My First Time in AZ

Literally Life Changing

I have always wanted to go to Arizona. It seemed like a place I would love. Where the horizon is constantly changing, but on this trip not just the landscape would change. 

Alex's birthday is November 20th, and this year he had something up his sleeve. He decided that we should extend our Thanksgiving holiday and go on a road trip to Georgia for his birthday. At least that's what he told me. He convinced me that he needed practice planning trips so he could plan a trip for my birthday. So, being my naive self, I thought nothing of it. When the day came to leave he said that we needed to leave by 6am, which I thought was just so we could get to our destination at a reasonable time. But, when he made the left turn to go on I95 South, I knew we had to be going to the airport. When we got to the airport, I looked up at the kiosk and read "Las Vegas". I then turned to Alex as he said, "That's just the start." 

As we landed in the city of sin, Alex confessed the next chapter of our adventure. The Hoover Dam. This was only our first stop, but it was a memorable one. We pulled off the main highway and made our way to a parking lot on the side of the canyon. There was a few people but not too many. I think the slight drizzle scared the rest off. Of course being me I had to use the restroom as soon as we got there, thankfully the small tower on the south side of the dam had bathrooms. The reason I mention this is  because I was in awe of the authentic 1930's architecture and that was just my impression from the bathroom. Unfortunately, Alex and I were on a time crunch and didn't have time to explore the historical tours and shops around Hoover Dam. So we settled for Dam selfies and were on our way.

Our road trip continued on. From US Route 93 we made a left turn of onto Pierce Ferry road toward the Grand Canyon. The 52 mile stretch was filled with...dust...and rock and little abandoned towns. And by town I mean like 5 buildings. It really looked like something out of a movie. Just the entire landscape was strange to me. Being a native Floridian didn't prepare me for all the orange. When we arrived at the Hualapai Indian Reservation, we parked the car and headed toward the visitors center. The line inside that place was INSANE. It wrapped around the entire interior of the building. But on the bright-side, I had ample time to do some gift shopping. When we got to the ticket counter I was dumbfound when I saw the prices. $82.37 per person. Le sigh. It did include a Skywalk ticket and freedom to Hop-on hop-off shuttle to Hualapai Ranch, Eagle Point, and Guano Point. We saved the Skywalk for last and headed to Hualapai Ranch first. This was like a remake of an old western town with saloon, store, and other specialty shops.  Wasn't the coolest thing in my opinion but, to each his own. The absolute best part was the Skywalk. Skywalk is a 10-foot-wide, horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that extends 70 feet out over the rim of the Canyon. You can see right through the glass platform 4,000 feet to the floor of the Canyon below. This was terrifying for me. I hate heights. Which is weird because I love to hike up mountains. They made us put all of our belongings in a locker (including phones) before walking out on the bridge. So, you can't take pictures by yourself. You have to purchase pictures from a photographer that stands out on the bridge. I was not concerned with pictures at this point. I was busy trying to calm myself down. I only walked on the frosted glass. Because that would help if the glass broke-(sarcasm). There were people on there that would be face down on the glass and just lay there for like 30 min. And I was over there slowly scooting my way around at a safe speed on the frosted glass. Alex thought this was hilarious. From the Skywalk we spent some more time on the rims edge. The insane thing to me is that there was no "do not cross" line or anything people were dangling their feet off the edge and kids were running around. I mean it was awesome and nerve racking at the same time.

As our day headed to a close we made our way 5 and a half hours North East to Page Arizona. It was a VERY long day. The next morning we woke up to...rain. Of course the one time I go to the desert it rains and it's cold. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Alex had plans, but because of the rain he had to postpone them. So we decide to bebop around Page for the day. First, there was a freaking canyon directly behind our hotel. We literally walked in the parking lot and boom there it was. We didn't see it the night before because, you know, DARK. So, we headed over to investigate. By the canyon was a parking lot right off this little road called "Scenic View road"...DUH. There was NOBODY there. The parking lot was for a small recreational area and outlook. The canyon was Glen Canyon, which came with its own dam and view of the Colorado river.


Well come to find out Horse Shoe Bend was 7 MILES from our hotel. Up the road we went. I guess Horse Shoe Bend is a much bigger deal because there was entire bus' filled with people in the parking lot. Thankfully, it's a canyon, which means there is A LOT of room roam. It is about a 3/4 mile walk out to the edge overlooking Horseshoe Bend. Once you are there its AWESOME. You are so high up and again no ropes or anything. I don't know, maybe because I am from the world of Florida tourist traps and Disney, not having barriers is just wild to me, but also amazing. We watched a few boats go down the river and they were the size of ants. 

Then we were back on the road exploring Page. On the other side of the Glen Canyon Dam was Lake Powell. Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona and is the second largest man-made reservoir. It is a major vacation spot in the summer, unfortunately we were there in November so it was a ghost town. We wandered around Antelope Point Marina and looked at all the closed shops and restaurants that were out on the docks. It was very quiet and peaceful and the water was like a mirror. But, alas nothing really to do. At least in the winter months.


The following day was the day. The day for my big surprise. Antelope Canyon. I have always dreamt about walking through Antelope Canyons curving water carved orange walls. Seriously one of the most magical places in North America. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on Navajo land. It has two separate, scenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as "Upper Antelope Canyon" or "The Crack"; and "Antelope Canyon" or "The Corkscrew". We visited the Corkscrew. The reason we could not visit when it was raining is because the canyon can flood significantly in a matter of minutes. There are a few places to book tours through. We chose to book through Lower Antelope Canyon Tours - Dixie Ellis. Alex still has something up his sleeve. But I remained clueless. Usually, the tour groups were about 20 people deep. Ours, however was at 6 and our tour guide was a member of the Navajo tribe. From the visitors center we walked out into the desert until we came to the stairs that lead us down in to the canyon. NOTHING CAN DESCRIBE HOW AMAZING THE CANYON WAS. So here are some pics.


Also you can take a pano pic and have 1 person run from one side to the other and have 2 of the same person in the picture. HEY-OH.


Everything was going smoothly apart from some Asian tourist with his IPad holding up the flow of the tour. (He was almost kicked out but I don't think he knew that cause he didn't speak English) Then all of the sudden this...


Didn't see that coming.


Like I said in the beginning, not just the landscape would change. Antelope Canyon was a magical place for this pivotal moment in my life to happen. The entire thing was surreal. And I couldn't tell you what Alex said because of my severe tunnel vision and extreme case of the wah wah's. (definition: When you literally can't hear anything but your heart beating - making the wah wah wah sound.)


NOW LETS CELEBRATE IN VEGAS!!!!!

BTW - I said yes.  ;)



Below is a video of our experience.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Kristian Champagne

I am a Florida native, born, raised and educated. My life has always been rooted at the beach, but my heart is in the valley of a mountain. I have a fondness for traveling off the beaten path and seeking the hidden tr...