The next stage of my American road trip began with reluctantly packing up my tent from the Valley of Fire. The problem with booking ahead of time is that you never really know how much you will enjoy something and want to stay. I had hedged my bets and took only a night in the Valley of Fire but would have been happy to stay an extra night.
However, I had planned to go out to photograph at White Pocket the next night . It’s a fantastic location for both day and night shooting.
Next stop was Wahweap campground in Lake Powell. I loved it here., American national park campsites have thought through camping really well. Each tent or RV spot is assigned a car parking space, area to pitch a tent, a bench, fire pit and grill. I admit to quite liking the wifi, hot showers and close proximity to food and petrol at Wahweap for the night as well.
I camped here primarily because it was close to Lower Antelope Canyon which I really wanted to see. You aren’t allowed to access the canyon independently so I booked on a tour with Kens Tours. A tip here is to pay the extra and take the photo tour and also if you can, go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. I had read so much about how crowded the place was and was really concerned but honestly the canyon is so overwhelmingly beautiful, it really doesn’t matter. The photo tour gets priority and allows to you stop and take your time. I overheard someone whilst in there saying “its the best $20 entrance fee I’ve ever paid”. I’m inclined to agree.
I managed a quick stop at Horseshoe Bend along the road home and was just amazed by the sheer drop and sight before me as I reached the edge. Luckily, I don’t ming heights at all!
Then on to Monument Valley which I was excited about because the photos online show camping right within the landscape itself, facing the Mitten Buttes. I didn’t quite believe it till I saw it myself. I managed to pitch my tent with no one in front of me which was wonderful. If only the weather had also been wonderful, I would have stayed longer. The Valley of Fire was the hottest I have felt in a long while and Monument Valley was much more reminiscent of Scotland. Out came the winter coat, waterproofs and everything became tricky. Taking photos pretty much impossible and the forecast was no better. So I packed up after one night and headed onwards.
I hadn’t originally planned on going to the Grand Canyon as I had imagined it being just really busy. But, when I was in Antelope Canyon, I met a lady who had just come from there. Her words “ it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen” didn’t leave me. So I took a chance and drove out there early and arrived at 7am. Not a sole to be seen and I was confronted with a scene that is so hard to put into words. Cloud were just lifting from the rains the night before and revealing the sunrise lighting up the canyon. It was just breathtaking.
The sun rises pretty quick and light becomes fairly harsh so I turned my thoughts to seeing if there might be a camping spot free right in the centre of the grand canyon. I had heard there was very little chance as they fill up quick. However, once again being early reaps its rewards and at 8.30am I had my choice of places to camp. I pitched my tent at the Desert view campsite in the South Rim.
So that leads me onto my next stop which was the reason for the whole trip. A 3 day time-lapse photography course with Ron Risman and Sean Parker in Kanab, which will be the last in the series of American road trip blog posts.
Hi there! Loved reading your post and seeing your stops in AZ. I live here and Monument Valley is the only place I haven’t seen that I want to see. The view from your tent is beautiful!! If you don’t mind me asking, were you at a campground or did you pitch a tent?? 🙂 Would love to get that same experience/view. Thanks!
Hi Kirsten, Such an amazing place! The weather wasn’t great when I was there or I would have stayed in that spot for days! It is the Monument valley campsite which you can book in advance. The tent spots are numbered and if you get one of the ones at the very edge of the site you get an uninterrupted view. Most spots though are fabulous anyway. There’s washrooms and even wifi! Hope you get to visit – highly recommended.