From Oro Valley, North Tucson to Page is a 6-or-7-hour long drive. From Hwy 10 Phoenix emanates a familiar air that reminded us of San Diego: palm trees, big buildings, 5 lane merging freeways and heavy traffic…
After leaving the Sonoran Desert, the exotic saguaros give way to short bushes. To our surprise, the region around Flagstaff is covered with forests of pine tree contrasting with the earlier landscapes of bleak deserts. After Flagstaff, the scenery switches back to arid, desert lands with less and less vegetation and more and more rocky mountains: sometimes white, sometimes pink.
Finally, we arrived in Page: a small town within the Navajo Nation Reservation on the northern Arizona border with Utah. During the high season, it is teeming with tourists from all over the world who come to see the dreamy, colorful canyons. However, visiting in winter turned out well for us. Since we are already acclimated to the freezing temperatures in the Tahoe region, the averages of 40-50F were comfortable to us.
After checking in to our hotel and taking a nap, we decided to dedicate the rest of the afternoon to the must-see Horseshoe Bend, only 4.8 miles from the hotel. The trail to the lookout of the bend was busy. It an easy half mile walk from the parking lot to the cliff overlooking Horseshoe Bend. Because of shadows covering the canyon, sunset time is not ideal for photographing the bend. But the cliffs above the bend is endowed with a flaming bright orange color which combined with the blue sky provides exoticly tuned pictures. As the sun sets and evening sets in, it is actually better for shooting pictures of the bend because the lighting in the canyon evens itself out.
Due to the remote location of Page, AT&T has no service in the town, nor was the wifi in the hotel satisfactory. At the same time there is a full-sized Walmart and a Safeway by the hotel. At least we didn’t have to worry about where to get water and snacks for tomorrow’s tour and hikes.