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"WILD WEST" - UTAH AND ARIZONA (May 2006)   photos

During our 4,000 miles drive, my brother Chris and I went from Chicago to Arizona and back.

After driving through the night and crossing Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado, we arrived at the foot of The Rockies. My 10-year old Dodge Neon did a good job taking us across mountain passes. The Rockies turned out to be somewhat less "rocky" than I imagined. We decided not to waste too much time, got some sleep on the way and arrived in Utah Monday morning.

We obtained a tourist map from the Information Center and worked out a plan for the next week. After driving across quite flat, desert landscape for miles, we welcomed the sight of the first National Park: Capitol Reef. It's colorful rock walls and deep river canyons were stunning. Unfortunately we only had time for a short 1 hour walk, and carried on to the next point of interest- Bryce Canyon. Admiring some fantastic views on the way, we arrived just in time for the sunset. I have never seen such a weird-looking place in my life! Successive strata of dazzlingly colored rock - yellows, reds, whites and oranges - have slipped and washed away to leave strange-shaped rocks sticking out.

After a frosty night at the nearby campsite, we went back to explore this amazing place. Walking amongst those colorful, towering rocks was unforgettable. We followed the Scenic Byway 12 to get to Zion National Park. The road took us between mighty walls of rock, than through a tunnel and down to Zion itself. Campsite was already full, but they found 1 spot for us. The shuttle bus took us into the canyon, with soaring cliffs on both sides. We took a trail up to Angel's Landing, a narrow ledge protruding 500m above the canyon floor. The path switchbacked sharply before emerging on the canyon's west rim, and near the end it followed a narrow ridge with sheer drops to either side.

The next day's first attraction was the Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park, followed by the Grand Canyon itself. There are bigger and deeper canyons, but this one deserves it's reputation. We admired it's owe-inspiring vastness at sunset and sunrise, from 2 different viewpoints. It was truly an amazing site. We drove across the border into Arizona, arriving in Page. The Horseshoe Bend, where Colorado river makes a 180 degrees turn, and Lake Powell where enough to make us stay for a day. The construction of Glen Canyon Dam created Lake Powell, and it's unnatural landscape. Deep and tranquil lake a surreal contrast with the surrounding sandstone buttes.

Next day we went to the Antelope Canyon, the most amazing place of the whole trip. I'm not going to describe it, just look at the photos! When walking through Paria Canyon, we saw a rattlesnake. On our way back, it was right in the middle of the narrow canyon, so we had a problem. Finally Chris used my tripod to move it, but the snake didn't like it.  I could tell by it's loud rattling.

The classic Wild West landscape of the Monument Valley, rocks and stone figures of the Canyonlands National Park, massive fins of red and golden sandstone in the Arches National Park, all this we had to squeeze into the last day. One thing I know for sure: I will be back!   photos