The afternoon of day 114, we had driven to Capitol Reef NP. As opposed to other national parks, Capitol Reef NP was created to protect the historically important orchards present there.
A ranger gave a nice presentation about the history of the place on our first, and only, evening there. Apart from the orchards, there are also a couple of uranium mines which we drove past the next morning. For obvious reasons, the entrance was blocked.
Our first stop later that day was Natural Bridges, home to the biggest concentration of natural bridges (surprise!) in the world, an astounding three of them :). A bridge is an arch formed due to river erosion (“normal” arches are formed due to wind and water erosion, but not due to waterways). Anyhow, now that you’re an expert on bridges, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a pretty cool hike in the park which has you scramble down and take ladders right to the foot of one of the bridges. Pretty neat!
We finished the day by driving to Goulding’s Lodge, the campsite closest to the Navajo Monument Valley park. In fact, it’s litterally across the street. The campground has showers and a swimming pool, which was super refreshing. Also, no more funky smells surrounded us after we left there :).
The next morning, July 24th, we did the scenic drive through Monument Valley. Even though you can see quite a few of the “rocks” from the highway, the drive is so much better. Nothing but gorgeous views the whole time, heartily recommended if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood.
Some more driving in the afternoon, back to Page, which we had already passed through on the way to Bryce. Trying to find a room for the night, we were pretty disappointed to discover that hotels/motels were either fully booked or charged over $230 for a single night in a basic room. By a stroke of luck, we happened upon Jake, who must be the friendliest motel owner to have ever lived. Even though his motel was full, he called around town for us and in the end arranged a bed & breakfast place with Gary and Kenna, for less than the lowest motel room price in town. In the meantime, he had also helped us make sure we got a spot for a tour through Lower Antelope canyon the following morning and suggested a couple of restaurants for the evening.
Gary & Kenna’s place was amazing, with a beautiful view over Glen Lake. Of course there was also a soft bed, shower, WiFi and airco. A little piece of heaven for one night.
The next morning, fully rested, we headed to Lower Antelope canyon. Even though our tour guide wasn’t great, the canyon itself was gorgeous. Where Upper Antelope canyon takes all of 15 minutes to get through, we spend over 1h 20min in the Lower canyon, snapping pictures left and right.
Afterwards, we paid a quick visit to Horseshoe Bend. It was beautiful in person, but we discovered the camera’s lens wasn’t nearly wide enough to capture the whole scene. So you’ll have to go visit for yourself to see the real deal.
The afternoon was once more spend on the road, driving towards Zion, ready for more adventures!