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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Arizona and Utah Trip : Part 2



The other day I blogged about the first half of our Arizon/Utah trip, now, we continue.


DAY 3
White Pocket (9 hours hike).

Our plan was that if we didn't win the walk-in lottery permit for The Wave on the first try we are going to do our back-up tour which is White Pocket, but before we left for that tour we again went back to BLM to try our luck for the second time.

Again. we didn't win :(

The Wave walk-in permit lottery drawing, day 2...

After getting the 2nd bad news, we went back to our hotel to prepare our hiking gears (hiking sticks, some water, gatorade, power bars, & trail mix) and waited for Dreamland Safari Tours to pick us up. Our call time was 10 AM.

at white pocket.....
the one with a hat was our tour guide

According to Dreamland Safari's website, the White Pocket hike is 9 hours total and that it's a great alternative for The Wave and they weren't kidding. I saw some pictures online but I wasn't really prepared on how beautiful this place is until I saw it with my own eyes. Be aware though that there were rumors that they would start asking visitors to apply for permit to this place to soon like what they did with The Wave so if you get the chance, go and see White Pocket.

I'll just let the photos do the talking (but believe me, it's way way better if you're actually there.


i like that little puddle of water 

it almost looks like The Wave
..and yep! that's me

nope, i didn't tilt my  camera, the peak is really slanted...


It was relatively an easy hike. It was marked as 3 for hiking difficulty but we did scramble a little bit on some steep stones but it's still a very enjoyable hike with lots of laughters. We were joined by two other couple from Nevada. Below is a short video on one part of the White Pocket.





When we got back to our hotel after the hike, we just freshened up a little bit and off we went to have dinner and that's how we discovered Rocking V, our favorite restaurant in Kanab, Utah!  Unfortunately I lost my notes so I couldn't tell you what we ordered but I normally order chicken, so I might have ordered their Chicken and Mushroom Alfredo.


DAY 4
Grand Staircase Mini Dream tour (5 hours hike).

When we decided to take our chances into applying for the walk-in permit lottery for The Wave, we accounted for bad news, for two bad news, actually, which means we have two back-up hiking tours. The second hiking tour was the Grand Staircase Mini Dream tour.

But let's back track a little bit. The night before Day 4, we were discussing whether or not we should try applying for The Wave walk-in permit lottery for the third time. It's not part of our itinerary to stay at Kanab for Day 5 and we're supposed to leave on Day 5 so it's really no use applying again but we were feeling lucky so we decided we should try again on Day 4.  So come morning of Day 4, we went to BLM again but this time I stayed in the car.

one of these forms would be the lucky winner of The Wave Permit...
unfortunately, it wasn't us....

I can be very superstitious sometimes and I had a feeling that I'm the one jinxing our Wave permit but after an hour and a half they brought me the bad news that we didn't win, for the 3rd time. So that's 3 loses on online permit lottery and 3 loses on the walk-in permit lottery.

Sigh.

But we are not losing hope! We planned to apply for the online lottery for The Wave permit every month starting July and we won't stop until we win. There's something about losing 6 times that make all of us wanted to win that permit more than ever! LOL

Anyway, so back to the hotel we went to wait for our guide to pick us up for our last hiking tour - the Grand Staircase. We left at 10 AM.


The first hour of that tour wasn't as exciting for me, but we did see some Petroglyphs and Pictographs and we love how our tour guide took us up a steep mountain to have our lunch. Eating with nature, nothing can beat that!

this is why it's called the Grand  Staircase, because it does looks like a very huge staircase

partial view of the grand staircase escalante...
i'm sure this looks more incredible when on a helicopter, when you can
see the whole thing from above..

The last location we went to was for me the highlight of out Grand Staircase hiking tour and that's the hike to the Toadstools Hoodoos. It's a 1.5 miles hike roundtrip to get to the Toadstools Hoodoos but it's a fairly easy hike.

posing at the Toadstools Hoodoos

Here's a good guide to get to that place if you're not hiring a tour guide:

Below is a short video of the Toadstools Hoodoos




After that hike we had dinner and went to star gazing which we booked on a whim, but I wouldn't elaborate on this because it was very disappointing. I was expecting to see the milky way but all I saw were passing space shuttles and some star clusters that I really felt like they're just inventing.



DAY 5
More surprise eye candies.

It's bye-bye Kanab time but first we stopped by at Nedras too for lunch. That was yet another good find. They offer Mexican food and it's delicious! I read somewhere that you should try the white sauce and I believe I ordered Chicken Chimichanga with White Sauce. Yum.



After we had our lunch it was with a heavy heart that we bid goodbye to Kanab but we promised we shall return. Ka-career-in namin ang pag-apply ng Wave permit!!! LOL


On our way back we decided to see what the Coral Pink Sand Dunes is about. So we went there to take a peek. As soon as I got out on the sand my throat started constricting. It's probably because it was windy and I was starting to inhale some of the sand. I decided to just stay in the car while the hubby and two of my friends explored the area.
look how tiny those people are...
it's not yet pink when we got there...i'm guessing sunset would be
the best time to see this

After that one quickie stop, off we go. Now, it's really bye-bye Kanab.

Our guide told us to take Route 89A on our way back to Scottsdale for a scenic route and boy are we glad we listened to him! Below are some of the sceneries we saw.
the Navajo Bridge 

along Route 89A we passed by the Navajo Bridge and chanced upon another wonderful view!

From Kanab back to Scottsdale is 5 1/2 hours and I volunteered to drive for the first couple hours again, to which I regretted because there were so many amazing views and I was itching to get my camera out. 2 hours later I passed the steering wheel to the hubby to drive and the last couple of hours was done by RK.

hard to concentrate with that good view

just look at that!

