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Arizona and Utah 2012

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 Martres 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 :(
Favorites
:: Favorites ::
Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments
:: Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments ::
Grand Canyon
:: Grand Canyon ::
Coal Mine Canyon
:: Coal Mine Canyon ::
Water Holes Slot Canyon
:: Water Holes Slot Canyon ::
Coyote Buttes South
:: Coyote Buttes South ::
Stud Horse Point and Thousand Pockets
:: Stud Horse Point and Thousand Pockets ::
Alstrom Point and Nipple Bench
:: Alstrom Point and Nipple Bench ::
Toadstools
:: Toadstools ::
Wahweap Hoodoos
:: Wahweap Hoodoos ::
Buckskin Gulch
:: Buckskin Gulch ::
Bryce Canyon
:: Bryce Canyon ::
Yellow Rock
:: Yellow Rock ::
Lower Antelope Canyon
:: Lower Antelope Canyon ::
Miscellaneous - Marble Canyon, Lone Rock Beach, Wahweap Overlook, Glen Canyon Dam, Horseshoe Bend
:: Miscellaneous - Marble Canyon, Lone Rock Beach, Wahweap Overlook, Glen Canyon Dam, Horseshoe Bend ::