After leaving Vegas, we headed for the Hoover Dam. Its a relatively short drive and an impressive structure. You can also walk across the Memorial Bridge (which lies opposite the dam and is incredibly high up). Looking back at the dam from thw windy, narrow bridge gave me an irrational fear of accidentally flinging my phone or car key over the edge for no reason, which is why this photo isn’t very well framed:
After that we headed towards Utah. The scenery was pretty much gorgeous the entire drive. There was one stretch that reminded us of Mad Max – it was like driving through towering boulders. I wish I had managed to take a photo of it.
The next day we slept in and leisurely made our way to Zion National Park… which we soon realized was a huge mistake. The park was incredibly crowded and it seemed like we’d be destined to spend the day looking for parking. This is when we realized our complete lack of planning wasn’t necessarily going to work with these parks.
I finally managed park the car in some grassy area near a campground. This made The German very uncomfortable as it didn’t appear to be an officially sanctioned spot, but I was determined to get out of the car.
We took a 2 hour hike up to some incredible vistas, so it was worth the stress. These photos don’t at all do it justice:
The next day was Antelope Canyon. To our surpise, its not possible to go without being part of a tour group. We basically got the last 2 spots for the day, which was an 8am check-in time. (We have learned our lesson and will go back to our over-planning ways from here on out.)
Antelope Canyon is other-wordly… absolutely beautiful. Its a bummer you can’t ever be alone in there (seriously, the tour groups are nose-to-tail in there), but the guides do a great job of ushering people through while still making sure you get amazing photos. Its like nothing I’ve ever seen before and still seemed magical despite the crowds.
While we were too early to see the light rays cascading through the canyon, it was slightly less crowded at that hour, so it worked out well.
At the risk of making it a theme, we then went to the Grand Canyon. Despite all the warnings about getting there before 9 to avoid crowds, we had a very easy time entering the park and there were plenty of places to park throughout the vista points. (I do think it helps that we entered on the east side of the south rim.)
We didn’t have time to do extensive hiking, unfortunately, but still had plenty of time for taking photos and wandering around the various vista points. Its just so vast – we spent a lot of time just staring at it in awe.
I highly recommend all three of these parks if you’re in the area – they don’t disappoint!
Next up: family visit in Austin!