It didn't take long for me to get itchy feet and want to start traveling again. I think we forget that sometimes there are great things to explore in your own backyard. Well, this wasn't exactly my backyard, only a nine hour drive one way, but I was determined to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in Arizona.
I carefully planned my itinerary with stops along the way to get out and see sights or do a quick hike. One of my best discoveries was finding out Moab, Utah was on my route! I checked the oil and tire pressure of my car, downloaded an audio book, and packed the cooler full of sandwiches, Oreos, and Diet Coke. Only the necessities.
I thought the drive was going to be really tiresome, but with an Audible book and a good playlist, I helped me cross the mountains and the desert without a hitch!
Camping at Lone Rock Beach
It wasn't until late in the evening when I arrived at Lone Rock Campground in Utah, just north of Page, Arizona. I met my friends that drove up from Phoenix and we haphazardly put together our tent in the dark while chugging a few beers.
Surprisingly, it was really difficult to find a campsite in the dark and we had quite the time figuring out where to set up shop. We saw a big RV with a flag and a light and figured that was the "Party RV" spot. Obviously we aimed towards camping there.
After a few hours of drinking, laughing, and talking about incredibly inappropriate things, we hear someone approaching our tent! Turns out the "Party RV" was actually the Camp Host and had listened to our conversations for over an hour and told us to be quiet. Needless to say, we moved to a new location on the beach the next night.
Lower Antelope Canyon
We had a tour booked with Ken's Tours to see the Lower Antelope Canyon. There are two types of tours: a Photographer Tour and a General Tour. We opted for the General Tour and booked a time that we thought would coincide well with the light rays inside the canyon. Unfortunately, they don't tell you that you have to wait for 45 minutes before you can get into Antelope Canyon. We still got excellent shots, so I'm not complaining!
The guides frequently asked us how we were feeling, because apparently people pass out from heat stroke waiting inline to get into the canyon. As the line moves forward, you find yourself on a series of stairs, ladders, and ramps to get to the bottom. My friend who was scared of heights was not pleased with the trek down.
Once we were in the canyon, the guides set up our cameras to get the best photos. It was impossible to absorb it all. Every step you took the colors and shapes would change! It was truly a breathtaking experience.
After seeing Lower Antelope Canyon and a quick lunch, we headed to Horseshoe Bend. The entrance was covered with signage telling you how much water to bring with you and how many bottles needed per person. I couldn't help, but contrast this to European tourism, where common sense and your ability to be a competent human being usually prevails.
The hike down to Horseshoe Bend was longer than I had initially thought, so maybe it was a good idea they suggested two water bottles. There were no railings along the edge of the cliff and my heart would drop every time I saw a tourist going out to the edge to get the perfect photo.
I don't think it's possible to grasp how incredibly huge this canyon is until you experience it in person. The shear drop makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it. It's amazing what the mighty Colorado River can carve.
Our adventure together ended with one last night sleeping on the beach at Lone Rock Campground. In the morning, we parted ways. My three friends back to Phoenix and myself back to Moab and Breckenridge.