Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Road Trip North - Day 3. Page to Monticello via Antelope Canyon

Today it was cold. Icy cold.  For a change the price of the room came with breakfast so we both had waffles of questionable quality, they didn't exactly set us up for the day. We were awake early as usual but didn't make it out of the motel until after 8am, once we had de-iced the iced up car locks, that is. The first stop of the day was Horseshoe Bend, just a few miles out from the motel. It's early and freezing but was already a number of cars parked when we turned off the highway. It was a short walk up and over a hill and then a long path down to the edge of the canyon. As we get closer, an older man advises us that the view we are about to see is spectacular, and he wasn’t wrong. The sun is still low enough in the sky that most of the canyon is in shade but that doesn't lessen the impact of the scene. The river below meanders around a huge sandstone stack, it really is a magnificent view. There are no barriers at the edge of the canyon as we peer over the side down to the green water flowing so far below.

After the shockingly cold start to they day we made a quick pit stop at Walmart back in Page, Michael purchased some gloves and I get gloves and a scarf. It is also at this point that Michael realised that the new windscreen wipers that he installed yesterday still have the bright yellow plastic protective covers on them, no wonder they weren't getting the windscreen quite as clean as we had hoped. After much ridiculing from me, we were on our way to Antelope Canyon. The only way to see these slot canyons is via a guided tour and so we paid the fee and waited for our guide, thankful that the temperature is rising with the sun, not that we could feel the sun once we were underground. The canyons are much deeper than I imagined, but no less spectacular. And of course I spend far too much time snapping away at them with my phone rather than appreciating what is in front of my eyes. The guide explains how the canyons were formed and how there is a risk of flash floods, hard to imagine what that would be like when everything is now so dry. Thankful again that we are visiting in winter as the visitor numbers, though vastly reduced, are still too many.

Back to the car and we were heading north again. We were hoping to make it to Moab, but don't want to push our luck and decided that Monticello is probably a more realistic destination. A car picnic somewhere around Kaibito, then onto Monument Valley. When we passed through here 3 years ago, I thought it was a once in a lifetime visit but we can't resist the opportunity to stop again and marvel at the unique landscape.

Then it was just over an hour more to drive, with snow capped mountains in view in the distance, to get to Monticello for the night. No cell phone reception means that Google cannot help us find the cheapest bed in town, so we settle for a motel that advertises themselves as such, we will just have to take their word for it. The receptionist warns that a storm is on its way and temperatures of -11 are expected that night, we quickly connected to the wifi and check the forecast. Cold but sunny is all we can find so we reassured ourselves that we weren’t going to get snowed into Monticello. We crank up the heating in our room and grab a quick meal at the only restaurant in town. I am still waiting for my toes to defrost.