ARIZONA ROAD TRIP
"Be still and the earth will speak to you"
Just a few weeks after my trip to Yucca Valley I decided to hit the road again. Destination? Arizona: the land of canyons and the Navajo tribe. Looks like I can't get enough of the desert magic, its starry nights and its lessons.
The trip began by visiting the Grand Canyon. My first stop? The sunset. Four miles from the park entrance and after some pines, a few curves, a couple of rabbits and maybe even an elk you'll get to Mathers Point, the best place to watch the sunset at the canyon.
Once you get to Mathers point, don't stay at the very beginning of the trail with all the tourists. If you walk for about 5 minutes, you'll get to a part of the trail where there are no fences, no people and you can sit right at the edge of the abyss.
The park has different hotels where you can stay at. I always stay at Bright Angel Lodge. If you are going for more upscale options, try El Tovar. But my advice is: If you are going to stay at a natural park or reserve, forget about the luxury and go for the places that will keep you closer to the experience and "Bright Angel Lodge" is the one hotel where its cabins are right in front of the canyon and one of the most popular trails.
The park has many trails you can hike. I did the Bright Angel trail that takes you all the way to the bottom. We woke up to see the sunrise and right after that we were on our way. We went down and up again on the same day. It took us about 8 hours (considering we stayed at the bottom for a bit). If you don't want to do it on the same day, there's a lodge at the bottom called Phantom Ranch but you need to book months in advance.
You can also use the mules, although I suggest you hike it.
If you start your trail early enough you might be lucky and see some animals along the way. Once you get to the bottom you'll see more vegetation. Keep in mind that going back up will take more time than going down and you don't want to be hiking when it gets dark so start going back up around 1pm.
After a couple of days at the Canyon it was time to get going to our next destination. But before leaving the area we stopped at some interesting stores right next to the park's exit.
My favorite was "Double Eagle Trading". The store is as western as it gets! Great native findings and awesome set ups at their front porch.
Once in the village just stroll around and you'll keep finding interesting places like this one.
Our next destination was Page. A 3 hour drive through desert roads, scattered houses and a never-ending canyon might be too much for some or not enough for others. I am part of the second group. I really enjoyed the scenic drive while listening to "19 días y 500 noches" by Sabina, a famous Spanish singer and poet. I recommend you look for the lyrics and translate them if you don't understand Spanish.
"I loved her so much that learning to forget her took me 19 days and 500 nights" Sabina
Right before arriving to Page, we stopped at "HorseShoe Bend" by the Colorado River. Getting there is the easiest hike ever. After about 1.5 miles you'll get to a 4,200 overlook that has a horseshoe shape.
The cliff has no fences so you can get as close as you want at your own risk.
We spent the night at the backyard of a Navajo family ranch and by backyard, I mean the desert. The family has a couple of bell tents and two wagons with beds that people can rent through AirBnb. There's an outdoor fire pit and miles and miles of natural beauty.
The nights at the desert get really cold, so an outdoor fire pit is perfect.
After an awesome night sleeping at the desert, we had to wake up early to go to Antelope Canyon. You can't visit it by yourself so you'll have to book a tour in Page and I strongly suggest to go in the first time slot. It gets really crowded towards 11 a.m. and your experience will not be the same. From Page they'll take you to the canyon in a small windowless van. You'll have to go through dirt roads so that would be the time to pull off a western look!
The canyon will leave you speechless as you walk inside of it. As the rays of light make their way through the walls you'll see how the colors keep changing.
Here are just a few of all the pics I took there. Every corner of the canyon is so beautiful and enchanting and the colors keep changing so much that you can't stop taking pics. Plus, the camera will let you see shapes that your eyes can't.
This was another awesome experience and I can't wait to be back to the desert in May when I go to Utah. Until next time wild wild west!