Art and Connie's 2012 Adventures travel blog

Our Site at Lees Ferry

View from our site at Lees Ferry

Lots of River Activity

Ruins at Lees Ferry

This bridge replaced the ferry. It is now a pedestian bridge.

Winsor Castle at Pipe Spring Nat'l Monument

View of Pipe Spring and surrounding area

We left Page, Arizona for the short drive to Lees Ferry. We hadn’t planned a stop there but locals at the Elks Club thought we might enjoy the area for its history and natural beauty.

Lees Ferry sits on the Colorado River and is the only place in Arizona and where you can drive to the Colorado River. It considered “Mile 0” for rafting trips. Once you start your raft trip at Lees Ferry, the next stop to get out of the river is 200 miles. Rafting trips starting from this site are either three days or three weeks in length.

Lees Ferry is also the former location of a ferry that was established by John Lee, a Mormon settler, around 1870. A ferry was built here so that Mormon pioneers could have a way to get to St. George Utah. The Mormons also established a ranch nearby and there are several historic buildings that are still standing.

The ferry was discontinued when a bridge was built across the Colorado River in 1928. This area was just our kind of place – full of history and nature. Unfortunately, there were two things that cut our stay short. Temperatures rose to the mid-90s and since we were dry camping, the temperature in the rig hovered around 92! Then, there were the relentless winds. So, it was too hot to sit inside the rig but it was just too windy outside. We just couldn’t get comfortable. However, I would certainly recommend a visit to the area. Maybe next time we’ll do the hikes we couldn’t do this time around.

We continued on Hwy 89a to Pipe Spring National Monument located in Arizona and is known as the Arizona Strip. The reason for its name is because this part of Arizona is separated from the rest of Arizona by the Colorado River. Paiute Indians have inhabited this area and made use of the abundant land and natural springs – that is until the Mormons arrived. The Mormons built a settlement on one of the springs and brought with them large herds of cattle. They built a “fort” called Winsor Castle to protect the residents from raids from the nearby Navajo. Within 10 years of their arrival, the land had been trampled and the population of the Paiutes declined dramatically. Today, there are about 200 Paiutes who now have a reservation that surround the national monument. The lush grasslands never recovered from the huge number of cattle that was roaming this area.

We were very disappointed with the ranger-led tour of Winsor Castle. The area is filled with so much history but the ranger failed to bring the place alive. It was a canned speech and our guide could not answer any in-depth questions. We got more information about the monument by watching the 20 minute film at the visitor center and going through the excellent museum about the Paiutes.

Well, after 6 weeks of touring Arizona it was time to move to the next state. We spent two days in Cedar City, Utah and now we are in Nevada. We’ll tell you more about what we did in our next blog.

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