Anywhere in or around Page Arizona. We had a full day planned, and were a bit concerned about the weather forecast for today, but ended up with an excellent day to accomplish everything on our to-do list. It started out cool and breezy this morning but ended up warm and mostly sunny by the afternoon, just like we’d ordered.
We had four items on our agenda for today: Antelope Slot Canyon, Horseshoe Bend Overlook, the Rim Trail in Page, and possibly a jaunt to the Vermillion Cliffs if we had time.
On our way into town we drove by a street called Scenic Drive, and couldn’t resist turning in. It certainly was worth the effort. It gave us a great view of the dam which creates Powell Lake, as well as some of the downstream sections of the Colorado River.
There are several tour companies that offer group tours to the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon. We’d heard from friends that the Lower Canyon was the one we needed to see, but for the life of us we couldn’t find any information on how we could get there. We eventually ended up booking with one of the companies listed in the local Visitor’s Guide, and when we finished our tour, we figured that no matter which company we chose we were going to get the same transportation, the same tour, and the same opportunities no matter what.
The canyon itself is a marvel, and definitely worth seeing, but the complications of traversing a 1/4 mile canyon that ranges from 3 to 10 feet wide in spots with about 100 of your closest and grumpiest friends doesn’t make for a relaxing time. The tours are listed as being 90 minutes in duration, but as it takes you 25 minutes to get to the canyon from town, and 25 minutes to get back you only end up with about 35 minutes in the canyon. As it turned out our tour did go overtime and we were in the canyon for about 45-50 minutes, so I guess that was a deal. The guides are very helpful though, and ours set up all of our cameras to deal with the low light conditions and pointed out the best spots to take the pictures. She also ended up taking a number of pictures for each of us, as she knew the best spots and the right zoom settings to use. In some ways that was a disappointment as I’d like to figure out the best shots myself, but considering the short time we had in the canyon, it worked out OK.
All together I took almost 200 pictures on the tour, and didn’t have to trash very many of them. There is also a photographers tour that you can book which lets you stay in the canyon for another hour, but it costs twice as much, and you still have to share the space with all 100 of your buddies. After we finished our time in the canyon I asked the guide how we could access the Lower Canyon, and it’s as simple as showing up at the gate to the site and asking one of the local guides to take you on a tour. I’ve seen pictures of the Lower Canyon, and I know we’ll do this next time we’re in the area. I have no idea how much that tour would cost or how long it lasts.
I know these are far too many pictures for one post, but I just couldn’t resist. All in all today I took almost 300 pictures so it was pretty hard to cut them down even this far.
Next up was Horseshoe Bend overlook where the Colorado River takes a 270° bend around a rock outcropping. The hike to the site is about 1.5 mile in and out hike from the highway, and for some reason it seems to be uphill and in soft sand both ways. The views are terrific though.
Next on the agenda we decided to tackle the trip west towards the Vermillion Cliffs area. It turned out that we were on the wrong highway to see the better viewpoints, but it will leave us something to do next time. We did end up stopping at the Toadstools Trailhead and wandered into the rocks to see these formations.
In a couple of spots the harder Toadstool rocks had fallen off their perches. I poked around at one of them and the sandstone beneath these rocks is very soft, more like unfired clay than rock, so it will be interesting to see how long some of these things stay in place.
Last on the list was the Rim Trail, and it topped off the day nicely. We had great views of Lake Powell, Navajo Mountain and Tower Butte.
So that was our day. Busy, but full of the Wow moments that Sylvia craves. Tomorrow we’re heading towards Moab and Arches National Park in Utah.