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Dec 24 – Las Vegas, NV
We set out from SD and stayed night in LV, and two friends joined us from here. We stayed in Bally’s. I watched Jubilee there before and really loved it, this time, we stayed here. And our room has a great view and the hot tub in the room is just awesome. We had some night snack at Tequila Bar and Grill which still opens after midnight on Christmas eve.
Dec 25 – Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell, AZ
We drove four hours to Page and of course all places are shut down on Christmas, so we had a quick lunch at Subway. Then we drove south on Hwy 89 till a parking lot with coordinates +36°52’35.98″, -111°30’5.71″. And here I come horseshoe bend. You know, Lady Colorado River sometimes whats some F1 fun, so she made herself a hair pin on her track.
Lake Powell recreation park is our next stop. It has a resort inside and a dock for you to launch the boat. We drove our car very close to the water and had some fun. No one is there, it’s quiet and clean like this.
At the entrance, though the visitor center is closed, you can see the side of the dam, which formed Lake Powell. And you can enjoy the shadow casted by the sunset.
Dec 26th, Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon, AZ
In the morning, I saw ice flake on the car window, and we need to warm the car for real before the start so that the ice on the front window can melt. It’s fun as an adventure for SoCal ppl like us, but i definitely won’t love it if it’s part of my daily life. It’s pretty for me, but my bio major friends were like, wow, it’s pretty and looks like mold. >_<
We were originally scheduled to have the tour at 11:30 the day before, when the light is good, but we couldn’t make it and then got rescheduled to 9:30am. Sigh. Try your best to do it around noon, I knew other slots won’t work well, it’s simply too dark in the canyon and it’s not easy to use tripod with people passing by. Or you’d better do the photography tour, which takes longer time but worth it. This is not some place you will frequently visit anyways, so do it right. Kind of pity on this schedule change. Anyways, still got two good shots. And it’s amazing that it’s also washed out by river and the wavy pattern on the rock just won my love and the magic red color is fascinating.
And we saw a baby bat on the rock :)
The entrance of Antelope Canyon is very close to the power plant there. It has become sort of scenic spots now with its still smoke coming out. When viewing from afar on our way, we thought it’s like the geyser in Yellowstone. And the days we were there, it’s weird that the smoke really feels still, frozen, until you start to stare on the very close area to the chimney mouth, you’ll see smoke coming out. But viewing it is really kinda weird feeling.. feels like painting frozen on the background of the white sky. And it’s generating electricity both by water and by coal, which made it different.
Then we drove to Grand Canyon and had a quick lunch at the park. My friend has been telling me that it’s grand, and it’s canyon, you will have a wow when you see it for the first sight, then that’s it. And it turned out to be true. Well, I guess I should go with my hiking friends next time and try to go down to the bottom, pictures of water and river is more adorable imo.
I can’t show the big wow in my pic. It’s basically these popping up hills on the sinking land, replicating themselves all the way to afar. Sometimes it sees river, sometimes it sees a big crack.
Then it came the sunset.
Our friend set out to go back, while we continued back to north. We arrived at Monument valley around noon and had lunch at The View Restaurant. It’s really enjoyable to have lunch with all the amazing landscape displays themselves through the huge window. Not many people that day and we had a nice meal with those native Indian music which sounds like those music from Tibet.
Then we started our tour on those seriously unpaved road.
The three sisters:
Rain God Mesa: it’s not 萧敬腾，:p
And at some grand view point, it’s pretty amazing:
Then we met this little guy, it’s really cute, but he seems to be afraid of people when I walk a bit closer. If he can let me hug him, I might actually take him home, he’s the kinda of little doggie I like.
Then he rested aside our car, what a good boy. And then some Korean arrived and threw stone at him and scared the little doggie away :’( Please don’t be afraid of human, we are not all like that.
On our way leaving the park, the road winds and extends, that’s when I become content and happy on road trip. It somehow feels alive for me.
And on the way to Moab, you see this Mexican hat. It felt smaller than I expected, and there’s a little town has everything named after it there. A good drive-through scenic spot I believe.
Dec 28th, Arches and Canyonlands, Utah
On our way the night before, we always saw the snow mountain and now we know it’s called La Sal Mountain.
The we saw the balanced rock. If you view from another angle, it’s not that bad, the contacting surface feels pretty enough to hold for another lots of years. :p
And we did a small hike to view the North and South Window.
Also, the torrect arch is on the other side of the trail. Yes, snow adds on lots of flavor.
In another trail, we saw the double arches. I really like this one, it’s huge, and i’m so small under it. With the marks of time with wind and water so clearly displayed in your face, you can feel the muscle and power from the rock itself. The awes of the nature.
And we were a bit short of time but still decided to see the delicated arches. We precisely did 39 minutes in, and equally 39 minutes out… Guess we really know how do cruise control ourselves, no matter uphill or downhill. And there we saw my biggist bucket list item for US NP – the Delicate Arch!
And here’s a panorama picture taken by my friend, who’s really a mater of panorama of the trip.
Besides the arches, the Fins and the salt valley are two fun landscape there.
There are lands which have salts under and when the rain came, the salts dissolved and hence it forms sinking of the land and formed valley.
Another is the Fins, which is caused mainly by the crushing of the land. I feel amused because the mountains look like lazy and only do a facade to say, hey, here’s your mountain. And when you look from aside, they feel like stacked plates in my dishwasher. lol
And since there’re like couple hours before sunset, so.. why not Canyonlands? Get a map at visitor center, mostly you don’t want to miss Grand View Point Overlook. It’s really amazing and feels like a sudden drop on a flat groud, a big hole missing. And the shape always reminds me of the club in poker game. Please do click to see the bigger picture, it’s amazing.
And here you can see the Green River:
It was sunset and pretty amazing. Then we drove back to Moab and stayed at a local motel which is really good rated and lived up to the name, Inca Inn.
In it’s yard, we saw a little black cat, who meowed me and warmed by my leg for a while, and since the motel has no pet policy, I can only left a bowl of bread at door, and I saw her went under our car for warmth, poor little guy. And when we set out the second day, she meowed at us again and sitting on a window and stared us away, maybe saying bye, maybe saying, screw you that pretend to be nice and yet won’t let me in your warm room. :p
Dec 29th, Zion, Utah
We decided to visit one more place before we headed back to city. So Zion it is. More than four years ago, I did the Angel’s landing and climbed all the way through the cliffs, which is way too impressive that I barely remembered anything else. This time, I just slowed down and enjoyed more at the scenery.
My friend really likes Zion because of the amazing color. It has the red, yellow mountain, green leaves, grey branches, white snow and river. Most amazing addon of the color, we would say, it’s the red-ish, brownish, magenta-sh road. It made Zion stand out in her unique way.
And our first stop was the big belly Checkerboard Mesa with snow on it.
Then we drove back toward tunnel and did a quick trail and it was fun. It goes up and down, bridges, rocks and narrows and got a decent view on top.
And this spot is actually deeper than you see on pic, and when you stand in there, you feel pressed by the rocks due the feeling of the space and room. Fun!
And we continued to drive and completed a loop. It’s starting to get dark, and the trees in the winter do have their own charm, feels like some dark scene in LoTR or Harry Porter.
Dec 30th, LV, NV
Well, can’t remember how many places I’ve been in Vegas… anyway had dim sim at Kj Dim Sun and did some gift shopping for colleages at MM world and headed back to LA.