Heads up: This journey is a road trip. Car is required.
It was family holiday time, and we had gone to the USA for my daughter’s post grad ceremony. A proud moment indeed!!
The son suggested an offbeat, not oft visited place in Arizona. The ANTELOPE CANYONS. Well at least most of us did not know about this place. It’s also a canyon, but for some odd reason the Grand Canyon became a tourist attraction, and this beautiful naturally occurring, ever changing rock formation and catacomb like structure remains popular but far less appreciated than it should be.
We first went to Scottsdale. A cute, well to do town in Arizona. It looked like a beloved and well loved town by its denizens, because every street corner, some street walls were beautifully and thoughtfully decorated. It boasted of a beautiful canal, some outstanding restaurant and cuisine choices and a high street which seems to come straight from a Enid Blyton book where things are cute, charming and cheruby!
We stayed only a day, on way to Sedona. The W hotel is a nice place to stay, with it’s own very popular and fancy after dinner bar.
Next morning we headed to Sedona, a 4 hour drive. We arrived late – a warning if you want to go there. It’s a small town, and all food places (again a huge variety) close max by 9 pm. More on that soon–
We stayed in Log Cabin type accommodation. Extremely extremely cute, with it’s own fire place, huge bedrooms and great bathrooms.
I will not mention the name because the service was pathetic. No breakfast, rude housekeepers and no regular housekeeping!
But where ever you stay in Sedona, you need to be stuffing your face by 8.30 pm latest! Or then you can cook! The Cabins had a completely done up kitchen.
We reached the arid, almost deserted looking Antelope Canyon. The highlight of Sedona. This is a Native American reservation, which means only Native Americans can live and work there. It’s considered sacred land, and stretches till you cannot see any further!
Only Native American owned tours can take you there and I cannot stress enough the seriousness of booking way way in advance. We did not know this, but the kids did a hunt and we were able to secure a tour. Last minute or depending on the concierge of your hotel can burn a hole in your pant, of a kind that you will look like you dont own a pant anymore!
We booked through :
Dixie Ellis’ Antelope Lower Canyon Tours (928) 640-1761
The tours are every few minutes. If you can – ask for Vernon’s tour timings. Of all the guides in al the places we ever needed one- he was the best and most gracious and helpful. PS: Him being a photography aficionado you will manage stunning pics.
The canyon is below ground. The rocks you see are quite young and every monsoons they get a barrage of water falling through and sometimes flooding the canyon for a few hours. Water falling heavily, downwards towards gravity, from a small opening – such is the power that it can change and break rock formations, cause holes in the sides and basically wash away their carefully created infrastructure of stairs and walkways.
Arrive into the canyon area an hour before your time. A little further away, in the reservation itself is restaurant and a massive river, where you can do a river tour too. Just ask for the MARINA. To and fro from the Marina to the tour area takes time, so do keep in mind your tour timings.
From Antelope Canyon, we went to the Horse Shoe Bend. Gorgeous view from far far above. Many places to take pictures. The kids were getting a bit adventurous with going too close to the edge for pictures, which made me super anxious and worried, so I nudged them back into the car again really quickly. A fair warning :: to see the horse shoe bend, one has to trek a bit.
Off we went to the Grand Canyon. Everybody goes only to the West Rim. It’s the most famous. We landed up in the South Rim, which was also gorgeous. Totally breath taking – the entire stretch, as far as the eye can see. They also have helicopter rides, which you can look up online.
We stayed the night at a motel by the South Rim and headed to the West Rim the next day.
It takes a few minutes to get used to the glass floor. You are not allowed to take pictures, and if you want pictures taken, then there is a separate line as you enter the glass floor outstretch. It was well worth it, because a few pictures are a must. Helicopter rides here too. Book in advance.
This is also reservation land. There is a rock formation resembling an eagle. The Natives are taught to do the right thing. It’s a matter of pride in their community. They say that if the mom’s are busy and cannot keep an eye on their children, the eagle keeps an eye on them, making sure they do no wrong.
At the end of our 5 day road trip, we landed up in Las Vegas – but then what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. :))
PS : some more pics on your way out!