view of Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed places in the country, and I was excited to take my own version. It’s a tough photo as you have to get very close to the edge to capture it all, something I wasn’t too keen on doing.

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I thanked David & April Etler at Horseshoe Bend. I’ve bragged about David and April over the past few running trips as they are amazingly important to Tillie and me. April has been our day care provider for both kids, and Cal & Tess absolutely adore the entire Etler family. We are blessed beyond words to have been introduced to the Etlers.

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Despite a differing opinion from Travis, and basically my entire family, I wanted to get a good overlook picture and take in the scenery. The picture looks a lot riskier than it actually was!

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Because of the amazing view, I wanted to use another Runner’s Choice to thank Rob & Julie Waltz once again.

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Just up the road from Horseshoe Bend is Page, Arizona, the jump off point for many amazing Northern Arizona attractions. One of those attractions provided the best dam photo of the trip. Glen Canyon Dam, rising 710 feet above bedrock within the steep, rust-colored sand-stone walls of Glen Canyon, was constructed to harness the power of the Colorado River in order to provide for the water and power needs of millions of people in the West.

I thanked my great pal Bret Zimmerman for his donation. After texting the photo to Bret, he was kind enough to photoshop off the second t that I used in his first name on the sign. WHOOPS! Bret and I are kicking around some ideas for the 2019 running trip, and I look forward to having him join me!

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A few German tourists insisted that Travis and I get a photo together. Sehr gut!

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Our next stop was Lake Powell, my new favorite lake. It blew me away. You may notice the stylish Lake Powell Half Marathon running shirt I wore today, and I’d like to thank Kaelee Clifford of Vacation Races for sending the two of us race shirts from the Lake Powell Half Marathon and the Grand Canyon Half Marathon. Vacation Races hosts half marathons, ultra marathons, & trail running festivals at the world’s most breathtaking destinations. I might add that their design skills are on point too!

I thanked my colleague Clay Coleman for his donation. Clay is my staff running buddy, and we’ve had the opportunity to run around a number of cities over the years. I always look forward to our runs!

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But seriously, Lake Powell is stunning. Generally, I think of lakes as being round. Lake Powell does not fit this description, snaking out in a number of directions nestled among amazing landscapes.

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Back in the city of Page, we hit a few landmarks. First on the list was Lake Powell National Golf Course that sprawls throughout the town. Page isn’t very big, but has an influx of tourist throughout the year. This 7,500 person city just built six more hotels this summer. This place is about to boom. I thanked my colleague Kelly Derickson for her donation. I picked this spot for Kelly as she lives right on a golf course outside of Oxford, Ohio and has an amazing view from her living room. I thought she’d appreciate another amazing golf course view, Arizona style.

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We spotted a mural of Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and I thanked my sister and brother-in-law again. If I had another day in Page, I’d find a way to get to this amazing landmark in the area. It isn’t easy to visit though, as you have to access it by boat.

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We drove to Lone Star State Park to run a few miles. Wow, this beach is amazing. Campers spotted the beach for a good reason. I would love to overnight here.

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At the lone rock within Lone Rock State Park, I thanked Marc & Jennifer Mores. Marc, a fellow Phi Delt, Iowa State Cyclone, and my former boss was recently appointed to the Iowa State Alumni Association board. I look forward to seeing him more in Ames and have already been able to catch him on a trip. Marc & Jennifer’s daughter, Ashley, was our flower girl.

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Heading back to the road, I found my favorite Arizona sign. We’ve seen a number of these on this trip, but unfortunately, we haven’t seen a cow in the road. I really want to see one. I also really want one of these signs for the house.

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After unpacking our bags at our Airbnb, we ventured over to Ken’s Tours of Lower Antelope Canyon. This is a tour that I’ve been very excited to take. Seeing pictures of Antelope Canyon online, you almost believe that it isn’t real. I can also tell you that pictures do not do this place justice. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on Navajo land east of Page. It includes two separate, scenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as “Upper Antelope Canyon” or “The Crack”; and “Lower Antelope Canyon” or “The Corkscrew.” Antelope Canyon is the product of millions of years of water erosion.

Unsurprisingly, I took a lot of pictures, and it was really tough to narrow them down for this post.

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I thanked my colleague Jennifer Morrow for her donation. This landmark was one of the first off the board, and I know Jennifer would be in heaven at this place. A creative designer by trade, I know she would fully appreciate the marvel of Antelope Canyon.

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I also thanked my Fraternity brother Drew Miller for his donation. When I first listed out my collection of landmarks for this trip, I decided to include Antelope Canyon twice for obvious reasons. Drew is a John Deere professional (not uncommon around my parts), and we need to cross paths sometime soon. Thanks Drew!

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Two peas in a canyon….

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A look at the exit point of the canyon. Driving by the place, you’d never know the magic that sits below.

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Upon leaving the tour, I found a steaming goat. Even the Navajo Generating Station produces great views around here.

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On our way to dinner, we spotted one more fun picture. Our Toyota Corolla may or may not have been the best car to navigate into the parking lot. We believe a film was being shot on site as we got a few stink eyes for stopping. Hey, the door was open.

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I want to personally thank Jayson and Courtney for hosting us in their amazing Page home. Upon booking, Courtney mentioned that she has a friend with ALS, and we connected instantly. She has been a great resource to us for the area, and the property has been a great luxury for us at the tail end of the trip.

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