Horseshoes and Hogans / by Shane Henderson

To conclude our holiday travels in Arizona, Anna, Tegan, Riley, and I decided to go on an epic, mini road trip. We took a rather roundabout route back to Texas and passed through Monument Valley, Moab, Durango, and Santa Fe, before making it back to the Lonestar State. Although we were ill equipped for the freezing winter weather we encountered at every stop, we braved the cold to check out some of the incredible natural sights of the southwest. (Utah and Colorado are still considered part of the southwest, right?) 

On Day 1, we drove north from Sedona to Page, AZ, wandered through Antelope Canyon, caught the sunset at Horseshoe Bend, then continued on to our incredible Airbnb in a traditional Navajo Hogan. On Day 2, we explored Monument Valley in the morning before continuing on to Moab. 

Natural Wonder That Was Somehow Both Disappointing And Totally Worth It

After seeing countless photos of Antelope Canyon, with its flowing walls and gorgeous shafts of sunlight, we knew we had to check it out for ourselves. What we didn't account for, although we totally should have expected, was the hundred other tourists who were crammed into the shoulder width space with us. The sheer volume of people trying to file through the tiny canyon made it impossible to stop and really appreciate the surroundings, or to capture any photos without crowds of people in the shot. We also were disappointed to learn that it wasn't the right time of year for those famous sunbeams, which come in the summer months when the sun is more directly overheard. Despite these surprises, it was still an incredibly beautiful place, unlike any I have ever been to before, and one I would love to visit again. 

Worst Scenic Viewpoint For Those Afraid Of Heights

I am not afraid of heights. But if I was? I would stay far away from Horseshoe Bend! Seeing all of those people clamoring on the edge of a thousand foot cliff while taking selfies was enough to make anyone nervous! If the thought of a dizzying precipice doesn't bother you though, there is no better place to watch a sunset.

Coziest Earthen Hut Around

For our one night on the Arizona-Utah border, we wanted to stay as close to Monument Valley as possible. This only left a few options: a kitschy motel, an uninspiring bed and breakfast, or a traditional navaho hogan made of timber and packed earth, owned by a very friendly local potter. We went with the hogan. It was awesome. It dropped to twenty degrees that night but the hogan stayed cozy and warm. We chatted with our host Lawrence for a while about his pottery and his impressive knack for languages, then we opened a bottle of wine and played Go Fish for hours.