Since it was April, it wasn't that hot and wasn't that cold either, it's just perfect and it was so much fun! We will most certainly come back with maybe some side trip to Wyoming!

In summary here are the places we went to:

Day 1:
1. Upper Antelope (my 1st time)
2. Lower Antelope (2nd time here).
3. Horseshoe Bend (first time)
4. Lake Powell Dam (2nd time here)

Day 2:
5. Bryce Canyon (first time)

Day 3:
6. White Pocket (because we didn't win the Wave permit lottery for day 3)

Day 4:
7. Grand Staircase (because we didn't win the Wave permit lottery for day 4)

Day 5:
Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Scenic Route 89A
Navajo Bridge


Again, if  you want to see our itinerary and logistics you can click me. Make sure to check all the tabs on the excel sheet.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Arizona and Utah Trip : Part 1


I've always wanted to go back to Lower Antelope because I fell in love with that place and I wanted to show that to the hubby and last April 2014, I got the chance to do just that.

The hubby and I met with our dear friends at Scottsdale, AZ on April 4, 2014. We had dinner and off we went to our hotel. We were so anxious to get some sleep because we had to leave at 5:00 am the next day for Page. Plus, of course it didn't help that our body clock is on EST, and as far as our body clock is concerned, it's way past our bed time.

UPPER ANTELOPE

Call time was 5:00 AM. First stop was Upper Antelope.

you need to book a tour for Upper Antelope because you need a 4 by 4 truck
to get there... this photo was taken near the entrance of the upper antelope canyon



We took turns driving and I volunteered to drive the first couple of hours. Scottsdale to Page is 4 hours and 38 minutes, plus bladder & gasoline breaks. While we drove, we made sure we don't miss our exit. There was a lanslide on Route 89 on February 2013 and they're still struggling to fix it and we were advised to take 89T and to pay attention to the road signs because if we miss it, we won't get it in time for our Upper Antelope Photography Tour reservation.






It was my first time to see the Upper Antelope. Above is a short video of our very bumpy ride.

Upper Antelope has it's own charm and  it's wider and easier to walk through but I still prefer the Lower Antelope better. It's prettier and more mysterious, in my opinion.



and that's me, all smiles 

LOWER ANTELOPE

one of the many stairs to enter lower antelope...
this used to be the exit part
Next stop was Lower Antelope. I was so very excited to show this off to my company. Like I mentioned earlier, this is my second time here and the first thing I noticed was that they changed the entrance to the Lower Antelope. Back in November of 2010, the entrance was the one closest to the parking lot. The exit part (which is now the entrance) involves climbing up some steep sets of stairs and when you're already very tired from all the walking, you wouldn't want to climb those steps. So them switching that to be the entrance instead of an exit is a brilliant idea because of the fact that climbing down the stairs is much easier than going up.


this used to be the entrance, now it's the exit

I didn't take photos (the hubby did), but I have my Lower Antelope photos from 2010 here.


HORSESHOE BEND

I didn't know about Horseshoe Bend until I saw a photo from a friend of mine. The walk from the parking lot to the Horseshoe Bend rim is about 3/4 mile walk. Going to the rim is an easy walk because it's downhill. Walking back to the parking lot is another story but don't worry, you're huffing and puffing will be very well worth it once you see your Horseshoe Bend pictures.


isn't that just amazing!?


LAKE POWELL DAM

Next stop was Lake Powell. Nothing much to see there but we went there anyway to marvel at the huge dam. I've been here before (in 2010) but I wanted to show my travel companions this before we drive to Kanab, Utah.

lake powell dam

OFF TO KANAB

We had dinner first before we left Page and we ate at Dam Grill which is not a bad place to eat. Their black and blue cheese burger (lunch menu) and coco-loco steak fingers are verygood!

Page to Kanab is a good 1 hour and 28 minutes, without stops. When we got to our hotel, we just went straight to bed, because one, we're tired and two, we need to be at BLM early next day.


BRYCE CANYON

Now we're on day 2.

Before we head out to Bryce Canyon we stopped by at BLM first to apply for The Wave walk-in permit. Now, I already tried applying online, three times (!) but didn't get lucky so this time we were taking our chances to apply for the walk-in lottery permit. What BLM does is they have 10 available slots online and 10 slots for walk-ins. Either way they do a drawing. What is this permit for? See photo below.

that's one of Microsoft Window's desktop background  photos..
that is called The Wave and is internationally sought after specially by photographers...
but you have to win a permit first to be able to see this place...they only give 20 in a day..
10 for online lottery and 10 for walk-in lottery....

We didn't get lucky on our first try, which means we need to try again tomorrow. So we left BLM with a sad heart but excited to see Bryce Canyon. Kanab to Bryce is 1 hour and 32 minutes without stops.

at Bryce Point look out

still at Bryce Point

One word of advise. Go to Grand Canyon first before coming here. You might not be able to appreciate Grand Canyon if you come to see this first.  Now, don't get me wrong, Grand Canyon is amazing but for me, Bryce kinda overshadows the Grand Canyon.

There are a lot of look out points and I think we went to all of the famous ones. We went to Bryce, Inspiration, Sunset, Sunrise and Natural Bridge. I like the Bryce look out point the best.

at Sunrise lookout 

After we feasted our eyes with such awesome views, it was time to feed our tummies next and we went to Ruby's Inn's The Cowboy's Buffet and Steak Room for our early dinner. We drove back to Kanab, Utah and the next day we went back to BLM to apply for the walk-in permit lottery for the second time.

....to be continued...

Click me for Part 2...

If  you want to see our itinerary and logistics you can click me. Make sure to check all the tabs on the excel sheet.