Page, Arizona, that is. My adventures in Arizona continued from Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon further north to the Lake Powell area at the border of Utah and Arizona. My goodness, it was a stunning drive two hours north from Flagstaff that I simply wasn’t expecting. The “painted desert” view is unimaginable. The canyons that appear out of no where and create dimension and depth to the landscape you’d never even imagine could be created are stunning. I had read about the town just south of Lake Powell, Page, that provided beautiful views of the Colorado River, the Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell and the infamous slot canyons of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons. Peter Lik just sold the most expensive photograph anyone has ever purchased and it was taken at Upper Antelope Canyon. Of course… there’s Horseshoe Bend too.
My time in Page started with a Monday afternoon tour of Lower Antelope canyon with a guide and a few other photographers. Lower Antelope Canyon is called exactly that because it’s below ground. We carefully walked down five sets of steep stairs deep into the ground. It was discovered by the local Navajo Native Americans and the guide was a descendent of the woman that discovered Lower Antelope. The antelope portion of the name came because antelopes used to stroll along that area. Less people visit the lower canyon because it is a bit more difficult to navigate, but still worth every minute. The light peaking through created gorgeous colors in the canyon walls. We gradually walked up at at an angle and at the end of the canyon didn’t use stairs to exit, but rather just crawled out of the ground as you can see below.
After leaving Lower Antelope Canyon, I found my way to Horseshoe Bend for sunset, which is an area of cliffs along the Colorado River where it looks just like a horseshoe. It’s been photographed many times and I couldn’t help but go there for sunset to get my own unique perspective of it. I was a bit frustrated that there weren’t any clouds in the sky to create a dramatic sunset, but I understand, we can’t have it all. :-) I underestimated the drop and how dangerous it was to photograph there though! In order to capture the entire horseshoe, one must hike out a bit and then crawl right up to the edge of the cliff with a 1000 ft drop in front of you on uneven terrain. That night there happened to be 20-30 mph winds too. FUN!
After a great night of sleep with more amazing Mexican food in my belly, I awoke to make my way to Upper Antelope Canyon on Tuesday. Upper is called exactly that because you walk into it at ground level, rather than walking down several flights of stairs. This canyon is known for the beams of light coming in, so it’s important to take a tour that will have you there at noon given that’s the only time you’ll see the beams. It was absolutely spectacular. Crazy busy inside with the guides helping to keep people out of the way for our long exposures (yes, I tipped mine well!!!), but well worth it.
I timed my drive back to Phoenix to arrive just in time for sunset. I made a few stops along the way and then found a spot north of Phoenix before heading to my hotel that had a lovely mountain view with a few cacti.
I spent a week in Arizona from Sedona to Flagstaff / Grand Canyon to Page to Phoenix. I must say, I was impressed.
Continuing on the topic of the Grand Canyon (see last two posts!), I thought I’d share a few photographs from Easter Sunday after the sunrise service and amazing breakfast at El Tovar. After fueling up with the tasty breakfast and finally getting some coffee, we decided we were adventurous enough to do a bit of hiking down one of the more frequented trails, the Bright Angel Trail. The trail itself was not difficult or strenuous, but it was certainly a bit scary how close we were to a several thousand foot drop! We only hiked a little over an hour, which provided great views inside the canyon as opposed to looking down into it. There were a few times I saw small children with parents that made me a bit nervous, but everyone seemed to do just fine. With a bit more time, it might be fun to hike down further for the day. It’s just important to remember that while hiking down seems easy, hiking up is a bit more difficult, especially at 6000 feet above sea level!
After our hike, we decided we’d like to start driving down toward the Desert View Watchtower and visitor center area, which is also the east entrance to the South Rim. It’s roughly a 25 mile drive and there are several scenic stops along the way, all of which we took advantage of. We met some fun hikers that were preparing to start their group outing. I snapped a few photos on their behalf in the harsh sunlight and they went on their way. The different views provided various looks at different rock formations and the Colorado River. At one point, we overheard a guide stating that the rapids in the river are so rough at some points that they’re Class 10 rapids – yikes! From a mile away at the top, it didn’t look so bad. ;-)
The last stop was mid afternoon (mind you, we were up at 4:00am and there by 6am for sunrise) at Desert View and the Watchtower. It’s incredible how the view to the east of the desert landscape is so different from the rest of the canyon. There are also gorgeous views of the colorful canyon walls and the Colorado River from the overlook point. The Desert View stop also has a visitors center and a small market with gifts, food and camping supplies. Kara and I took that opportunity to grab an adult beverage (yes, they sold them there!) and relax with a view of the canyon. We also ventured into the historic Watchtower and walked to the top. It was originally designed and built by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1932. As you can see from the photos it’s very unique inside with Native American art from the Hopi tribe. The very last image shows a child peeking through the window of the tower, looking down.
I hope you enjoy this images as much as I enjoyed creating them. It was a wonderful Easter Sunday from the early wake-up to the hike and Desert View drive to the fun drive back to Flagstaff and dinner downtown. I can’t say enough about the Grand Canyon, except that you simply have to experience it. I hope you have an opportunity to!
There really is no way to describe the Grand Canyon. Sure, you can look at photographs created by myself or the likes of other well-known artists, but it still doesn’t quite capture the breathtaking view you’re presented with when viewing it in person. The second part of my Arizona adventure after leaving Sedona included staying in Flagstaff and venturing to the Grand Canyon for two full days. I was thrilled to have my long time friend from college join me from Denver for the weekend too!
