Day 8: Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah - Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
We woke up at 6 and went grocery shopping before heading to Antelope Canyon. There is Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, both of which are on Navajo Land. You must pay for a Navajo-led tour in order to see the canyons and of course they charge separate (rather large) fees for each. We decided to only visit Lower Antelope Canyon, but it is probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It's about a quarter mile walk down a slot canyon only a few feet wide with windswept walls. Even these pictures can't do it justice.
Following the Antelope Canyon tour, we decided to head to Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area. We attempted to find a specific road, but when we weren't successful in finding it, we stopped at a lodge and a friendly guy pointed us in right direction. Or so we thought. Really, it was the wrong direction. We drove down the wrong dirt road for about 15 miles. Melissa was losing faith in Sci's ability to handle the increasingly bumpy, narrow, pothole-ridden road. And let's face it...we hadn't seen another person or vehicle for the last 15 miles along this dirt road, so it was probably the smart thing to do to turn around. Not before screeching to a halt to take a picture of this guy though!
We also found a cool lunch spot. We may have gotten lost, but at least we didn't end up like this car...
Once we got back out to the main highway, we found the right road (Houserock Road vs Long Canyon Road) and followed it to Wire Pass Trailhead. We then proceeded to hike on the wrong path for over an hour before turning around and going down the right one. This Arizona land can be tricky I guess. It was still a nice hike... just not the one we were supposed to be on... I mean, who could complain about this view?
Eventually, however, we got on the trail we were trying to be on... and found ouselves another slot canyon. This one was free though! And not nearly as crowded. Although eventually we ran into some water and decided to turn around.
There was also a really neat, giant arch!
And petroglyphs! We had walked right past these petroglyphs on the hike out, but on the way back, just happened to notice them. Pretty fascinating to be out in the middle of nowhere amongst some canyons, and randomly find some petroglyphs.
Hiking out, we decided to call it a day, and found a free camping spot! It may look like it was out in the middle of nowhere, and really it was, but it was one of four designated free Bureau of Land Management campgrounds! It even came with a bathroom!
And the night view... because what else do you do out in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception. Take pictures!
See more pictures here!