Arizona part II - Antelope Canyon/Grand Canyon

For the rest of our trip we decided to go for some big sights in the northern part of AZ. Fully equipped with a convertible and a tube of sunblock, we took off to see where the wind would take us.

First stop after the awesome drive from Sedona was Antelope Canyon. With no real plan, we opted for the upper antelope canyon where they load you up in massive trucks and guide you and tons of other people through the canyon. Let me be clear…. this is not a zen, quiet experience. The general vibe is that people are there in the masses to take photos. I was ok with that. It is what I was there for so who was I to say anything negative? The tour guides main info was how to change the settings on your iPhone to get the best quality images. Others shared historical and geological tidbits but for the most part people blocked that out anyway while trying to figure out their ISO settings.

Let me be clear….. I first thought I was going to eyeroll my way through the canyon, grab the bucket list images I wanted and move on knowing that I was knee deep in a tourist trap… BUT…..

There is a reason everyone takes the photos. Walking through this canyon is like a visual nirvana. The lines, textures, tones… all of it is a complete visual experience that you can’t help but try to snap. Your mind is constantly trying to make sense of the curves and lines and how to frame them. It was intense in a good way. I didn’t even notice the other people in the canyon snapping their photos because I was too bust trying to snap mine.

As we walked toward the center of the canyon it was really dark for that part of day. Photogs: If you don’t want to have to shoot at ISO 10000000000000000 …. it’s likely best to check when the sun’s angle is the best for light. If you’re really serious about the images you get I would recommend spending the extra $ on a photo tour. They walk these groups through the canyon and block off areas from people while you’re in that area. It was all a bit obnoxious but I can see the positives. They do not allow anything but a camera and 12 ounce bottle of water to come in the canyon with you for the gen pop crews. So if you want less grain in your images and time to set up a tri pod with no humans in the frame…. go for it (i’m not bitter, you’re bitter).

The experience was incredible and I’m so happy I did it. Here are some images from the canyon. Then we’ll move to the end of the trip….

After Antelope Canyon we had to make a tough decision between Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, or the Grand Canyon. Once we noticed Horseshoe Bend was going to take FOREVER because of a shuttle situation for construction we decided to floor it to the Grand Canyon for sunset. We knew we wouldn’t have time to properly experience all the Grand Canyon had to offer but I just needed to stand and look at it. This trip for me was about gaining a different perspective and I knew the Grand Canyon would do just that. It was truly incredible to see. Photos just don’t capture how…. grand …… it is. More unfinished business that I’m ok with having.

The icing on the cake … was after we left the park I walked out to a view point and took my favorite images of the trip.

The end of this day was spend over a greasy cheeseburger in Flagstaff. Two express bucket list experiences in one day takes it right out of you.

The last day we decided to have a spa day in Sedona (with my budget: spa hour) then head to Phoenix for dinner before our flight out. There aren’t any photos of that :) Just the absorption of the company and conversation around me that I dreaded parting with. Arizona, you have my heart for more reasons that I seem to be able to count. One of those reasons is not the heat you produce in the summer. See ya next fall.

Healing trips call for gratitude.

Dear Beanie,

Thank you for all you are and have always been for me. During the trip there was talk about people in my life who have provided an unfair advantage for my making it through hard times. You are one of those people. I will never EVER forget our conversations, the vulnerability, laughing until we almost crashed into parked cars, things we said/did that are inappropriate to share here :) and of course…. the COCKTAILS. I love you. You’re beautiful inside and out. Let’s go back.

Stazzy (not Ana),

I’m so thankful for you and your friendship. We are conquering the impossible and I don’t think we were meant to do it without each other. Thank you for being a partner in crime, free of judgement and for trusting me with the good, bad and ugly. People like you give me hope for myself (HA!). Our common space is that of understanding and you’ll always have that space with me and mine. You’re beautiful, strong and on your way to amazing things. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you. I love you.

Mary,

You weren’t on this trip but were a HUGE subject of conversation. My most unfair advantage in life has been your guidance. Since I was a teenager (an annoying one, no doubt), you have always been there to guide me through whatever was going on. Words can’t express what you, your cheerleading and advise have meant to me. I have you to thank for a lot of accomplishments, wisdom and hangovers. Next time. I love you.

Mom,

I dont know how to not be wrapped up in everything you are working towards right now. You are in a lot of ways, my everything and I admire your grit and persistence no matter the obstacles. When Hayden was born I shifted my work to photography because I wanted to make him proud of me and show him by example that he’s able to do what he loves and make the most of life even if it’s scary sometimes. You are showing me the same thing. I love you.

Tracy,

I don’t think I can address these women in my life with out addressing you. You are my safety net. By choice and chance you have been there for the most intense moments of my life. The death of a second mother to me, the birth of my child, the caregiver for my child when it was most needed, the near death and double transplant of my friend of mine you dont even know, the deaths of Kat and Charlotte last year… it goes on. I think you’re my living guardian angel. Always there. I’m glad we were brought together by a colander in DC almost a decade ago. Thank you for teaching me things like proper southern etiquette while also being willing to run across the street to my house barefoot and pregnant. Thank you for having the same personality as my husband and representing his side of the story (HAHA). You’re beautiful and I love your British husband and your children and their complex accents too. I love you.

Brian,

Thank you for your support in everything I do. I grew up not knowing I was worthy of love like the love you give me. Your strength, compassion and balancing qualities are what keep me going. Oh also your cooking. I love that. And I love you.

How’s that for healing?

I’m very fortunate to say that there are several other people I could address here. There is something to be said about surrounding yourself with a community of people would love and support you. You all know who you are.

Here is a reel from my iPhone from the trip. Where the real story lyes.