Friday night in Flagstaff was super fun as we walked around the downtown area and explored shops and restaurants. A local gave us a great recommendation for dinner and we had a cocktail outside in the back alley listening to live music as we waited for our table. How fun! The first photos below show the downtown Flagstaff area. It’s a very fun college town with an artsy sort of feel in the mountains. Just beautiful.
Saturday morning Kara and I got up and at ’em early enough and made our way up to the Grand Canyon. The drive is roughly 1 hr 15 min from Flagstaff. While we would’ve loved to have stayed in the Grand Canyon Village, we simply couldn’t get a room at any of the inns. The drive up wasn’t too bad and the drive back from the east Desert View entrance was quite scenic. We took the first day to explore the “red” Hermit Road bus tour and stop at different outlooks and views. After finishing the bus tour we got back in the car and started driving down toward Desert View, the eastern most entrance point into the National Park. We made a few stops with one of my favorites being Lipan Point, where we photographed sunset the that night. The beauty of the sunset was overwhelming, but sunrise on the next morning, Easter, was even more so. We awoke at 4:00am in order to get to Mather Point just in time for sunrise photography and joining in on the open non-denominational service. We followed that with brunch at El Tovar, the most historic inn there and then a bit of hiking down into the canyon. We made our way back toward Desert View and visited the historic Watchtower with amazing views of both the canyon and the desert.
There really are no words to describe the beauty to the Grand Canyon. If you have an opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it!
I had the pleasure of visiting sunny Arizona not long ago and found that I simply couldn’t put my camera down. I spent time in Sedona, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon and finally Page. I took so many photos that I’ve actually decided to create three separate blogs. Yes, that many!
Sedona’s beauty actually surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect and had done a bit of research, but until you see it first hand, it really is hard to believe just how naturally beautiful the area is. It’s surrounded by the well-known Red Rocks and is an outdoor person’s dream. The higher elevations (~6200 ft above sea level) keep the spring temperatures very comfortable and the sun simply didn’t stop shining. I flew into Phoenix and made the 2 hour drive north, arriving rather late at night. The funny part was that I had no idea what I would see when I woke up and looked out my windows. I was shocked at the enormous red rocks and how gorgeous they are!
My early morning hot air balloon ride was cancelled due to high winds, but I found my way on a few different trolley rides, exploring the area. I managed to sample some great homemade ice cream at the Black Cow (try the prickly pear ice cream!). I also ventured out on the Broken Arrow off-road Jeep tour with “Pink Jeeps”. Their Jeeps have the right modifications and their guides are highly trained and very knowledgeable about the details of the area. Later in the evening after shooting sunset at Airport Mesa, I found my way to Elote Cafe, which just so happens to be the #1 fine Mexican restaurant in Arizona, #2 in the USA. It was sooooooo good! I sampled the Smoked Pork Cheeks and the presentation was gorgeous, but the flavors really won me over. Even better, the chef and owner, Jeff Smedstad actually served it to me! Of course, their margaritas were quite tasty too. If you visit, be sure to order the restaurant’s namesake, elote, for the appetizer!
The following morning I ventured out on a run (which was more difficult than I had planned with the higher elevation and heavy winds!) and then checked out of my hotel, making my way downtown to catch some coffee and check out a few galleries. I highly recommend a visit to Lou DeSerio’s gallery, just down from the official visitor’s center. He studied with the famed Ansel Adams years ago and his photography of the area is stunning. He also offers half or full day private workshops. After the gallery visit and a stop by the visitor’s center, I made my way out to a few different stops, including a hike at Cathedral Rock. I finished out the day as I made my way up to Flagstaff with the scenic drive up 89A with the switchbacks, cliffs and cozy cabins along the way.
What an amazing part of the world. If you have the opportunity, even if it’s just for a day trip from Phoenix, I highly recommend a visit to Sedona. As you can see from my photos below, its beauty will win you over in a heartbeat.
ME! Outside Chapel of the Holy Cross. Yes – I braved it and handed my camera to a complete stranger!
I was up front for the Jeep ride – this is the crew in the back, getting the briefing before our adventure.
Sunset from Airport Mesa. Definitely make the quick drive up to watch sunset and get a nice view of the city!
At times, one just has to embrace the winter and try to imagine it’s warmer, even at the beach. I love to go on nice long walks and last weekend a friend called and invited me to join her and Tuxy (the cutest labradoodle) for a stroll. We loaded up in my old Jeep and off we went about a half hour’s drive north to Ogunquit, Maine for a walk at Marginal Way and on the beach.
We have had so much snow that I wasn’t sure how this would work. Do we take snow shoes and poles with all of the snow? The great part is that the pathway was so well packed that so long as we stayed on it, we didn’t sink into the 4 feet of snow. Unfortunately I’m not exaggerating the depth. We noticed that if we stepped off the well traveled areas we sunk right down into the snow. Tuxy, short for Tuxedo (check out his coat), was having a blast in the snow as he ran ahead of us and explored new areas. Thankfully he didn’t jump in the water for a swim! He even had a little puppy crush on this super cute lab puppy that we met. How adorable is that little guy?!
All in all, we covered around 6 miles with our walk. Just before hopping back in the car, I grabbed a few photos of the lobster boats in the basin area at Perkins Cove where we parked. They’re so representative of Maine. Soon we’ll all be sitting out on picnic tables eating lobsters, sipping our local craft beers. That time can’t come soon enough! :-)