Southwest Exploration, Part One: Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park: June 25-June 27, 2017
Page, Arizona: June 27, 2017
Consider this an extension of my last blog post (Havasupai Heaven)... After an epic weekend in Havasupai, I said goodbye to the awesome girls of Girls Who Hike LA and started on my solo road trip to the Grand Canyon, Page, Arizona, and onward to Zion National Park. I started down the long road seeing Hualapai Hilltop and the magic of Havasu in my rear view mirror. Luckily I was trading one magical land for another, only 3 hours and 25 minutes away - Grand Canyon National Park. Upon arriving I knew I desperately needed two things: a shower and food. I splurged at El Tovar and enjoyed a nice juicy burger coupled with cups upon cups o' Joe. I mean, I had just finished a three day backpack trip, can ya blame me?! Plus, I had to take advantage of charging my cell phone and free WiFi... #FirstWorldProblems. Just check out the view of the picturesque view of the Grand Canyon Express from my table, worth it!
From El Tovar I checked into Mather Campground and set up camp. On my way over I saw a couple of Elk right in the campground! Just another reason why I love National Parks. After a warm, albeit short shower, it was time to hop on the Shuttle Bus to check out the sunset at Mather Point. Again, completely worth it and so incredibly breathtaking. I understand why the Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. After the sunset, it was early to bed for me as I awoke early to do my seemingly favorite activity these days: hike!
I ended up deciding to hike the Bright Angel Trail considering the time of year I went - super hot June - and knew there was water available at several points along the trail. I started just before 5am and made it all the way to Indian Garden and back by 10am (9 miles, 3,800 feet). Granted, I had to hustle but I knew I had to beat the heat which was great incentive. Plus: the views! I highly recommend the Bright Angel Trail and hope to return to hike all the way to Plateau Point in the future (not recommended during the summer heat).
After hiking Bright Angel, I headed back to Mather Campground and set up my hammock. After all, the subsequent nap was well deserved ;) it started getting windy so I decided to make a campfire and tried to ration the obscenely expensive firewood purchased at the "grocery store," burning a few pieces at a time until the sunset. I must say: it was a success - and relaxing! Another early to bed night as I started the drive to Page, Arizona to see Horseshoe Bend in the wee hours of the morning; like 3am...
Two hours, 21 minutes or, 134 miles later I arrived at Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe-shaped incised meander of the Colorado River located near Page, Arizona. It's actually in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and only requires less than a one-mile (approximately) hike to have your breath taken away.
My original plan was to head to Zion National Park from Horseshoe Bend but when I was filling up my gas tank, the business next to the gas station advertised Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon Tours. I stopped in to inquire if they had any openings for tours but was informed they were sold out. However: the helpful employee told me about tours that are available for walk up located directly on the reservation (Navajo Parks) and I was one of the first in line upon them opening and secured a spot on the first tour of the day. More information here. Granted even though it wasn't at the "ideal" time of day in which the sunlight shines through the canyon, it was still spectacular and I should mention: significantly less crowded.
There is a lot more to do and see in Page (such as Lake Powell and Marble Canyon) and I hope to return to marvel at these other natural beauties. As always, thank you for reading and be sure to check back soon for Southwest Adventures, Part 2: Utah (Zion National Park)!