If you’re just joining me, check out Part I here.
This past weekend, Austin came to Flagstaff to visit me for a couple days. We try our hardest to go back and forth between Phoenix and Flagstaff evenly, but recently I have been spending an excessive amount of time in Phoenix. Needless to say, it was nice to stay in the Northern half of Arizona for once instead of drive through Scottsdale, Glendale, and Tempe traffic! So, earlier last week we were deciding on places to go during the weekend. Having a dog makes it necessary for us to stay active and go outside as regularly as possible. Having a travel bug makes us itch to do those things in new places.
Olive also has itches she needs to scratch.
After debating multiple creeks, a handful of hiking trails, and saying “screw it, let’s just stay home,” we decided to head North, almost to the Arizona-Utah border, and pay a visit to Page. Then, we decided to add a quick drive to Lake Powell after Page. We also decided that we’d leave at 8 in the morning. We managed to fulfill most of our decisions and add my dear friend Shannon into the mix as well.
The first stop on our adventure was to Water Holes Canyon. You probably have heard of Antelope Canyon, a world famous slot canyon trail in Page that’s a part of The Wave. I have always wanted to go there and take cutesy pictures in the slots, but after doing some research on the area, I discovered that Water Holes is 1. cheaper for a permit ($5 instead of $12) and 2. less populated by tourists. Sounds perfect, right? Not quite. It isn’t easy to locate. I usually try my hardest to do in-depth research on where I’m going, but this time around I was not so thorough and I picked the first website I found for directions, which ended up leading us to cross the street, run across a bridge, and ultimately do more work than necessary.
Luckily, there weren’t many cars on the road, so we were able to run around freely without risking death by semi-truck.
However, if you don’t feel like wasting time running around the streets of Page, do your research and don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (she says as she writes an article on the Internet)… Or you could just take the directions I’m about to give you. We drove around Page for about half an hour before we decided to check out Horseshoe Bend first, then try to figure out where Water Holes is later.
Horseshoe Bend really has never appealed to me that much. Being from Arizona and going to school in Northern Arizona, I’ve seen so many selfies of people hanging out on a rock above the canyon that it felt as though I had already seen it. Honestly, the photos don’t do it justice. It really is overwhelming and a little dizzying (not unlike the first time seeing the Grand Canyon). However, unless you’re planning on hiking in the area, I wouldn’t make a big trip for it. In other words, don’t travel from wherever you are just to see Horseshoe Bend. In our case, we made lots of hiking plans so taking a quick detour to stand on top of a bunch of red rocks and look at a river wasn’t inconvenient or a waste of a drive.
Canyons like this are so humbling in the sense that it puts your “big” problems in perspective and makes you feel small. Mother Nature truly is breathtaking.
After getting our fill of Horseshoe Bend, we gave finding Water Holes Canyon another try. If you are coming from Page, Water Holes is South on the 89. There is a bridge about five miles out of town that says “Water Holes Canyon” on it. The parking area for the canyon is just before the bridge on the left hand side (to the East), and it is really small. There were two other cars there when we parked and there was only room for maybe one more small car, so be wary and go on a weekend or early in the morning on a weekday so you are almost guaranteed to have an area to park. To the right of the parking area, there is an opening in a chain-link fence that you can walk through.
From there, walk in a (pretty much) straight line East from the gate. There are little stacks of rocks here and there that signal that you are on the right path, so look out for those. They’re your guides.
Getting down into the canyon is the hardest part, so please be careful and watch out for areas of rock that have loose sand coating the top of it, the loose sand makes it difficult to gain footing. Once you are actually in the canyon, though, it’s pretty much smooth sailing and admiring nature. It’s much, much cooler in the canyons because it’s so shady compared to when you’re above the canyon; if you get cold easily, bring a light jacket.
We stayed on the East side of the bridge because none of us had ever been there before, but if you want a bigger adventure, you can hike the top of the canyon a few miles West and check out a part of the Colorado river that (supposedly) resembles Horseshoe Bend. I’ve heard it’s stunning, but I couldn’t find any pictures on the Interwebs to show you. Next time.
Instead, I’ll show you all the amazing things we did see on the East side of Water Holes Canyon bridge.
After leaving Water Holes Canyon, we left for Lake Powell. Austin and I got into a small debate on which part of the lake to go to, then ended up deciding on Lee’s Ferry because we had all been to Lake Powell before, but we had never been to that specific spot and it was only an hour drive. When we got there, the sun was about an hour and a half from setting so the lake was lit up and the red rocks surrounding it were glowing.
Pictures can’t do it justice.
Instead of hiking around, we picked a spot, laid out a blanket, and ate sandwiches while enjoying the serenity of existing next to so much naturally formed beauty. I’m a sucker for lakes, rivers, creeks, even puddles, so I was overjoyed with the way we decided to end our day.
The sunset on the drive home was the icing on the cake.
PS. PERIODICALLY, I WILL BE POSTING ABOUT ADVENTURES IN ARIZONA, INCLUDING PHOTOS, VIDEOS, AND DETAILS ON MY LOCATION. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE SO YOU CAN BE THE FIRST TO SEE WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE GRAND CANYON STATE!