After a night in Flagstaff, I was on the road bright and early to get to Grand Canyon in time. It wasn’t that long of a drive, and I arrived at the park around 10 in the morning. After getting convinced to buy a park pass for all the national parks for a year, I drove in and parked. I expected there to be a crazy amount of people, but it wasn’t too bad actually. I love the feeling when you know that you’re about to see something spectacular, the expectations as you walk towards the first overlook and know that in just seconds you will be seeing a world famous phenomenon.
Seconds away from seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time…
And it was just that good. I was in awe from the very first moment I laid my eyes on the canyon, and just never stopped. It’s hard to capture just how beautiful and magnificent it really is, but I tried my best. Here is a tiny amount of the photos I took at the park.
There were warning signs that you shouldn’t leave the path and climb the rocks. Well, not a lot of people listened, me included. But I never went as far as the people in the picture above, that is just stupid.
There are a lot of hiking trails down into the canyon. Can you see the switchbacks in the corner?
(it looks worse than it is, there were cliffs all around me, you just can’t see them in the picture. I promise I was never at risk of falling.)
Once again, some people were just being plain stupid.
I took a bunch more pictures, but I won’t bore you with all of them. I did manage to meet some Swedes though! As I was climbing up from having taking one of the pictures, a family came climbing down and I knew right away they were Swedish. One of the sons even had a NY rangers t-shirt, a dead giveaway. Why? Henrik Lundqvist, duh! We had a quick chat, which was nice, but nothing too long, we’re still Swedish after all… I did have a longer talk with an American family I helped take a photo off though, they were super nice.
After having spent 5 hours just walking along the rim, I got back in the car and headed northeast towards the city of Page. It was only a 2,5 hour drive and I had a stop planned just before Page: the Horseshoe Bend. This was also on the list of beautiful places I should see, that I googled a few weeks back, and once again I have to thank google (and National Geographic!) for guiding me to the most amazing places. Just take a look at this:
You might not be able to see it on my face, but I was absolutely terrified. It was SO high up, and super windy, so for some reason this was much scarier than Grand Canyon. You could tell that this was the general feeling, everyone was almost shuffling towards the edge to be able to get the best picture. You had to almost lean over to get the entire bend… scary! But so beautiful. Just unreal.
Minutes after I arrived to my hotel in Page, and during the check in the lady asked what else I had planned for my visit here.
Me: Tomorrow I’m going to see Antelope Canyon.
Her: What tour company have you booked?
Me: No, I’m just planning to go by myself.
Her: Oh no, it’s on the Navajo reservation, you have to book a tour and guide, otherwise you can’t get in.
Note to self: start doing better research and don’t leave everything for the night before! But I started googling and luck was on my side because I found a company and could book a tour for 10:30 the day after. The tour began with a Navajo man showing us the traditional hoop dance which was very impressive. I filmed the ending of it, where he was covered in all the hoops.
Then we boarded the cars, and were driven to the park.
At the canyon the driver of each car also turned out to be our tour guide, mine was a native Navajo man named Leonard. All the guides were Najavo, which I think is pretty cool, it’s their land after all. We entered the canyon, and I was just in awe once again. Seems like that’s my constant state recently. Leonard told us stories about the canyon and its history but also turned out to be a great photography guide as he kept telling us where to stand and where to point the camera to get the best shot. The light was just amazing and I got so many great photos that I want to print as paintings when I get back to Sweden and have a home again, that I’m not sure how I’ll be able to pick. But here I don’t really have to pick, so you’ll get to look at almost all of the pictures I took.
I still can’t believe this is actually a real place that I got to see, and these are pictures that I actually took myself. While Grand Canyon was amazing because of how huge it is, Antelope Canyon was great because of the light and the shape and the colors. Both beautiful but in completely different ways.
I must admit that this picture is a bit fake! You can’t actually see light unless something is blocking its path, so the guides would stand and throw sand into the air and then jump out of sight so that we could take pictures like this. I think this is my favorite out of all the ones I took.
This is Leonard, my guide. He played the flute when we exited the canyon on the other side, such a nice touch.
Heading back through the sand towards the cars. It was a very bumpy and dusty trip, I had sand everywhere when we got back to town.
After a quick lunch stop I got back in the car and headed north towards Lake Powell to go for a swim. As I approached the area I had seen on the map, I realized that I was entering another park, and that it had a 20 dollar fee to get in! Once again I was in luck, as the national parks pass I had purchased at Grand Canyon was valid here as well. I think it has almost already payed off actually, and I have a bunch of parks left to visit.
Yay, the beach! And look at the little cooler Janet gave me, it’s perfect! I can finally buy yoghurts and cheese and other things that needs to be kept cool without problem. And it’s very cute.
Tomorrow I’ll have an early start, as I’m driving to Zion National Park in Utah, about 2 hours away. I’m planning on hiking the Angel’s Landing trail there, which is supposed to be pretty hard so I want to get started early. It’s supposed to be really beautiful.
How am I doing otherwise? I must admit I’m doing very well. I’m happy, very happy and I feel so blessed to be able to do this and see all these amazing things. Life is easy at the moment, and I’m living the best life I can imagine there is. All I worry about sometimes is how much money I’m spending, but it’s just that, money. No matter how old the saying might be, you actually only do live once, and life is for living. And I sure am living. I can afford to do this, so why shouldn’t I? Yes, I’m spending a lot (A LOT) more money than I originally intended, but I’m gaining so much experience that I wouldn’t change it for the world. As I have experienced myself on this trip, you never know what might happen in your life, so what’s the point of waiting? I’m living my dream, and yes, it comes at a cost but I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me up until this point in my life. I’m a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason.
The hand situation is a little bit better. The bump is still there right behind my knuckles, and there is a constant tension across my upper hand and the knuckles. I can use my hand without problem but I have to flex and stretch it a lot. I had originally planned to go whitewater rafting as I get further north, but I don’t think that is an activity I’ll be able to do soon unfortunately. Holding on to a paddle while in a raft on wild water is not the smartest thing with an injured hand.
Okay, time for this lady to sleep, so that I’m ready to go hiking tomorrow! Expect an abundance of pictures…