While I was standing there, I saw a couple of big rubber rafts come up river and apparently tie up to the bare canyon wall on the Arizona side. We couldn't figure out what they were. Soon they were joined by more rafts--and then more rafts. It looked like something interesting going on, but there was only one person in the raft, and no one waiting on shore. Weird...
We met up at the Colorado River Discovery store in Page to check in. I browsed around inside for a bit then we went outside and sat down on the patio and talked to a couple from England until the buses arrived.
After going through a security gate, we drove to the base of the dam through a dark 2-mile long access tunnel. Sometimes all we could see were the dash lights from the bus and then there'd be a flash of light off to the left where we could see daylight. Mostly it was just dark. Once we were back out in the sunshine, we found we really were at the base of the dam. It's a really big dam!
Our guide was Native American and he shared a lot about his culture, as well as interesting info about the dam and the canyon. At one point he sang to us in his language. That was pretty cool!
The rafts just float down the river, and there's hardly a ripple in the water. This is smooth, lazy rafting, not wet white water stuff. The Navajo sandstone of the canyon walls comes in many colors. The black coating is called "desert varnish" and is actually manganese oxide; the red and orange is iron oxide.
(Horseshoe Bend 2012) We went around the bend just past a sandy campground and then we twirled a bit in the water, for those who could figure out how to do a 360 panorama with their cameras. That wasn't me.
More pictures (yes, really!) of the Colorado Raft Trip.