The road into Arizona from Las Vegas and to the the main town outside of the Grand Canyon called Williams was pretty desolate. It is mostly desert and rocky shrubland but as you get closer to the Grand Canyon it starts to get greener. We camped just outside of the Grand Canyon just off what we thought was a fire track. It was good to camp for free but we did get hassled by a guy who didn’t like the way we were parked tucked away in the trees and thought that we might be hiding from him and his community of people who “live out here for a reason” but after we talked to him he was fine with us staying the night. He did take out number plate for his records though.
The next day we headed into the neighboring national park to see probably one of the most famous landmarks in the US: the Grand Canyon. It really is grand. It is so big that it is hard to get your head around it and you need to look at reference points to get your bearings. We hiked around for a bit and then headed onwards.
After heading out the other side of the Grand Canyon National Park we went through the Native American Hopi and Navajo reservations. Again the landscape turned to sparsely populated desert.
While travelling through the Navajo reservation we saw a spray-painted sign with a dinosaur and the text underneath that read “dinosaur footprints”. There was no way we could turn down that opportunity. Especially after driving through nothingness for a few hours. We were a bit confused at the lack of a proper visitors center but stopped anyway and got offered a tour by a kid who approached us before we had even stepped out of the car. The tour was interesting to say the least. We are not paleontologists by any standard but it was quite obvious that the information we were getting was pretty suss. A lot of the information just seemed completely made up. Confused but still grateful for the tour we tipped our guide and headed back to the car. It was then we saw the keys sitting on the driver seat inside the locked car.
Suppressing a rising panic of being trapped in the middle of the desert we called the hire company who more or less said that it was our problem and we would have to deal with it. Not knowing who to call we asked the Navajo Indians who were manning the souvenir stands for the number of a local locksmith. Suddenly we had a small team of people on the case helping us break into the car. Someone whittled out a wooden wedge and another produced a screwdriver and car antenna from somewhere and we were back into our car in no time. We were more or less forced to buy one of their tomahawk souvenirs in return.
Once we had internet reception again we looked up the site and it turns out that it is a genuine site that unfortunately has guides with less than factual information. Apparently a visitor center with barriers to preserve the footprints is in the works though which is good.
The same day we made it to Monument Valley in Utah where the desert landscape starts to become more rocky and you start to see impressive “monuments” formed by erosion.
That night we camped at a campsite next to a gigantic winding canyon and watched the sun go down in our deckchairs.
The next morning we visited the Four Corners Monument where the states of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are all adjacent to each other. It is the only place in USA where this happens and is a very popular monument. With the premise that you can take a photo of yourself in four states at once people lie spread eagle in the center of the monument. We didn’t have much time to waste and it would have taken ages to actually get through the queue and get a photo in the center of the monument so we just took a quick photo and headed straight for Colorado.
Next Stop: Colorado