(Geoff has given me such a strong lead-in that I feel somewhat intimidated writing this blog, especially since I have developed a head cold overnight…but here goes.)
in some areas, Arizona looks like a dusty old desert, lots of cacti, sand and not much else. But in other areas, it has some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere. One feels immersed in a geology textbook; students of this science could do well to do spend a year studying the various landforms, both above and below ground. We saw the Grand Canyon a number of years ago, but this year, snuck up on it via Flagstaff and Page. We didn’t really see the canyon itself, just the beginnings of it in worn channels and layered hills on the horizon. It is impossible not to be in awe of the multicolored striations, low mounds and craggy cliffs.
The colors of the landscape are reflected in Navajo art.
We arrived in Page, noticing cars parked and people hiking in to a spot but carried on to our motel, deciding to visit the next day. Page is in the heart of a Navajo reserve and consequently, had many native-run businesses. Our tour company was one. We checked in early, then headed for River’s End, a tour company/outdoor gear store/restaurant and had an amazing smoked salmon bagel with the works. Latte was great too, so I felt set up for a full day. Geoff sadly, had taken advantage (if it can be said) of the included breakfast offerings at the Days Inn so was not as hungry as I. Back at the tour office, I went in and was assigned purple tickets. We waited outside, where we saw people forming in groups according to ticket color. “What luck,” we thought, when we saw only one other person with a purple card. He came over and we chatted, thinking ours would be with a small group. Just then an Asian woman arrived. She indicated she would get someone waiting inside the office. She was followed by her Chinese husband and six Japanese tourists! We laughed like crazy–of course we would be on the Asian tour! They were all lovely people and charmed by our guide, Sonny, who has learned a smattering of half a dozen languages, just enough to give a number of commands like “wait, stay to the right, come now.” We made our way to Upper Antelope Canyon. Pictures are better than any words but not enough to describe how truly fabulous it is:
Going in. This was the last time that others were in our pictures, thanks to our guide.
Antelope Canyon–highly recommended!
Once returned to Page, we decided to head the mile or so out of town back to the busy tourist site we had spotted off the highway. We made the hike to discover Horseshoe Bend.
Next stop, Bryce Canyon City, Utah. This place is magnificent, ancient, massive. It was hard to get the depth perception with our cameras (same problem in the Grand Canyon several years ago) but you get an idea of the immensity of the formations.
The Paiute Indians believed theses hoodoos were beings frozen by angry gods for their behavior or crimes, similar to the ancient Greeks. Truly stunning. As it was very cold when we were there, with still so much snow on the ground that many hiking trails required special gear, we stuck to the rim trail and lookouts to get these shots.
One of the more tenacious pines surviving on this wind blown cliff.
Wonderful country, great experience–recommended!