Communication failure and a few bumpy rides (but with spectacular views)

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I knew Mike was planning to photograph the sunrise, so when I woke up at 6am on Wednesday (18th Feb) and he was still in bed I checked he hadn’t overslept and then went back to sleep ( I thought he was headed out to find a good spot, but I was too tired to think of heading out).  It was only when I woke up later that I realised he’d been on the balcony and I could have joined him to see the spectacular sunrise.  He in turn thought that when I woke him I was coming in from an all-nighter and so thought I wouldn’t want waking!  Never mind, at least I got to see his photos, like this one….

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After a leisurely breakfast we headed out to do the scenic drive of the Valley.  This was where the decision to rent a SUV paid off.  The ‘road’ was very dusty and very bumpy – it tested the suspension of both the car and the occupants!  The scenery was spectacular though and it was worth the bumps.

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(The above picture could be the subject of a caption competition…. ‘I thought you said there was a good view from here’  or ‘Behind you!’ )

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The Valley was the location for a few John Wayne movies,

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so the locals decided to capitalise on it….

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We chatted to a local Navajo woman who was selling handmade jewelry.  She explained that it was a family enterprise involving her mother and her sister too.  The pieces were lovely.  It was obvious from travelling through the Navajo area that life was hard for the local people, so it was good to see people generating their own income with good craftsmanship.

We left the Valley and headed north to Page.  More long straight roads punctuated by spectacular geology.  We arrived at our destination – Antelope Canyon – mid afternoon.  We booked ourselves on a tour and tried to avoid frying in the heat while we waited for the allotted start time.  When the time arrived we climbed in to the opensided truck and held on to our hats as we again bounced along a dirt track – more challenge for the suspension muscles!

The canyon is unusual in that the bottom is wider than the top (called a slot Canyon) which results in interesting rock formations caused by constrained water flow and the limited light gives spectacular colouring.

Our guide was Leon who said his main mission was to ensure we got good photos of the extremely photogenic canyon.  He included in his technique taking people’s cameras and changing the settings.  Unfortunately, we didn’t know this until he asked for Mike’s camera and then to Mike’s horror (or substitute a few other words!) he quickly flicked through the camera settings changing various things!!!  Mike spent quite a while trying to put his camera back to how he had carefully set it up!  That said, Leon did know a lot about the canyon and how to get good shots to show it off.  (Mike found a few more Leon hadn’t thought of, which we suspect may be incorporated in future tours.)

The colours, textures and shapes were amazing.

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       heartThis one was particularly lovely.

We then headed for our hotel, whose main attribute was fast wifi – necessary to allow me to submit an Astrophysics assignment!

We tried to be adventurous in our eating, but after walking around Page and failing to find anywhere we ended up in Pizza Hut, complete with formica tables and bench seats.  It was probably far more representative of small town America eating (and was actually pretty good).  On the way back to the hotel we found the display of local sights and one stood out: Horseshoe Bend.  It looked spectacular, so we decided to do that before leaving Page next morning.  The evening/night ended with me parked in front of a laptop…..

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