If you want to get technical, this is really day two since we were literally driving ALL DAY YESTERDAY from Louisiana…! But it’s officially the first day where we’re vacationing. The destinations for the next week are mainly in Utah, with a couple of things in northern Arizona.
We literally stopped driving at 2 in the morning, oops, because we didn’t want to be far from Monument Valley for our morning adventure. We pulled over onto some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, parked the Jeep, and set up our make-shift bed in the back seat. But first, THE STARS; I have never seen so many in my life – and I finally got to see the Milky Way! I was blown away and honestly wanted to sleep on top of the car even despite it being under 50° out. Hello desert life.
Fast-forward, it’s 6:40 AM (Mountain Standard Time), and Austin is catching a view more zzz’s while I can’t stop staring out into the blackness, where we parked on the side of the road, waiting for the sunrise over the famous Monument Valley road spot! Think where Forrest Gump stops running, for quick reference. It might be pitch-black out, but without any lights around, my eyes focus and I can see the outline of the sandstone buttes that are certainly going to be the highlight of my morning, pre-coffee.
And it was. The road running through the valley was long and elevated, making it easy to see on-coming cars and easy for us to run into the road for pictures of the gorgeous view.
After Monument Valley, we starting making our way to Page, Arizona, about a two-hour drive away. Two things were on my list there: Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend. Well, technically three because that was the first Starbucks since Monument Valley… Upon entering the city of Page, I got coffee and we then headed to Lake Powell, followed by Horseshoe Bend, which was by far our favorite. We weren’t doing anything specific at Lake Powell besides sight-seeing, so we were able to move along from there rather quickly. As much as we wished we were renting kayaks to be out on the water!
At Horseshoe Bend, we were able to walk Louis, our French Bulldog, with us along the trail and he absolutely loved the attention and seeing other dogs as well. It was hot from the lack of shade but we came prepared with water. The view was incredible and scary at the same time, being so close to the edge of quite a high drop. This spot was high up on my list and it certainly didn’t disappoint; I could have sat there all day staring at the view, but just not on the VERY edge.
Our original plan was to head to the Grand Canyon area to go ahead and set up camp for the night, but we took a detour down to Flagstaff to see some Aspen trees – that we ended up not even seeing because we were looking in the wrong area! When we finally reached the south rim of the Grand Canyon, it was dark and somewhat harder to find a camping site but we managed to find the perfect spot ducked away in the woods of the National Forest that surrounds the southern part of the park.
It was a jam-packed and beautiful first day. We learned that Arizona doesn’t participate in Daylight Savings Time, but the Navajo, who’s land stretches over Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, do in fact still practice it, regardless of their land in Arizona. It made it slightly confusing when we were switching back and forth between time zones all of sudden as we made our merry way down from Utah to Arizona.
Highlight of the Day: Monument Valley and Horseshoe Bend