Day 27: July 18, 2013

We woke early this morning in hopes of securing another free continental breakfast only to discover that this Holiday Inn did not offer free breakfast whatsoever. Disappointed, we took our toiletries into a bathroom and did morning things before cooking breakfast in the parking lot.

We had reservations at 3:30PM for a tour of the Antelope Slot Canyon; while our time in Canyon de Chelly was limited, it was beautiful.

Taylor made a lizard friend ūüôā

and we made it to the valley of the canyon!

After some quick exploration of the White House – an old, reconstructed Indian ruin – we scurried back up the canyon side in hopes of making our Antelope Slot Canyon tour.

But there is always time to climb into a nook and hang out, right??

We bid adieu to the lovely Canyon de Chelly by noon – just enough time to make our reservation!

Okay. Let me say, the following pictures will probably make the Antelope Slot Canyon look really cool… all of the pictures on the internet do. The canyon itself is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but the experience is¬†very¬†commercialized and¬†very¬†overcrowded. An excerpt from my journal reads, “We enjoyed the views but wished for silence.”

The tours pack 75 – 100 people in these….

…you all file into the Slot Canyon…

…and take some baller pictures that make the canyon seem empty while being rushed along to make room for the next group by your tour guide.

I mean, no one is claiming that the pictures aren’t sweet:

however, the reality of the experience is different than expected.

After our tour finished, we hopped into Eddie and drove to Zion for the night! Awesome tip: if you arrive at a park after hours (at least this holds true for Zion… I would imagine it is true in all parks since the gates must be open for cars to exit), you get in for free! We saved another $25 without the annual pass, which would have saved us either $99 or $119 by now!

 

We entered the park and took a long, scenic drive to a more populated area and decided to sleep in the parking lot next to an actual campsite to avoid paying a camping fee. We parked next to a trashcan and some benches that were surrounded by deer! Taylor was in heaven!

We cooked, ate dinner, wrote, and stumbled upon a wonderfully dreaded, tattooed, hippy couple – Taylor and Vincent – who offered us warm PBRs (which we gladly accepted) and told us to swing by their campsite after dinner.

When we finished eating, Taylor went to a bathroom to clean our dishes and I started to organize Eddie for the night… I was pretty sure that a ranger had spotted me and, when Taylor returned, it was clear that we had been caught. The ranger pulled around to tell us that we couldn’t sleep in the parking lot. Bummed, we drove to our hippy friends to see if we could fit Eddie¬†in their campsite! Unfortunately, they could not help us – but they did give us drinks and good company. We stayed for a bit, however,¬†we were feeling nervous considering we still did not have a spot to park Eddie and sleep. So, we said our farewells shortly after we arrived and ventured around the campsite in search of an open spot.

Another tip!! (I think I mentioned this when I wrote about Yosemite) – all (at least most) of the camping grounds claim that their campsite is full, regardless of whether or not it actually is, when no one is on duty. Unfortunately, this campsite was full… but there was a small spot between two camps that could fit Eddie! We successfully backed him into the spot and let the songs of the rain¬†lull us to sleep.

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