April 1st, 2nd, 3rd,
Our ride from Tuba, AZ was going fairly well until we reached the town of Kayenta. The elevation was 4 to 5 thousand feet and the wind was blowing, honestly, 40 to 50 miles per hour. I stopped at the station to fill up and asked how it was up toward Monument Valley. The First Nation lady said it was about the same, I asked if it was ok to drive the truck camper up there. She said, “As long as you drive slowly it shouldn’t be a problem”. We proceeded with caution! Just over the next rise, is the stretch of road that everybody takes a picture of when driving into Monument Valley. No picture of our camper here today… the wind and now the dust nearly obliterated all view. Once we arrived at Monument Pass and checked at the Navajo Visitor Center, we didn’t feel comfortable paying their entry fee or their jeep tour into the scenic valleys. They offered dry camping for $15 dollars in the middle of the open valley. (no extra charge for the breeze) I wanted to at least check out Goulding’s Camp Park. This was located up into a sheltered canyon. It turn out to be our home for the night. The wind died down around supper time and I got some excellent pictures of some of the monuments and rock formations. I even came upon a wild horse feeding in a gulch. He spotted us,and to our surprise, came up for a look at us before casually walking through the campground.
At this point, everything was normal. As the evening progressed I wasn’t feeling very well. I went to bed and slept for a couple of hours. That was it for the night! I was sick as a dog and you can imagine the rest! Morning came and I was, as in the blog title, in “Despair” . I was literally ready to call the rest of the trip off because of the cold weather and the possibility of it getting colder as we moved further north. Maybe, I jumped the gun and came up three weeks too early. I also read that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon would not be open until May 15th. Helen said, “Why don’t we at least go up to Page and check out Antelope Canyon”…one of my places on my bucket list. Ok, we packed up and Helen drove up to Page. I was weak and tried to sleep, but I just couldn’t get comfortable, as I normally do in the front of the truck. In Page, we parked at a Wall Mart and laid low for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I bundled my self up with everything I could wear, plus several blankets, a sleeping bag over that and was sound asleep at 7pm. I awoke the next morning completely refreshed. I don’t know if it was food poisoning, or bad water, but I was a hurting puppy!
Ah, morning with sunshine and warming temperatures made my bones feel good. We drove over to Antelope Canyon, paid our tribal entry fee and shuttle fee. We were off to Slot Canyon, ten of us in the back of an off road ORV. I should mention that our companions, four from Moscow, Russia, two from Argentina and two from Paris, France.
The “Joy” part of the blog now comes into play! I had come here to take “Slot Canyon” pictures and that is what I did! My only regret was that I wasn’t able to bring my tripod along because of the number of people in the canyon. I did get some good pictures, but with the tripod I would have gotten excellent pictures. All in all, we got off to an excellent start on this recovery day.
The day was young, and another “must see” attraction was the famous horseshoe of the Colorado river. This time a tripod wasn’t necessary and I was able get some fantastic shots of the Colorado river. I’m glad there were some rafting boats going down river, they showed scale…how much scale? They looked like they were about an inch long! It is amazing how high we were.
Our next stop was to the Page Visitor Center. Fortunately, we got the right lady to get us on a road to adventure! After determining what direction we were going, she pointed out several places to hike and get more unusual rock formations. First stop was the Glen Canyon Dam…terrific view and more pictures! Next, was a place called “Toadstools Trail” in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This involved a hike. Ok, so we like to hike. Who do we first meet, two people, our age, from Haines, AK. They know Steve Cunningham, who we met in Italy a couple of years ago. We then caught up with two gentleman that had the “higher end” Nikon cameras. The Irish speaking guy was from Barrington, VT. We were then overtaken by this couple, actually a brother and sister from Switzerland. The two Nikon guys gave us pointers where to go once we got to the photo site. They had been there before, thanks again to them for making this part of our journey a memorable one.
We are back on track as far as the route we were planning. Locals have told us that the last couple of days were unusually cold. Tonight we are in Kanab, Utah, in a campground. More adventure tomorrow!
A foot note here: In the last three to four days we took close to 500 photos. It was and is hard to pick a few for the blog out of so many good photos!
That is what we saw and did!
Place course on pictures for captions