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  1. #1

    A fantastic two weeks in AZ and UT!

    My husband did a great job planning our vacation in March and Bogley was useful in his research (thanks!), so thought I'd post a trip report. We packed a lot in on our trip and saw such a variety of things - it's kind of hard to summarize everything we did succinctly. So I'm just going to include the info from our webpage where all our pictures are posted ( AZ/UT 2012) and add a few of my favorite pictures (so difficult to choose!). Thanks for looking!

    In March 2012, Steve, Norah, and I returned to the southwest for another fantastic trip through the canyons and rocks of northern Arizona and southern Utah. Our first major stop was a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon - a repeat of the trip Steve and I first hiked about ten years ago. It was just as beautiful the second time around and a lot of fun to hike with Norah. From there we moved on to Page, AZ; located near the AZ/UT border by the scenic Lake Powell. We had visited this area six years ago and while we returned to Buckskin Gulch, everything else we did was a new experience for all of us. We particularly loved Coyote Buttes South and Yellow Rock. Such a dazzling array of colors and rock formations! To round out our vacation we made a short side trip to Bryce Canyon, where the star gazing was just as amazing as the orange hoodoos.

    Some logistics: For planning and information we relied heavily upon the Michael Kelsey guidebooks and Laurent Marteres photography books, as well as research on the internet (trip reports and forums, including the useful http://www.bogley.com/ and http://www.tripadvisor.com/ ). For our back road adventures around Page we rented a 4WD Jeep from Rick at Canyon Country Adventures). He was great to work with and we continued his streak of never having a jeep get stuck (yay for us!). We were a little like gypsies on this trip and were on the move most of the time. We used a mix of backpacking, car camping, and motels. We especially loved camping at Alstrom Point (thanks to Rick’s jeep!) and Lone Rock Beach outside of Page in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

    A few shout outs: the ranger talk by Ranger Kevin Poe at Bryce Canyon was excellent and we had some great meals at the Cliff Dweller’s Lodge (Lee’s Ferry), Fiesta Mexicana, Ranch House Grille, and Big John’s Texas BBQ (all in Page). Unfortunately, I didn't catch his name, but there was a fellow at the Page Visitor's Center that was a great source of information and help.

    We had permits for backpacking in the Grand Canyon and South Coyote Buttes and a set day to pick up our jeep rental, but otherwise our itinerary was constantly in flux depending on the road conditions and what we felt like doing. This was our final itinerary:

    Day 0: arrive Phoenix, pick up rental car from Enterprise (they were great) and overnight Residence Inn (thank you Priceline)
    Day 1: visit to Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments on our way to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, we entered through the eastern entrance to visit one of our favorite spots - Desert View, overnight Yavapai Lodge
    Day 2: commencement of our three night backpacking trip in the canyon, we hiked down the South Kaibab trail and camped at Bright Angel campground, Norah hiked most of the way on her own (oh, to have young knees!)
    Day 3: extra night at Bright Angel campground, Steve did a 20-22 mile run up the North Kaibab trail while Norah and I lounged around and wrote postcards, we spent the afternoon on the beach, Norah earned her Junior Ranger Badge, and we had a very satisfying steak dinner at Phantom Ranch
    Day 4: hike up the Bright Angel trail to Indian Garden and out to Plateau Point, overnight Indian Garden campground
    Day 5: hike out to the rim in snow showers, stop at Coal Mine Canyon on our way to the Page area, overnight Cliff Dweller’s Lodge near Lee’s Ferry
    Day 6: a quick visit to Balanced Rock and Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon, pick up rental jeep from Canyon Country Adventures, take care of some camera issues (don’t ask), short hike in Waterholes Canyon, and drive to Coyote Buttes South; camping at Cottonwood teepees
    Day 7: exploring the other worldly Coyote Buttes South, camping at Lone Rock Beach (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area)
    Day 8: visits to Stud Horse Point and Thousand Pockets (the “brain rocks” that were like a rock playground), drive to Alstrom Point with stops along Nipple Bench, camping at Alstrom point, admiring the beautiful stars and moonrise
    Day 9: short hike at the Toadstools (aka the Rimrocks) before returning the jeep, lazy afternoon at playground and a tour of Glen Canyon Dam, camping at Lone Rock Beach
    Day 10: Wahweap Hoodoos, overnight Red Rock Motel (price was right!)
    Day 11: hiking in Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch, drive to Bryce Canyon, sunset and excellent ranger talk and star gazing, overnight Ruby’s Inn
    Day 12: sunrise and hiking at Bryce Canyon, Jr. Ranger Program for Norah (and a meltdown over popcorn), overnight Ruby’s Inn
    Day 13: drive back to Page via Kanab (original plans were Cottonwood Canyon road but it was closed about half way), hiked Yellow Rock, camping at Lone Rock Beach
    Day 14: visit to Lower Antelope Canyon, drive to Sedona via Oak Creek Canyon with a stop in Cameron for souvenir shopping, overnight Sedona Motel (repeat visit, very friendly and good price)
    Day 15: took the scenic route back to Phoenix, stopped at Tuzigoot National Monument, Jerome State Park, and Prescott, overnight Residence Inn
    Day 16: return home :(

