Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend

Our final stops in Arizona were to be Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell, however the real priority for the day was our first stop at Wal-Mart to find something to wear for our 80’s Cowboy party at the ranch later. Everyone really went for it, finding an item in neon wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be, you amazing place Wal-Mart. We also needed to buy some white shirts for us to all sign on our last night, luckily we had time to browse on this shopping trip as the leaders were off purchasing the prizes and they took longer than we did!

We headed off to the meeting point of our guided tour of Antelope Canyon. We had to get out of our van to then board theirs, but before all of that we gathered in the parking lot/garage to watch a champion hoop dancer. He really could move and make shapes with these hoops. I think he had five on the go at one point, pretty impressive.

The drive in reminded me of being back on our tour of Monument Valley as again we were in a jeep being thrown about, as sand is not the most forgiving surface. It was fun though and only a short drive in. Unfortunately we had come at the busiest time of day so walking through the Canyon was tight as there were a lot of other tour groups.   Our tour guide was a small intimidating woman called Irene; she changed all the settings on our phones and camera’s without much warning so we would get the best pictures walking through. It got really tight at some junctions and she tried her best to show us all the good spot for photos but try as I might I couldn’t make out anything she was saying the rocks looked like. They were just amazing coloured structures to me, but I kept nodding all the same. We continued walking until we came out at the end, but it was just a wider more open space where people naturally could turn back, as it was so busy walking back through was a quicker affair, as they didn’t want us taking photos now. It was a great tour and I can see why it is one of the most photographed places in the world, I’d never and most likely will never see anything like it again.

It was almost uncomfortably hot now in the sun, I had worn my cowboy hat luckily so it wasn’t so bad for me waiting to board the jeep back. This was not the end of our day and it was a shame that on arriving back Irene changed from being funny to being a bit rude wanting her tip right away and almost tutting at what some of us gave her.

Boarding the van was bliss in the air con, but the relief didn’t last long as we had to get out at another parking lot as we were told that we were hiking up to horseshoe bend now. Not all of us were happy as we hadn’t had lunch or a way to top up our waters and it was the hottest time of day so surely walking now wasn’t advisable. Our concerns went unanswered as we were told to hike now or never, so off we went.

It was a short walk but it was all uphill on mostly sand so not the easiest. Getting to it we admitted that it was a naturally cool spot but being in the direct sun was getting to a few of us, it was the shortest amount of time I’d spent at an attraction on this trip but in desperate need of a drink so I looked at it, talked to the others about it, heard how it was formed, snapped a photo and started to walk back to the little shaded hut half way back up the path with half of the group.

Today luck was not on our side, as our two trips had taken most of the day we were told by Shaun as we drove over Lake Powell that we would not be stopping to see it. This wasn’t the most tactful way he could have told us this and we did not take it in stride that for sure. It was a bit of a blow as we had been looking forward to getting in the lake to cool down after the long morning. Driving over it and seeing it out of the window was all we were going to get before getting to the ranch and setting up camp for the night.

We didn’t let it drag us down for too long though as there was steak on offer for those that had opted to be fed at the ranch and a huge load of spaghetti for those of us that had not. Spaghetti was the safest option it seemed because we would be drinking a copious amount later on.

Everyone looked so good, we really had pulled out all the stops for this night and the theme, even though it was a bit of a last minute mash up really worked for us.

Awards night was side achingly good, we didn’t stop laughing, Shaun and Christine had taken a little liberty in changing our categories but it worked. They had gone with what we had written down but they had fairly made sure that everyone won a category and had a prize to match. My prize for winning the drama queen category was to pie Christine in the face for payback, I told you I was never going to live that burst of anger down. I didn’t really want to pie her as I had forgiven her and actually got on with her well now, she persuaded me to go for it as did the group chanting and it was a tad satisfying.

Christine and Shaun ended the awards with a touching speech and basically let the drinking begin! Bree was DJ for the night, she was putting on all the jams and there was a lot of bad dancing and drinking before another trek group turned up and joined in with our fun. It now gets a little fuzzy for me, as I’m sure I danced the night away with the others, and at I remember running around the ranch or camp with Lindsey and Coley laughing our heads off but somehow made it back to the tent at some point as I woke up half in it and half out of it. I must have been too hot or wanted to see the stars as I fell asleep. I won’t name the others that were a lot worse off than I was or what they did. However not selecting to do the horse riding meant I got to lie in and sleep a little bit of my hangover off, not all of us had this luxury and I don’t know how half of the group managed to get up, let a lone ride a horse for an hour.

Unfortunately the horse riding ran over and those of us who had the luxury of sleeping in had to pack down the entire camp site and load both vans so that when the group who was horse riding came back we could set off.

All in all it was an amazing night, here are some of the safer pictures to view:

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