The Great American West: Monuments, Canyons and Gods
After our summer in Colorado, we bid adieu to the Rocky Mountain State at the end of September and started heading south and west to warmer and drier climes. We've traveled all over the world, but never quite seen landscapes like this. The southwestern US is stuff of legend. Giant red rock monoliths, steep, gigantic canyons it's hard not to feel like you are constantly on the set of a western movie. Iain constantly shouted "meek meek" expecting Wile E Coyote to be waiting around the corner with some Acme dynamite
Our first stop was in the jaw-dropping beautiful Valley of the Gods in Southern Utah. We found an incredible place to camp, but unfortunately only ended up staying two nights. There was a storm rolling in, and we had read the dirt road to our spot can become impassable in heavy rain. So we had just a day or so to marvel at the wondrous scenery before we chose to move a short distance down the road to Monument Valley.
We rode out the storm there and spent a day in the trailer wondering if we were going to get washed away down a sand-colored ravine. Needless to say we survived and spent the next day touring Monument Valley. It was well worth hanging on through the deluge as this is scenery unlike any other I have seen.
Moving on to Page, Arizona, we camped at the fantastic Lone Rock Beach with a great view of Lake Powell. We were extremely fortunate to make new Instagram friends, Jena, Glyn and Haley - aka Totally Trailer. They invited us on their boat and gave us an amazing tour of the lake. They gave us the unforgettable experience of seeing this stunning landscape from the water.
Page has a couple of other very popular tourist spots on every Great American West Tour. The first Horseshoe Bend is worth the short hike to reach albeit a little crowded. Iain's vertigo was put to the test so we took a few quick photos and headed back.
The crowds were tiny compared to those at Antelope Canyon. You can only go into the canyon with a Navajo guide so you have no choice but to be with the hoards. We picked the lower canyon because we had heard it was a little less crowded. In the end it was incredibly busy with hoards of people. We were shoulder to shoulder a lot of the time in there but I think it was still worth it. The light, colors and formations in the the canyon are amazing. Worth the crush!
The jewel in the crown of all American West trips has to be the Grand Canyon. Not really that close to Page, the North Rim is a doable day trip and the journey itself takes you past the incredible Vermilion Cliffs. We decided to go for it as the North Rim has only 20% of the visitors to the Grand Canyon and is reputedly by far the best vantage point. Our five hour round trip to get there was rewarded with a spectacular day. We had bright sunshine, it was not too chilly and very few people on the trails. We stopped at all the vantage points, took a gazillion photos and had a gorgeous afternoon hike.
We thought the Grand Canyon lived up to all the hype. In fact all of these potential tourist traps were well worth the visit. These are unique landscapes that never cease to cause wonder and amazement. It's hard not to feel humbled by the shear wonder of it all. This part of the country is awesome... no I mean literally, we were in awe.