I won’t bore you with my trials and tribulations in the desert again…..well actually I can’t as it wasn’t quite so hot this time and therefore wasn’t quite so much of a nightmare. The only downside to the temperature being cosy but bearable was that we had to work from 6am till 4pm and didn’t get an afternoon in the mall like the last lot 😦
Anyhoo, Lau was right and the night I came back we did indeedy spend with beer, good pizza and bed. Next day we jumped in the car with Sonia, Simon and Jenny (the mad german – every trip should have one!) and headed north. Our plan was to stop near Lake Powell and visit Antelope Canyon, then head to Monument Valley and camp there……I say was because …..well to put it mildly – it pissed down. Basically we could see about 5ft from the car and that was it, so we had to make a few wee changes….unless we fancied swimming Antelope Canyon was a no no so onward and upward to Utah and the Navajo Nation we went. The drive thro Monument Valley was not as spectacular as it says on the tin, this could have had something to do with the rain, thunder and lightning so we just kept trucking and promised to visit with the Navajo on the way back home.
We reached our final destination of Arches National Park just after dark and found ourselves a canyon to pitch our tents in just outside the park entrance. Next morning we all piled into the car and headed to the park. Fortunately the weather had started to clear and we ended up having a fantastic day hiking through the mountains and hunting for arches. I decided to take my camera with me and proudly snapped more pics in a few hours than I did in a year in NZ……………. then promptly lost my camera! Anyway luckily Lau also had hers and managed to hold on to it all day so we have some pics that will go some way to show the place although to some it may look vaguely familiar – it did to me (sunday afternoons as a kid watching westerns weren’t a total waste)
We drove to the uppermost section of the park and decided that it was time to hike. We started out on the main trail but a few hours and a few hundred arches…..ok ok I exaggerate maybe not as many as a hundred but there’s a lot…..we decided that since we are hardy volunteers we’d take the “primitive” trail. Understatement of the century! Primitive my arse! Ok so there was a few bits that got a wee bit hairy – and we have photos to prove it 😉 Mainly the walking and scenery were fantastic apart from the few sections that made it a little more challenging, sliding down rocks on our butts and perching on slidey sandstone walls to get over big pools of water – it’s all in good fun and there’s no better way to meet new peeps than to have them shoving your ass up a sandstone cliff!
After lots off picture stops we headed out of the park to find a campsite near Monument Valley. Up early next morning and into the Navajo Reservation to see some big red rocks……again I had the sneaking suspicion I’d seen them before and was getting the nagging sensation that I was gonna start walking like I was saddle sore and saying “the hell ya will” hmmmmm, strange! They’re pretty strict about where you can and can’t go without paying and exorbitant fee for a guided tour so we took our little hire car out on the dust road and drove ourselves round the viewing points and clicked merrily away…..well I just looked and sooked up the atmosphere 😉 What can I say……its pretty spectacular to see the sandstone buttes sticking up out the desert like that and photos don’t seem to do it justice as you can’t see the scale of it but we tried out best! We even managed to get some of our own butts in there too….they made me keep my pants on tho…can’t think why!
Finally we headed back to Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon which is a slot canyon thats famous for having shafts of light coming down from the ceiling and amazing colours and patterns in the stone. It’s pretty touristy now but still supposed to be a spiritual place for the Navajo. When we arrived there was a guy playing a native american flute which was quite haunting and beautiful but difficult to enjoy with two french canadian grannies getting told where to stand for the best photos by our Navajo guide who seemed able to see bears in every stone – they’re not allowed to drink but god only knows what they smoke!! We still managed to get a couple of shots and a few precious minutes in the canyon in the quite to enjoy the atmosphere so it was well worthwhile….oh and I got to kiss the rock that looked like the lips of a fish (don’t ask me ask the dutchie). We walked round the other side of the rock to be told by the guide that I’d actually been kissing the devil and sure enough from the opposite side the rock did look like the wee horned guy….spooky!
After a nice dinner in Page on Lake Powell and some paddling in the lake for Simon we headed back to Flagstaff to get ourselves ready for our next project. Next week we head to Vegas, Death valley, Bryce and Zion National parks but without our trusted companions Sonia and Simon…. Not too sure how we’ll cope without someone to tell us to “zip your mouth” and add in the odd “whatever”, it just won’t be the same, maybe we’ll have to get them to make us a wee mpeg movie to play when we miss them giggling in their tent at night!