We spent part of the afternoon in Page bowling and playing billiards at a local hangout. The kids needed a distraction from all the sightseeing and a good time was had by all. Later we made the short drive and hike to Horseshoe Bend where we were just in time to catch the sunset.
Our tour takes us inside the dam and down to its base where we tour the power generation station. Pictured here are 7 of the 8 generators which produce a maximum of 1,296,000 kilowatts. The concrete arch dam is 710 feet high and contains 4,901,000 cubic yards of concrete. It is 25 feet wide at the crest and 300 feet wide at the maximum base.
The drive to Monument Valley takes several hours and we do not arrive until early evening. Jeanine and the kids are satisfied with the views as we approach the park from a distance. After dropping them off at the Goulding’s Outpost, I venture into the park to catch the final rays of light and a compelling sky.
The circular pits are called kivas which were used for religious ceremonies. They wood have been covered by roofs which were flush to the ground so that surface area could be utilized. Each kiva was constructed with a dedicated air intake to ensure that smoke from the fires within would vent properly out a hole in the middle of the roof. Religious ceremonies were held in the round and were never apapted to the rectngular structures used as living quarters.
This wider angle view of Cliff Palace reveals the magnitude of this dwelling which has 150 individual rooms and 23 kivas. It is still not known what motivated the Anasazi to build their homes in the cliffs and to subsequently abandon them for the plains. Access to the Cliff House is only allowed during a ranger led tour and we were fortunate to have a very entertaining and well informed guide.
Today finds us in Colorado at Mesa Verde National Park for an entirely different experience which features man made beauty rather than natural wonders. Here the ancestral Puebloans built a series of cliff dwellings to accommodate entire villages. It is easy to mistake this photo for a diorama size model but as you will see in the next photo these structures were built into the side of a mesa.