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Horseshoe Bend: Sunrise Hiking In The Grand Canyon

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‘There aren’t many things in life worth dragging your carcass out of bed at 5:45am for, but hiking Horseshoe Bend is definitely one of them…’

My husband loves taking photos of anything sunsets. He’s not that fussed about where these occur, just as long as he can snap them.  I knew, since we were road tripping close to the Grand Canyon, there was zero chance of me getting out of being dragged into the barren desert at least once during our holiday (twice, actually…) and made to hang around while Les amused himself photographing the fading sun. I, on the other hand, spend this time in the desert worrying about all the odd animal noises and trying to decide if coyotes and rattlesnakes are attracted by the smell of apple Chapstick.
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Anyway, my odd fears aside, Les decided that Horseshoe Bend, on the Arizona side of the Grand Canyon, was where he’d like to visit. Being the agreeable person I am (and knowing I could steal all his photos later on), I agreed. Also: it was on the way to our apartment in the town of Page, so I didn’t really have a choice in the first place. Damn that evil genius and his mad mapping skills.

Sunset Hiking

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona is a very popular sunset hiking spot and when we arrived around a half hour before the sun faded, the car park was already overflowing. I’m not a huge fan of Other People (Introvert alert…), so I wasn’t overly excited about the prospect of sharing a romantic sunset with the population of a small city.

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Horsehoe Bend (very, very early in the morning)
We quickly decided (mainly due to the look of terror on my face), that we’d give up on sunset and come back in the morning. Surely everyone would be too lazy to get up and come down and watch the sun rising? Thankfully, they were.
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We drove out in the dark of the early morning, sleepily making out way towards Horseshoe Bend. I was thrilled to find just a handful of cars in the lot when arrived.
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We strode from the car park and walked the half mile or so down to the rim. There’s signage warning you not to wear sandals and these and flip flops are probably not a great idea. The terrain is very rocky and uneven. Anything that might cause your feet to slide around is best to be avoided when hiking. You don’t want to be perfecting that selfie and end up taking a long dive into the Colorado River.  For me, I was more worried about wildlife.  I had apple lip balm on and had to consider whether any beasties would sniff me out and eat me.

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OK, so maybe it was worth getting out of bed for.  Don’t tell anyone I said that, though.

Hiking Rules

Signs also warn you not to stray from the trail, which is wonderful idea. It’s very rocky and the trail is clearly identified by being the well trodden path covered in sand. There are no barriers on the rim as it would spoil the natural wonder of it all. Therefore, you need to be extra careful to consider your steps when getting close to the edge.
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Apart from that, and taking water if you’re going during the day (it’s hotter than hell; even in October), have fun!  It was well worth getting up at such an ungodly hour to watch the sun slowly rising. As it moves, it changes the colours of the red rock and you can watch the Colorado transformed into a green ribbon in the valley below.

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So beautiful
And, in case you were wondering, rattlesnakes and coyotes are not, it would appear, attracted to apple Chapstick. I can’t vouch for any other flavour, so you’ll have to take your chances.

The USA has so many outstanding beauty spots to hike in and drive through. They’re the perfect escape from the stress of city life. They’re also never quite as remote as you think. There’s no bad time to visit the Grand Canyon and, if you heed the rules, you’ll have the experience of your life.

Place mentioned in the article

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3 Comments

  1. I haven’t checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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