April 17, 2006

We had been so impressed with the parks of Utah, we decided to see what was south of them in Arizona, plus our yearly park pass was due to run out at the end of the month.
All the passes were closed at this time and we were forced down 99 and east towards Barstow, with our first camping spot at the forlorn Afton campground. From here we made our way along Mead Lake to towards Overton. The scenery kept getting more and more interesting culminating in the amazing Valley of Fire we vowed to get back to when we had more time.

The following day we made for Lee's Ferry, stopping briefly at the desolate but interesting Pipe Springs, home to the first settlers. We looked briefly around Lee's before heading back to camp to find someone in our reserved place. Mimi stepped out with frying pan in hand, but the trespasser left peacefully (no doubt intimidated by the 114 lb pan handler). 

In the morning we looked over the "Lonely Dell" and it was... in spite of his 9 wives, then off for Lake Powell to look over the dam and other sights.
Lone Rock campground had all the allure of a sandy parking lot, and were glad to be heading out for Antelope Canyon. We had hiked slot canyons before, but this was the crown jewel, though with a bit of Disney World atmosphere.  After a lot of switchbacks we arrived at the 7000' Navajo National Monument where we took the delightful Canyon Trail. Not only was this little park wonderful, but it was free!

Though we did a longer hike at Monument Valley, we found it and it's campground a little depressing and pressed on to Canyon de Chelly where we spent a delightful day here in this wonderful canyon hiking right into it's interior, one of the trips highlights. The only thing marring the hike was an 80 year old lady passing us up.
We headed back through various towns and parks, four being note worthy. Of the parks, the first is the Petrified Forest with it's new hikes in the southern part. The second is Walnut Canyon east of Flagstaff with a delightful hike down into the canyon and it's cliff dwellings. The towns are Jerome, Nevada's version of Sausalito, and Oatman, which has a slight carnival atmosphere but worthwhile if in the area.