Tuesday, August 31, 2021

UTAZ Day 9: Page, AZ - Horseshoe Bend & Lower Antelope Canyon

Back to vacation recapping (also, I added reviews to the meals we've cooked so far on yesterday's menu plan because man our first two have been delicious!). On Day 9 we said a nearly tearful goodbye to our yurt. We LOVED our glamping home and its homemade breakfasts, comfortable style and space, and most of all the kids *loved* their loft (the second bedroom remained unused the whole stay 😂). Landon is now going to live in a yurt when he grows up and the girls look forward to visiting him.
We drove down Scenic Byway 12 one more time, waving at the parks we’ve visited so far and saying a happy hello to Arizona- a new state for the kids! The Navajo Nation reopened the Antelope Canyon tours one week before we arrived and we were thrilled to add a stop in Page on our way to the Grand Canyon. We arrived early due to some confusion about time zones (Arizona does not observe daylight savings time, but the Navajo Nation does, it's VERY CONFUSING as you cross back and forth in the same few miles), but that gave us time to run over and hike to the iconic Horseshoe Bend!
Parking is $10 and then it's a short half-mile walk to the Bend.
It's pretty crazy to see the river turn so tightly around the rock, though seeing the very teeny tiny kayakers below gave some perspective on the size of it all.
Pictures taken, we took our now sweaty selves back to the Navajo Nation tour location. There are only two operators with permission to enter Antelope Canyon from the elder matriarch- Ken's Tours and Dixie's Tours (fun fact: Ken and Dixie are brother and sister). The tribe was hit hard by Covid and our guide Stacy explained that August was a trial period to see if they could allow tours without putting themselves at too much risk. Masks were required at all times and the tour groups were kept very small.
Our group was just our five and Stacy and it was really an honor to get to walk through the canyon with her, hear her stories, and soak up her knowledge and history. The whole experience was one of my favorite parts of a trip full of favorites.
First you walk across flat land that makes you wonder where this giant slot canyon could actually be.
Then you walk down a long line of steep steps and BAM.
There it is.
The color, the movement, the light...
It was incredible.
Absolutely otherworldly in its shapes and motion and beauty.
The kids immediately declared it their new favorite moment of the trip and we all felt blessed to be shown through such a beautiful and sacred space.
Our guide pointed out so many fun shapes and images in the stone.
Like Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo.
And this woman with her long flowing hair.
Standing under the profile of an Indian chief.
And inside the teardrop.
I keep saying it, but my overall memory of this tour is just feeling so lucky to get to walk through this spectacular fissure in the earth.
It's an extraordinary place.
To be surrounded by this vibrant orange and look up to the bright blue far above you...
At the end, you climb back up a long ladder to the sun and flat earth all around.
From Page we pressed on to the Grand Canyon and checked in to our very classic motel room at Maswick Lodge inside the park. We were in Cottonwood, which incidentally was the same name as our yurt. This wasn't quite that fancy, but it was clean and serviceable and great to be less than a quarter-mile from the Rim, shuttles, restaurants, and hikes.
We walked to Bright Angel Lodge for our first view of the Grand Canyon (it is very big; like so big it's hard to wrap your head around the scale of it all), ate a tasty dinner at Fred Harvey Tavern, let everyone have ice cream for dessert, and set our alarms for 4:30 a.m. to see the sunrise because my family loves me and humors me so.
One more big day of our epic journey left to go!


  1. AMAZING. Thank you for being so generous in sharing these photos! I feel like I'VE vacationed to all these majestic places now! ;)

  2. Thank you for sharing your adventures. I pretty much plan to duplicate this trip with my family next year. :)

  3. I love your family adventures and have been following you for years. I have to admit that I miss your political/social commentary. It was well informed and incredibly well stated. Maybe you made the change to focus on family and not wade into heated territory, but I’m curious what your thoughts are on how to stand up against the anti-choice SB8 bill. In the past you’ve linked great charities to donate to, etc. Also since you’re a Texan, I’m sure it hits especially hard. Obviously you don’t have to share but just want to say that I miss that part of your blog! :)

  4. Holy Moly your photos are gorgeous! My husband and I are hoping to get back out traveling in 2022 and I will definitely be looking at some of these places to add to the list. Thank you for sharing.