Diving into the Old West

Very early in the morning, we got up and got ready for an exciting day. First up: Antelope Canyon. Named after the African animals, the original settlers thought the cattle held by the native Indians were antelope but they were mistaken.
The trip was on a huge pickup truck with two rows of seats built in the trunk driven by this petite lady. She picked us up at the hotel and brought us after a stop at their HQ and a 20 minute trip over the freeway to the Indian park of Antelope Canyon.
I’m going ti be short on this one too: when in doubt, go there! It’s the best!

After checking out from our hotel, we met Mark & Christa who, due to the time difference between Arizona and Utah, were very close by. Seeing them was really weird, but a lovely interruption in our schedule. It’s been great fun guys!

The trip that day lead us to Bryce Canyon. Because of the fact that Bryce Canyon is smack in the middle of the Old Wild West, our hotel, Ruby’s Inn, was built to resemble this era in American history. Either you like it, or you totally dislike it: I found it to be amusing at best.We are there for the scenery, and not for the enjoying of our hotel. Besides: we were there only one night; and a very short one too.

Directly after arriving at the hotel, we took off to go see the sun setting over Bryce Canyon as we were told this was very spectacular. I can safely say that, compared to.the sunset at Grand Canyon this was not the case. Yes, we are spoiled!
Bryce Canyon is not so much a canyon but more of an eroding mountain where the most spectacular views are of an amphitheatre in the middle. It makes for some very scenic views and a great day out. We immediately drove all 17 miles to the far end of the park and got out at all designated areas. Great pictures were made! Below some I took with my phone. Tomorrow the rest and off to Zion NP!
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Scenic drives

After our full day at the Grand Canyon, “the cookies were all eaten” and we were due in the next hotel. As it was in Page, AZ the pressure was on to get there in time.

Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of fun things to do on the road between Tusayan and Page. We started our day off with the last part of the Grand Canyon which we didn’t do before: the Desert View Drive. This road takes you from the center of the park vis the west rim to the Painted Desert (hence the name) and out of the park. Along the road, there are a lot of stalls with native Navajo Indians trying to sell the tourists hand crafted jewellery, pottery and paintings. I’d say it’s not the best way to make a living…

Somewhere near Tuba City, on our way to the ever so grand Monument Valley, we ran across some dinosaur tracks. These were set in hard stone lying under softer limestone which washed away a few million years ago. The tracks were said to be 165 million years old (at least by our guide, Roger, a true Navajo tribesmen) and are being cared for by his chapter of the tribe. After those, we arrived at the windy Monument Valley.
The scenery over there is radical, yet it can only be accessed through a bumpy, strenuous, badly maintained dirt road. The local Indians offered tours, but these unfortunately did not fit in our schedule. So we took our Dodge to the road and drove the first mile ourselves, leaving the other 16 as they were. Too bad! I would’ve loved to see more of it! I’d highly recommend going there; the 110 mile d-tour is definately worth it!

After this, we quickly proceeded driving towards Page and quickly visited a famous curve in the Colorado river known as Horseshoe Bend. Am I a happy boy; having a 12 mm lens! Also, the Glen Canyon Dam was on our itinerary; this is the dam that holds back the water in Lake Powell.

Our hotel was great! Back to the old standards after our poor experience at the Grand Canyon. On Monday: more good stuff! Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon and everything in between!

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Canyoning

Let’s make this an easy post: the Grand Canyon is both a canyon and definately grand!

On Saturday we’ve visited and seen pretty much everything there is to see and visit apart from the Desert View Drive. This included an epic flight on a helicopter over the south rim towards the north rim over one of the widest and most majestic parts of the Grand Canyon. The folks over there are pretty greedy when it comes to money (apart from the quote hefty fee, there’s a $20 “temporary” fuel fee to be paid, which is not included in he regular fee) but they do offer a unique product.

Unfortunately, the seats in the craft are assigned by the ground crew based on weight and not on personal favorites, so we got separated. Luckily, we were on the same flight!

Our hotel was, how to put it, better than shabby, but it was mediocre at it’s best, compared to the other hotels in our itinerary. It was not bad, but certainly not good. I guess it was, back in the seventies. 😉

Sunday, fathersday, is the day we’ll be driving all the way up to Page, Arizona with possibly a d-tour to Utah for Monument Valley. It’s going to be great!