My girlfriend (Elena) and I got time off for a week long road trip for her birthday, like we have done for the past two years. We both work full time jobs so planning where we were going as well as research of the areas was very limited. So limited in fact we literally had no idea where we were going until the night before we left. This trip was focused on new areas, places we have never been.
We decided to head straight to Monument Valley for day #1. We were told there was no campsites left in the area but when we arrived we decided to check anyway and got an awesome tent spot with a view of Monument Valley with only one spot to spare. We watched sunset as light bursted through a break in the clouds that lit up the iconic monument then was gone after two minutes. As night came the clouds cleared and the stars came out. The milky way was visible with the naked eye panning right over the huge red cliffs. We awoke at 5:20 to watch sunrise. The moon was out, shining bright in the middle of the two mittens. The sun hit as we were in awe of this beautiful area! The huge landscape was really shown at sunrise, watching the land go as far as the eye can see.
We hit the road for Sedona, Arizona. Another unseen area for us. Our plan was to hike out and camp but our plan was soon to fail. Construction up in the forest roads with dynamite blasting all night also tractor noises made us yearn away from that and resign in a beautiful canyon (Oak Creek Canyon). Some downsides were you had to pay, you were near other tent campers & the smell of campfire was a little overwhelming. We made the best of it, we found some killer swimming holes (that we took advantage of) also some awesome hikes down in the forest. For two full days we swam, hiked and lounged. In the city temps were 98F but in the canyon it was about 76F, we ventured in the canyons to hike but also went out past the city for some killer swimming holes.
We drove a long stretch to Prarie Canyon near Page, AZ just to be told by a ranger that this was not the area we thought it was, on top of that, you need a permit for the area which takes weeks or months to get your hands on. The lack of research was really getting to us. We made the best of the situation. In 101F temps we booked it down for the Colorado River. The river was a numbing 30 degrees! We used some biodegradable soap to wash up then soon left toward BLM land to camp out. After another 2 hours of driving we pulled off highway 89 and found a killer camping spot! Totally surrounded by red and white rock formations. After setting up camp I grabbed my camera and tripod to get some night shots. I was only getting set up when I heard a death defying scream! My heart dropped, I booked it for the tent. Elena was freaking out! From what words I could understand there was a spider. When I actually saw the spider I was like “HOLY SHIT” this spider is huge! I grabbed her shoe and squished it against the mesh wall, it wasn’t dying! I was putting so much pressure and moving the shoe in a twisting motion that any other spider would’ve died instantly but this thing was a beast. Finally after a few minutes of intense emotion, it splattered. We checked everything very thoroughly after this happened before hoping in our sleeping bags. This night wasn’t the best night of sleep, one reason was the thought of another spider in the tent also the heat and wind made sand blow into the tent and stick to our sweaty bodies.
We packed up in the morning after a little adventuring. We were headed for Lake Powell until we seen some toadstools on the distance from off of the highway. We turned around, parked, grabbed our water and headed out on a trail. Hiking in the blistering sun we finally made to see these 50ft tall rock formations! We wandered around then headed back to the air conditioned car. Finally arriving at Lake Powell some cloud covered gave us relief from the sun, so we grabbed our boards to skate the local park. Sunset was coming so we drove to Horseshoe Bend. One of the craziest places I have seen to this day! Hundreds of feet down to the Colorado River that shaped a bend around huge red cliff. Sunset came, light hitting the huge cliffs, clouds reflecting off of the river. Everything was beautiful. Seeing sunset made us forget about the hundreds of other people watching sunset there as well.
The next morning we took a trip into Antelope Canyon! Light reflecting off the walls made colors I could only dream of. We walked at the bottom of the canyon until we popped right back out. Lake Powell bound! Swimming, beer and good music for the last three days of the trip.