Posted by Graham | Nov 06, 2018
We haven’t done a whole lot of exploring in Arizona yet, so when the opportunity to head up north to Page presented itself, we took it. My mom was in town for my daughter’s first birthday, so we wanted to celebrate somewhere scenic.
We made a long weekend of it, determined to see Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Two touristy things to check off our list, and two things we had wanted to see for a long time.
Horseshoe Bend was right on the way up, just outside Page. It was a short hike from the parking lot, right to the edge of the railing-free cliff. We took turns keeping the kids away from the perilous drop while we took in the views. It’s a beautiful spot to spend a little time, and totally free to visit, which is always a plus.
The spot we got to camp was fantastic. We got the perfect BLM site right outside of Page, isolated from other campers, and nestled in the midst of beautiful striated rock formations. It was definitely 4WD territory, too. You’re not getting there with grandpa’s Jayco. A spot like this would normally come with hiking in a tent and freezing overnight, but with the Conqueror UEV-490’s 4x4 capability and built in heat, this view comes without the hassle. It was exactly where we wanted to be.
We took the UEV-490 with us, with the intention of me sleeping outside in the wrap-around tent on the kitchen side, and everyone else sleeping inside. During our long overland trip we had just completed, Trish and I slept on the main interior king bed with our infant daughter, and our other two kids slept on the queen fold-out bed up front. This arrangement worked just fine for us for 1.5 months. Now, with my mom along for the ride, I decided to just sleep on an inflatable bed in the trailer tent. It was cold and I was up before dawn, and took myself on a hike along the ridge next to camp. I watched an amazing sunrise while I explored the heavily eroded sandstone peaks all around. From up above, seeing our humble camp amongst the Arizona red rocks, I was glad to bring the UEV-490 back to its natural habitat.
While setting up for the night, the one thought I had was how much I missed this. it had only been a couple months since we finished our big trip, but I didn’t realize how much I wanted to be doing it again until we were. Even if it was only for two nights, the natural excitement of camping in the Conqueror again put a big ol’ smile on my face. Even just dipping my toes back into the lifestyle for the weekend felt great. Campfire, Conqueror, family, nature. All was well.
Our plans nearly got derailed the next morning, though, when just after breakfast, we were visited by a ranger. He told us that camping was no longer allowed in that area. We were bummed of course, but the ranger could not have been nicer about it. He was very apologetic and explained that he didn’t like the decision to bar camping there at all, but he had to do his job. He allowed us to stay through lunch though, so we could still make our trip to Antelope Canyon that morning. He also told us about another spot just up the road on the banks of Lake Powell where we could camp that night. It sounded pretty nice, and we had few other options.
Antelope Canyon was phenomenal. The swirls of rocks lining the narrow canyon all the way up to the top just looked artistic. The way the light played off the walls and cast shadows here and there gave such a surreal feeling to it all. Nature is the best sculptor.
Our guide was great too. As the canyon is on Navajo land, all visitors must go on a guided tour led by a Navajo guide. Our guy George was funny and knowledgeable. He instructed us all step-by-step on how to adjust our phone’s camera settings to take the best pictures. And while in the canyon, he pointed out all the random formations that looked like things, like Abe Lincoln’s face, a heart, an eye, a bear, a lady in profile, etc. I normally avoid guided tours if I can, but this one was worth it.
After lunch we had to pack up and head to the lake. The campsite turned out to be just across the state line in Utah, right on the beach. We were not alone this time though. Plenty of other campers lined the shore for at least half a mile, though we certainly had the coolest camper around. We found a relatively isolated spot and set up. As the spot was so picturesque, we just stayed there the rest of the day. The kids just ran around and dug in the sand and got as filthy as they could, just as they should have done. Us grown ups sat around and watched the birds and boaters roving around. That night I cooked dinner under one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen.
Since it was a little chilly for me the previous night, we decided to all pile in the trailer that night. Two adults and one child on the main bed, and one adult and two kids on the front bed. Six total. Was it cozy? Yes, but it worked. No one complained. Least of all me. The heater in there works like a charm.
All in all it was great to get back out into nature and spend time with the family. Arizona has some amazing spots, and we can’t wait to see what else our new home state has to offer. And we can’t wait to see it in a Conqueror, of course!