My extended family is a bunch of road trippers – we love the idea of travel, just as long as it is away from large cities and tall buildings.
On my parents’ first visit to the US, they landed at JFK- and we spent the first 2 days in NYC. In et days that followed, we drive around New Jersey to enjoy the pre-fall greenery, and also drove to Niagara Falls. 10 days into the trip, I asked them how they were liking it – and they were like – Everything is gorgeous – but next time- can we please skip NYC? That sums it up for most of us.
Don’t get me wrong – I love visiting beautiful cities around the world – but given a choice 2 days later – I would choose a beach, a mountain or cabin in the forest.
Later into the trip with my parents, my cousin and his kids joined us – and we did one amazing trip.
LA-Monterey – SF – Yosemite – Vegas (just to check the box, and a night halt) – Page – Grand Canyons – Phoenix – LA. The trip will remain with me forever.
Today, I will just tell you about Page- this tiny town in Arizona that I am sure to visit again and again.
A few years back I saw pictures of the Antelope Canyons. Ignorant me thought “it’s part of the grand canyons” till I did more research. The more I looked into it, the more I wanted to visit. Here, I got a chance- and I was so happy that I could share it with my family.
We reached Page quite late at night. Our Airbnb hostess was fantastic. She had left complete details for us to get to the house without disturbing her. Since it was end November – Page was FREEZING! she had left the heat on. Because she knew that there were kids in the group (and that we are all kids at heart) she had even left us a s’mores kit! Can you beat that!
The house was very homey- it was not fancy – but it was warm, clean and welcoming. I’d take that over fancy – any day.
The only thing that surprised us – not in a good way- is that the master bath had no doors. We can learn a lot of things from Europeans – no doors policy – not so much! Anyway – we were all quite tired so without much ado – we decided to call it a night.
A quick breakfast at home and we were all packed into the van – and off we were. We were headed to the office for Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours- not too far from us.
Before you go: there are two kinds of tours you can do at Antelope Canyons – upper canyons, and lower canyons. each lasts about 2-3 hours. The views, the angle of sunlight and the weather are all things to consider before you make your choice. We chose Upper canyons since we didn’t have much time, and to cater to the whole group. Also I read that the time of year was less than ideal for the lower canyons. The lower canyons also requires climbing some ladders – which would not be possible for my mom.
Most of the tour groups are located in the same region- you have to get to them and make a booking. You need to leave your cars there, and they will drive you to the canyons in jeeps.
Important to know- you are not allowed to carry bags – the only things you can take are- bottle of water, cameras and jackets, gloves etc. It gets very very cold in the jeep and the canyons – so you need to be well prepared. I think also sneaked in some energy bars.
Adventurous Antelope Canyons came well recommended. It was about 7-10 miles from our place – which was perfect. When we got there they told us that the earliest tour we could take was 12:30 – which was perfect since the sun would be right above us- giving us great rays into the canyon.
We booked our spots and decided to come back. (note: if you pay cash, they give you a tiny discount- so come prepared). Lake Powell is not far – about 10 miles, 15 mins drive away. So we headed there.
We were literally the only people there – 20 mins into it one lone kayaker made his way to the lake. It was serene. The sun was high up, but the breeze was cold. The red canyon and the blue lake created a calming contrast.
Without a word, we decided to spend our time at the lake by ourselves – walking around- sitting quietly. It was like mediating.
I love how, at times, tourist places become quiet and give us a chance to enjoy the views without selfie sticks. It’s serendipity. This is why I like to travel off season.
I know we really wanted to take a group photo at this spot, but I cant remember if that all worked out, after all. From here, we headed for the Antelope Canyons- finally.
The jeep ride was freezing cold – but fun. It was bumpy – so not expect a smooth ride. Once we got to the canyons, our guide (I feel terrible, as I forget her name) started telling us all about the canyons.
The anticipation- the imagination of what we were going to see – all of that excitement could hardly be contained.
Before you enter, the guide will help you with your camera settings to get best photos. And do not think you know better than them- they know allllll the camera settings.
What I loved bout Adventurous Tours is that their guides are all local native Americans – who have grown up in the area. Our guide told us a lot about native American traditions, and how they are struggling to preserve them while adopting to the modern world’s needs. It is quite reminiscent of old Indian traditions.
As we started walking in, our guide told us one thing – to shut our minds, and let our imagination take charge. She said – I may see a fish where you see a horse- but in the world of imagination, we are both right.
The play of lights, the layers of colors, the rays of the sun – these cannot be described- So I will leave some photos for you. You can stand in the same spot fro hours- and see completely different things – it is like you are standing still, and the world around you is moving.
I do hope you get a chance to visit – and experience this place – because the best of photos cannot capture the feeling that the centuries have left a mark on these rocks.
It is not a long walk- about three fourths of a mile, and back – but what you see on the way back is completely different, and the angles and lighting have all changed.
On the drive back to our cars, we discussed more native traditions. This was our guide’s last day – she was leaving to teach kids basket ball for the winter season. She clearly loved this job though, as she took her time in showing us how to take photos, we discussed the different figures we saw. She was the best!
That evening we decided to catch the sunset at Horse Show Bend.
Horse Show Bend is along hike- a very easy one- but well over a mile, and with a slight elevation. I was concerned about my mom, but she did it easily. The bend itself is really nice – but your expectations might disappoint you. Most of us have seen gorgeous photos with blue water – but for that, you need to be there at the right time of day/ weather etc. Luckily my friend had warned me- so I was prepared. It was still a very beautiful spot – with loads of people though.
We spent a good hour there, and walk al around. I did notice many tourists doing stupid things to get great photos. This place is not guarded in any way- no one is asking you to stay back. Because they expect you to use common sense – not so common though. So, if you go here- please stay safe. Photos have little value of they have bad memories attached to them.
We ended the day with a lazy dinner at a tiny Thai place- with nothing to write home about – but it did the trick- filled hungry tummies with quasi healthy quasi tasty, but hot food. A round of Phase10, and we were all ready for bed.
We had the whole of next day at Page, but decided to cut the trip short and spend extra time at Grand Canyons, and stay over at Phoenix.
Page, from what I saw, is a tiny town with a treasures such at Lake Powell and the Antelope Canyons. I will be back….