The next day we needed to drive to Page, Arizona. And I can honestly say that it was one of the prettiest drives I've ever done. Of course it helped incredibly that the quickest way from our hotel to Page required a drive through the Grand Canyon National Park. So we again drove back into the park (thankful that the $30 entrance fee is good for several days), and headed out along the Desert View drive. It was impossible to resist stopping at the overlooks again as we made our way through the park. This is the overlook with the Duck On A Rock.
And at another overlook. The bright sun was a little too harsh for pictures, but some big fluffy clouds drifted along the opposite Canyon rim.
We eventually left the park and headed east on Hwy. 64, which would actually run alongside a deep canyon carved by the Little Colorado River. It was incredibly scenic, but wasn't developed as a park. It wasn't as tall as the Grand Canyon, but was still pretty. If that canyon was in any other state, it would be a popular state or national park. But because it sits right outside of the Grand Canyon, it's overlooked.
We turned onto Hwy. 89 and headed north, towards Page. This road also passes by mountains and buttes, and was really scenic. When we planned this trip, we had no idea that this drive would be so pretty.
At one point the road headed up a steep mountain and then passed through this deep cut in the rock.
After arriving in Page, we checked into the hotel. I headed out to visit Horseshoe Bend (Caroline opted not to, being pregnant and all). Horseshoe Bend is a popular and oft-photographed spot along the Colorado River. It's located just outside of Page, so I was able to quickly drive there (after a quick stop to buy more memory cards, I had gone through all of my memory cards already). The parking lot was full, with all sorts of people heading to the bend.
The trail to Horseshoe Bend is about a mile and a half, and goes up and down a hill (which isn't fun when you're not used to the elevation). The overlook was crowded, with a few photographers and tripods perched on the edge. And also with a bunch of people trying to take selfies with the river in the background. Like at the Grand Canyon, many of the people there appeared to be foreign, with several different languages being spoken by the crowd. I even heard a woman actually say, in French, "ohh la la!" I had several people ask me to take their picture, but it appeared that the one word that broke through the language barrier and that was universally spoken was "selfie."
I found a spot, and set up my camera and tripod. I've seen thousands of pictures of this view, and they did not prepare me for the sheer scale of this view. It is huge, and you really need a wide angle lens to get it all in (thanks to my friend John for letting me borrow his!). The river is 1000 feet below, and there is no guard rail.
A storm moved through in the distance, dropping some rain and partially hiding the sunset.
I stayed until it was starting to get dark, and got a shot of Horseshoe Bend when all the light was a bit more even.
I headed back when it was nearly dark, and drove back to the hotel. But we'd be getting up early in the morning to visit another classic photography location in Page....