    Sunrise over Lake Powell from Alstrom Point:



    Our campsite by full moon at Alstrom Point:



    Lower Antelope Canyon:



    Steve and Norah in Buckskin Gulch:



    The Tower of Silence at Wahweap Hoodoos:



    Striated slickrock at Yellow Rock:



    Norah at Yellow Rock:



    Sunrise at Bryce Canyon:



    And finally, a family shot in Buckskin Gulch:


  2. Likes Tango, Sombeech, zzyzx liked this post
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  4. #2
    Headed South Sandstone Addiction's Avatar
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    Wow! These are some amazing photos! I absolutely love the one from Alstrom Point.

    Looks like you had a great vacation.

    Did you have Lone Rock Beach all to yourselves?

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  6. #4
    Bogley Badass accadacca's Avatar
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    Epic photos and write up too. Rock on.
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  7. #5
    Mountain Man zzyzx's Avatar
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    Fantastic vacation at wonderful places w/ stunning pictures.
    THX for sharing.

  8. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstone Addiction View Post
    Did you have Lone Rock Beach all to yourselves?
    Hi, we camped at Lone Rock 3 time on the trip, and there were somewhere between 2 and 4 parties on the beach each night. Given the size of the place it was pretty much all to ourselves.

  9. #7
    Thanks everybody. Wish we lived closer so this wasn't a once a year type of thing! Love the southwest.

  10. #8
    Bogley BigShot Win's Avatar
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    Looks like you had a great trip, thanks for the excellent TR. Photos are terrific.
    Quoting my best friend, Bob McNally, after a bad boating trip: "Nature scares me!"

    Utah photos: www.winpics.fototime.com

  11. #9
    Brewha Brewha's Avatar
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    Amazing!

  12. #10
    Passionately curious Tango's Avatar
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    Nice TR. Thanks for sharing!
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

  13. #11
    Adventurer Slot Machine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstone Addiction View Post
    Wow! These are some amazing photos! I absolutely love the one from Alstrom Point.
    x 2! Looks like a great trip! Thanks for sharing!

  14. #12
    . Shan's Avatar
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    What beautiful photos! You guys are so organized with your trips!! I love the moon light photo.

  15. #13
    Outdoorsman peakbaggers's Avatar
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    In the Antelope Canyon photo with the beam of light coming through the hole, can you check your camera metadata & see what time you took that? Some of those opportunities only last a few minutes.
    Very nice photos - especially the sunrise one. You definitely hit some of the best high spots for that area.
    "Beaten paths are for beaten men."

  16. #14
    Great trip for kid travel, you covered a lot of ground, great spots and shots!

  17. #15
    Thanks again everybody!

    In the Antelope Canyon photo with the beam of light coming through the hole, can you check your camera metadata & see what time you took that? Some of those opportunities only last a few minutes.
    Very nice photos - especially the sunrise one. You definitely hit some of the best high spots for that area
    Unfortunately, there is a problem with my time stamp. I have no idea why - the time is correct on the camera, but it's not right on the files. We were there on March 16th roughly between 10 and noon. My best estimate for the time of these pictures is around 10:45 am. Sorry I don't have an exact time!

  18. #16
    Outdoorsman peakbaggers's Avatar
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    Thanks for checking on the time. I bet there's not too many days in a year in which the sun shines right through that hole. That's a very fortunate shot & timing, to have not deliberately planned it out.
    "Beaten paths are for beaten men."

  19. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbaggers View Post
    Thanks for checking on the time. I bet there's not too many days in a year in which the sun shines right through that hole. That's a very fortunate shot & timing, to have not deliberately planned it out.
    Yes, we totally got lucky! I didn't do any research really for Antelope Canyon. I knew the typical sunbeam shot is in upper more towards summer. I wasn't expecting any sunbeam shots at all in Lower - so was definitely pleasantly surprised.

  20. #18
    Rookie JFstego's Avatar
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    You've got some great shots! Good light at the Wahweap Hoodoos. And a nice beam in the Lower Antelope Canyon.

    Looks like I have to put the Yellow Rock on my list ... :)

    Jessica

  21. #19
    four-oh-four tanya's Avatar
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    Magnificent stuff!
    By Bo Beck and Tanya Milligan:
    Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/1892540827/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

    To get it signed, get it from the link above.
    If you like the book, please give us a kind review on Amazon
    and REI and anywhere else this book is sold.

    Zion National Park on the web.

  22. #20
    Wow, this was an awesomely thorough post. I was considering a trip to Buckskin Gulch this spring to camp with some friends, and after reading this post I am totally convinced. Planning my trip now. Do you have any suggestions on epic secret spots or any other suggestions for that area? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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