“Whose idea was this?” I asked.
“You didn’t look this place up before?” I, however already knew the answers.
Darwin, Cruise, and I had driven almost two hours passing back and forth from Arizona to Utah to Arizona again heading to Antelope Canyon. Darwin had been talking about this place and wanting to explore it since he and I arrived in Cane Beds, AZ over a month before. Finally, the day of our visit came. At long last, we emerged from the van to come face to face with big bold font.
“$50.00 per person,” was what the bold text told us.
No bags of any kind were allowed in the canyon, only small cameras, and the canyon could only be visited in groups departing at designated times, via a guided tour through the canyon.
We discussed and grunted amongst our threesome the various options before us.
“We drove all this way, I’m willing to pay it,” I announced.
Cruise was hesitant but seemed willing to pay it as well, Darwin however refused. This place he had always wanted visit was within walking distance but the price was too high and we all returned to the Clydesdale. Whatever awaited us in Antelope Canyon, I will never know. We drove past the coal-fired power plant neighboring the canyon and I watched as the billows of pollution or whatever emerges from such a place, faded behind us. We were now in search of something to make our travel time worthwhile.
Ten minutes later, Darwin pulled off the highway to a small area of open land. With no signs to dissuade us, we began to explore finding a ramp and platform to nowhere, random bits of trash, and lots of ATV tracks. We paid homage to the large rock formations before us as it seemed others had only tried to paint and scar them with letters. We explored the large formations and took in the views they granted us, appreciating their beauty but leaving no trace of our visit.
From there still trying to justify our travel, we stopped off at Glen Canyon Dam. Unable to enjoy the full learning experience at the recreation center due to the current state of our government, we discovered a Scenic View pull off. From the pull off we took in another amazing view and watched the Colorado River flowing far below us. I tried to visualize the crack in the dam made by Earth 1st and play back the words of Edward Abbey trying to find my own conclusions.
Further down the road back again in Utah, we recognized the familiar look of a trailhead. A small hike later we found ourselves among a garden of toadstools (rock toadstools that is). We seemed unable to get enough of these impressive formations as they balanced perfectly holding poses for hundreds if not thousands of years. The more we looked and explored the more we saw. We only later discovered we were actually in part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
With the falling sun reminding us of the aging day, we returned to the Clydesdale and continued on our way back to Cane Beds, AZ. We remarked on our day and how much we would have missed if we had paid the fee for Antelope Canyon. Even Darwin’s initial disappointment had faded with a day full of unexpected sights.
Sometimes the best plans are those never made.
(Random Spot Exploration, Glen Canyon Dam View, Garden of Toadstools)
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