For the holidays, P and I explored beautiful Arizona for about a week after spending Christmas with my family in the bay area. I had never really explored Arizona much until I met P. But, after getting a glimpse of the Grand Canyon last year, I couldn’t wait to visit the other national monuments in the southwest. We started north in Page, Arizona. Nothing really to do there. Nothing too special. Mainly just cheap hotels and a few restaurants for tourists. Most people visit this town to see Antelope Canyon. That was the single reason we were visiting as well. We reunited with our good friends who had moved from Boston to San Diego two months ago and spent a few days exploring Northern and Central Arizona.
Because we couldn’t get tickets for the Antelope Canyon tour until 1 p.m., we decided to hike Horseshoe Bend first. I guess wouldn’t really call it a hike but a long stroll. Be prepared to have your shoes filled with red sand! After walking up a hill and then down a trail, you will run into a canyon shaped like a horseshoe with the bluest water you have ever seen. Don’t get too close to the edge because the fall is a little over 4000 ft! The views were amazing because you are literally surrounded by red. We also enjoyed climbing the rocks to get an even better view. There were plenty of tourists with their cameras, attempting to get every possible shot and climbing the rocks in their Louis Vuitton gear. It was all very humorous to watch. The Horseshoe Bend was also the perfect spot to catch up with our friends while enjoying nature. Oh yea, did I mention it was a gorgeous day?!
Antelope Canyon is a canyon formed by the erosion of Navajo Sandstone. I didn’t even know this place existed until I read an article online about the top 20 places to visit before you die. When I saw pictures like this, I immediately told P that we should stop by Antelope Canyon when we visit Arizona, even if it meant we had to drive 6 hours north from the Phoenix Airport:
Because of flash floods, the canyon can only be accessed through private tours companies in Page. We had scheduled a 1 p.m. afternoon tour. Each tour group consisted of 10 people, and we all piled onto the back of a truck with a canopy. The 10 minute ride to the canyon was bumpy and all of us ended up with sandstone and plenty of dust in our cameras, shoes, clothes, and mouths. When we arrived, we were herded to the entrance of the canyon and given a lecture on the history of the canyons and of course… rules when entering the canyon. Our guide was Sherry, a proud Navajo Indian with the most abrasive tongue and… probably the most ignorant person that I have ever met… She was great at telling us stories about each section of the canyon and helping us get the best shots on our cameras with the best light. However, the stuff that came out of her mouth was a little offensive and … pretty comical. The highlights:
Sherry: “Where are you from?”
Italians: “We are from Italy.”
Sherry: “Ohhh! Hola! Como estas?”
Italians: “That’s Spanish. We are Italian.”
Sherry: “Ah, same thing.”
Another treasure: Sherry to the Italians, “You guys are the bad Europeans. I know the goods ones, but Italians are the bad ones.”
And finally, to our friend from San Diego: “What Asian are you? Ni hao. Konnichiwa. Annyeonghaseyo!”
All of these comments occurred within a 15 minute time period …. I’m sure she didn’t have any bad intentions, but I surely was wide-eyed when she first made those comments to the Italians. Needless to say, the Italians did not give her a tip.
The canyon itself was amazing although it was not what I expected. The pictures online made the canyon walls dramatically red.. However, when you walk into the canyon, it’s dark with slivers of light shining through the top. The walls appear to be a reddish brown color and the curves of the walls are more subtle. When you photograph the canyons, you have to learn where the light is to get the best shot, to get that dramatic red color and all the angles of the canyon. For the first 10 minutes of the tour, all the shots I took were a muddy brown blurry mess, but after playing around with the camera’s features, I was able to get some cool shots! I can completely understand why this is a photographer’s heaven. After playing photographer for half an hour and not truly appreciating the canyon itself, I decided to put down the camera and take in the beauty of the walls, the sand, light, the curves, and the different shapes that had formed due to the erosion. The walls were smooth but grainy at the same time. I loved running my fingers along the curves of the canyon. This place is a must see when visiting Arizona!