After a night spent in Page, we drove bright and early to Antelope Canyon, ready for a day full of adventures! We arrived at the Upper Canyon only to find out that it cost $8 for the park entrance but then we had to pay another $40 per person for a guided tour. Our faces clearly read “WTF?!” as the woman in the booth told us that. It turned out you can’t go to Antelope Canyon without going with a guide, end of story. So much for travelling cheaply…
Hoping to find better prices, we headed to the Lower Canyon and opted for Ken’s tour – $28 per person (including park entry) – hoping it was really worth it.
Fortunately, it was more than worth it and is officially one of the coolest things we’ve done on our trip! What is really amazing is that the surface is completely flat and you can’t see anything until you spot steep ladders going underground. We went down in a small group to find ourselves 5 meters deep into the canyon. Unlike other canyons, this one is a tunnel of perfect waves of sand offering an incredible display of red, brown and beige colours, with beams of light passing through at times. It is created by water and then moulded into a smooth and dizzying zigzag of curves and narrow passages by the force of the wind. It honestly made us feel as if we’d entered another dimension.
As we visited the canyon, we got to chat with our super friendly guide and learn more about it and why it is only accessible via guided tours. It turns out the entire canyon is maintained by the people who organize the tours: they set up the ladders, clean up the water when it floods and add sand to create the path for people to walk on at the bottom. Otherwise there would only be a breach (faille check) and you would be walking with a foot on each side.
After yet another night on a Walmart parking lot (hey, it’s free!) we made it to Zion National Park on a Saturday morning. It was probably not the best idea to do it on a weekend, but something had to fall on a weekend at some point.
Based on friends’s advice we decided to take the Angel’s Landing hike to the summit of the canyon. Classified as a strenuous hike guys! It was really cool, with lots of steep and narrow ways up top, bringing quite the aerial experience! There were chains to hold on to and steep cliffs right by us. It was quite exhausting and painfully reminded us that we’re not on the best diet for exercise… But reaching a breathtaking 360 view at the top made it absolutely worth it! I even managed to hurt myself, “falling like a baby goat trying to walk for the first time” according to Steph.
All in all, we had no idea why to expect and were offered a truly scenic 4 hour hike that was absolutely amazing and truly deserved its name: Angel’s Landing. If you’re in the area, this is where you want to go. Except if you’re afraid of heights, we did see some people crawling on the floor at the beginning – don’t think it they made it too far!
Driving down the Californian Coast while searching for hidden surf spots can bring a few unique surprises. One of them was the appearance of a magnificent elk as we reached Stone Lagoon. In a magical and fairytale inspiring landscape, the animal and his herd made their way towards the lagoon, passing right in front of the car. We quietly watched them up close completely amazed as the elk observed us in return, protecting his own. We knew we absolutely loved the majestic appeal of the animal, especially at a time where elk and deer designs and patterns are so popular, but seeing one up close was a revelation! Some tattoo ideas reaching the surface? Only time will tell.
Welcome to California! We would have loved to post an awesome “Welcome to California” sign picture from the road, but someone had STOLEN it. Yes, stolen the actual sign off the road. Can you just picture it in someone’s backyard or something?
Anyhow, although there was no sign, we entered California which was always the prime destination and reason for us to take this road trip in the first place. We arrived on the coast, once again, right by the ocean to enter the Redwood National Park. The California Redwood are the tallest trees on Earth. 133,000 acres of these gigantic trunks make for a rather impressive forest.
And well, tourists like us just couldn’t resist going for the drive-thru tree. Pilot Steph managed to drive the car right in the middle, making us and our car feel rather small!
The tree below is called “Big Tree” – oh how convenient. It measures 75m and is 1000 years. Guess we’re just a drop in the ocean.
It was time again to leave the coast to do the Crater Lake loop. After a quick night stop in Roseburg and a free coffee from McDonald’s, we were on our way to the mountains and rivers on the road to Crater Lake. After a drive through the forest and along the Umpqua River, we found ourselves at the Toketee Falls. A small trail brought us to the viewpoint to admire the two tiered waterfall: 40ft into the first bowl than 80ft down to the river. As we were chatting, a twenty-something boy asked “Do you guys speak English?” and our positive answer was well worth it. He told us about a “hidden” trail that enables you to go all the way down to the river for a way more majestic view of the waterfall. You had to go over the fence (rebels!) and through a few steep rocks but he sure was right, let the images speak for themselves: