Looking down from a small, five-seater airplane, Mikah Meyer felt lucky to be getting such a spectacular — and unique — perspective of some of America’s most beautiful and historic land and waterscapes.
The national parks traveler was flying over and around Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service that stretches for hundreds of kilometers from the southwestern state of Arizona to southern Utah.
Mikah described the flight, courtesy of the tour company American Aviation, as “an amazing flyover where we got this bird’s-eye view of everything I was about to experience over the next few days.”
The park borders Navajo Indian territory. After the Cherokee, Navajos are the second-largest federally recognized Native American tribe in the United States, with more than 300,000 enrolled tribal members. And, Mikah noted, “as far as land square mileage goes, the Navajo Nation reservation is the largest.”
The “intimate Grand Canyon”
The area Mikah explored includes many sites that are sacred to the Navajos.
One of them – Horseshoe Bend, on the Colorado River – is about eight kilometers from Grand Canyon National Park. It is named for the horseshoe-shaped area of the river, which winds around ancient sandstone canyons.
“It’s an incredible image,” Mikah said, where visitors can “stand right on the edge and see the entire horseshoe shape.”
Flying over Glen Canyon Dam, Mikah had a great view of both the Colorado River and behind it, Lake Powell, the largest man-made lake in North America.
Then it was on to an almost three-hour boat ride around the lake, where the gleaming water appeared against a backdrop of eroded red rock canyons and mesas as he and his tour group wound their way through the narrow waterways leading to the lake.
“You go into these super thin canyons where our large boat barely fit through,” he explained.
“What makes it so incredible is that there really aren’t any…