Jennifer's Mom was staying with us to help Jennifer after her ankle surgery, and since Jennifer was supposed to start walking with a brace to strengthen her ankle, and she wanted to show something to her mom before she moved out of country back to Taiwan, she elected to do a tour of the north Rim of the Grand Canyon to Page, and finishing up to the South Rim before flying back out from there through flagstaff (the closest airport with commercial flights and rental cars).
The whole trip was a bit over 1000 miles in 5 days, not bad. We obviously didn't have enough time to properly hike or backpack in some of the parks, but Jennifer wasn't able to anyway, so it was mostly short distances from the car.
So, we flew into Vegas early morning, got our rental car, food and water and got the hell out :)
Day 1: Valley of Fire
Anyway, after a short-ish drive from Las Vegas, we got to the Valley of Fire thanks to a tip from JBQ:
We went for a scenic short hike at the end of the park.
pink rocks were cool
more nice road/landscapes
And we finished with the famous elephant rock on the way out:
The Valley of Fire had a special meaning to me since my first book on the USA back when I was still in France, had elephant rock that happened to be from there (and I had no idea that was the case):
So that was well worth the time we spent there, and we then went on to Zion hoping that we'd get an hour or so to see the visitor center, but we forgot that we'd already lose an hour crossing the border, so that didn't quite work out. We just stayed by our bed and Breakfast to see a sunset:
Day 2: Zion
The next morning, we left reasonably early and went to Zion where we took the required bus after of quick visit of the visitor center. We only had one day to spend there (not counting the drive out we did the next morning), and that's not nearly enough for a normal visit of Zion, but in our case since we couldn't hike much or climb, that turned out to be just enough.
Except during very lowest season, the busses are required, but they run very often
that's a tasty mushroom :)
the ground squirrels were very friendly, but could bite if fed them and that was forbidden
with two walking sticks and an ankle brace, Jennifer could walk a bit
Day 3: Leaving Zion
Next Morming, we drove away from Zion towards Bryce, but did the hike at the other end of the tunnel before heading out:
light entry for the tunnel
From the other side, you can park and hike up:
that road would have been fun blocked off and with a real car :)
you get a nice view from the valley and road to the tunnel from up there
Day 3: Red Canyon
After driving to Bryce Canyon, we hit Red Canyon just before that, and it was worth a quick look:
I did the reasonably short hike to the visitor center and Jennifer drove there
Day 3: Bryce Canyon
And finally we got to Bryce Canyon for the afternoon, which was barely enough for a visit with the car. We drove to the end where we had a late lunch, drove back to see view after view with Inspiration point as the grand finale. We then finished by sunset point for the super scenic 3 mile hike:
We then got to Inspiration Point, arguably the best view in Bryce Canyon:
And we finished with a beautiful 3 mile hike:
And we got back on top just in time for sunset and moonrise:
That was a really nice day, Bryce was fantastic. We then went to the nearby town for some food and sleeping.
Day 4: Page's Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons, and Horseshoe Bend
The next morning, we got out of Bryce as early as we could to get to Page and Antelope Canyon as early as possible and get a tour of lower antelope canyon while a beam of light shined in. Well, even though it wsa late in the season for that, we got lucky and saw a couple for a few mere minutes.
Day 4: Upper Antelope Canyon
We started with Upper Antelope Canyon, the most popular, and paid our due to the local tribe for a 1h tour. The tour was indeed spectacular and we got the best time of the day. That was good timing and luck.
Day 4: Lower Antelope Canyon
After the great views, we drove to lower Antelope Canyon which is definitely worth visiting separately and much deeper:
Day 4: Powell Lake
Next, we went to check out Powell Lake:
Day 4: Horseshoe Bend
and we finished with some pictures of the famous Horseshoe Bend:
it was a tiny bit late in the day sun-wise, but still nice
Just this once we finished the day a little bit early, although getting dcent dinner in Page on a sunday night was no piece of cake.
Day 5: Monument Valley
The next morning, we drove from Page to Monument Valley. We actually thought it was pretty neat. Some viewoints were quite worth it, and I definitely doing your own tour so that you can enjoy some viewpoints like the North Window Overlook and Artist Point Overlook:
Day 5: Grand Canyon South Rim Sunset
Once we were done with Monument Valley, we drove towards the Grand Canyon South Rim to see the easternmost entrance we had never seen: Desert View and its watchtower, and then got to a viewing point for sunset.
Day 6: Grand Canyon South Rim
The next morning, we got up early and went to see all the viewpoints on West Rim Drive, which we were able to just drive to instead of taking the bus since Jennifer was handicapped (we got a special code for the gate and were allowed to drive to all the stops).
Mind you, I would rather have been able to hike a lot of that, but Jennifer was not quite ready for that yet, and besides we didn't quite have the time anyway (we had to go to flagstaff to catch our plane home).
And after a lunch by the canyon, we drove to Flagstaff to return the rental car and fly home via Phoenix.
This was a packed 6 days, but we got to see a whole lot (probably 10 days worth at a slower pace, taking time for more hikes that we just couldn't do this time around). We sure got to see a lot considering, and I got about 1200 pictures after weeding the bad ones, not bad.