One of the places I was looking most forward to on this trip was Antelope Canyon. When sunlight fills this narrow sandstone canyon it turns outlandish shades of red, yellow and purple. The banded walls turn and twist to create a surrealistic landscape of dreams. Unfortunately, the only thing that filled this canyon today was water, as it was raining all night. Antelope Canyon was closed. To add insult to injury, the weather forecast called for at least one more day of similar rainy and overcast weather. We had no choice but to head out towards Moab.
We were not sure what to do; a few options remained. One was to spend the day locally and try our luck with Antelope Canyon the following day. Another was not to play chance with the weather and continue on with our trip. This is what we did.
Along the cloudy drive we stopped into Glenn Canyon Park and saw some precariously balancing rocks. We watched as people boarded gargantuan rafts for a multi day trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and started new dreams for new trips in the future.
A few people told us to make a stop at the Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River. Since it was along the way, why not? We did not have many expectations. We parked our car and made our way over the short dune. As we approached the rocky precipice the world opened up in front of us. The horseshoe bend is a magnificent view where the Colorado turns right upon itself. You stand on a huge cliff of layered rock, which looks just like flaky croissant dough. You stare into the blue of the river enveloped by the green of the grass below entombed in the warm hues of the colorful rocks. The world stops, you forget about the lousy weather, and enjoy on of the best natural panoramas of your lifetime.
After the stunning vista we headed into Page, AZ for the only thing which could equal the spectacle which we just witnessed, namely, lunch at a Chinese buffet. Our stuffed bellies then continued on driving through Navajo country.
Before the trip, Michal and Magda J. told us to take a scenic side trip through Navajo country to Shonto. They said the road was unpaved but a must-do when passing through here. Together with our trusty Chevy Malibu we made the turnoff and climbed the hill. Before us some 10 miles of rust red dirt road with absolutely nothing else to be seen. The rains made the mud sticky and formed occasional streams which we had to cross at considerable speed in order not to get stuck. If Chevy ever wanted to market the Malibu as an off-road vehicle, they should have filmed us passing through. We had some slick points, but ultimately made it through to the Navajo National Monument. A short hike later we were looking at an abandoned Hopi village in a huge alcove of a mountainside.
It was paved roads from here on to Monument Valley. Nature seemed to have noticed our previous trials and tribulations and rewarded us with a somewhat clear sky and colorful sunset as we gawked and marveled at the giant stone formations of Monument Valley. The evening was spent in an uneventful drive to Moab. Unfortunately we missed one of the most scenic drives since it was dark–the more reason to return.