Photography

USA road trip, day 10, it sure is Grand!

USA road trip, day 10, it sure is Grand!

The first thing we had to do this morning was make a choice. Did we go for the 4×4 tour around Monument Valley or the Antelope Canyon tour? I think we went with the Canyon just because it took us in the direction of where we were heading first, Glen Canyon Dam. Think it turned out to be the right choice anyway. As we headed for Page we were taken by the satnav along a scenic route 98 that gave us a fortunate view of the sacred 10, 387 foot Navajo Mountain. We didn’t know exactly where to go to catch the tour so just as we were approaching Antelope Canyon we took the first sign we saw. We parked up to find we’d just missed a tour and it was about an hour for the next one. We couldn’t wait so headed for the Dam. As if by magic, another tour sign appeared so we took that turn, parked up and found the next tour was just about to leave. We’d had a touch. It wasn’t cheap but it was well worth the money. Our guide let me take the tripod so I could get some decent shots, just had to give him a back hander after the tour. Having a tripod supposedly made you a ‘professional’ and therefore pay more. Looks can be deceiving 🙂 Anyway, the extra given really was money well spent. Lovely tour guide and his camera tips were very helpful considering how little time I had to experiment with exposures etc. We all came away very happy from there. Next, we were off to the Glen Canyon Dam. This is the lesser known water stopper in the region, way less busy than it’s very slighly taller brother The Hoover Dam, at 710 feet it’s only 16 feet shorter. An impressive sight none the less. Then it was off for a quick nibble before heading to the next iconic sight, Horseshoe Bend, which I’ve used as the cover photo for this post. It was a short hike from the car park but it was hot and the first half was a steep uphill climb on sand and then a gentle slope down to the rim. Well worth the effort to see that natural wonder, not sure Greg thought so though. From rim to the river below is 1,000 feet, you had to have a head for heights. I do and I don’t, just got on with it though, making sure I took my time and looked where I was stepping. No safety rails there like you would have here, as it should be in my opinion. Back to the car, it was time to go see the Big One, the Grand Canyon! We had a fair way to go but we timed it so we’d get to the first view point about 1 hour before sunset and then stop at various points along Desert View Drive to take in the views as the sun was going down. The first stop was the aptly named Desert View and Watchtower. You could climb the 85 steps of the tower to find incredible 360° views of the Canyon, an amazing introduction to this most special place. Next stop was Navajo Point followed swiftly by Lipan Point and Moran Point. It was almost too much to take in in such a short space of time. Not just the Canyon, the whole trip was sensory overload. The next hop was to Grandview Point where we took in the sunset proper. A lot of fellow snappers were there trying to get the same shot. I’d bagged a decent spot but had to defend it. A couple of bods tried to share my patch but I wasn’t giving up my pitch to anyone, not a chance. I came away from there with a big grin on my face, what an awesome sight. We then headed for the hotel we’d booked in Grand Canyon Village, Thunderbird Lodge, perched on the edge of the south rim. After missing our turn and doing another loop we arrived, checked in, dumped our bags and headed for cocktails and dinner at the El Tovar Dining Room & Lounge. We were in need of some R & R, what better place than Vegas!

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