We Only Froze One Night: An Excursion to Northern Arizona

Road trips are up there as one of my favorite things in the entire world, and the most recent trip to northern Arizona was all we could ask for.

The sense of adventure. The open road. Having multiple options available to you all at once! Podcasts! Does it get any better!?

In the middle of February, Alyson and I piled into the car and headed towards Page, AZ for a weekend out of the big city and amongst nature (sort of).

The First Night. Brr.

The first stop on the way up was in Cameron to pick up our permit to camp on the Navajo Reservation. Our goal was to sleep at the trailhead and hike down to the Little Colorado River. Little did we know those plans would be thrown for a wrench a mere 12 hours later.

We had to take about a 15-mile dirt road from the highway to the edge of the canyon. The road, minus a couple points, wasn’t too bad to drive on, even in the dark. (Shouts to Lexus’ navigation system!)

Once we got there, the wind was howling. Actually, howling is probably an understatement. I’ve never been in a hurricane but I feel like we were getting close. (Okay, that’s a hyperbole. It wasn’t that bad, but setting up a tent in any amount of wind over 15 mph is not ideal.)

Anyways, once the tent was set up and we were certain it wasn’t going to blow away Wizard of Oz style, we settled in and enjoyed watching the stars come out above us.

It, however, got cold real fast so we bundled up and called it a night. Annnnd then proceeded to be up nearly all night due to the damn tent flaps making a raucous as the wind NEVER DIED DOWN AT ALL!!! Oh, it was also very, very cold and I’m still trying to warm up my toes.

The funny part of this entire night was how I looked at the weather forecast and it said we were going to have a clear night above us. (Alyson’s never going to let me live that down.)

It’s funny, haha, because when we woke up, there were three-four inches of snow surrounding us. Though I didn’t believe it because, well, it wasn’t supposed to happen!

He’s an exchange between Alyson and me:

Her: I think it snowed on us.

Me: No way.

Her: I think it did.

Me: Okay, go look outside.

Her: *Looks outside and gets giddy*

Me: Holy shit, it snowed didn’t it?!

After trying to wrap my head around how we ended up camping in a snowstorm, I immediately went into NatGeo photographer mode and got my camera to go shoot. I, in my rush, forgot gloves. After less than 10 minutes outside, I ran back to the tent to warm my freezing hands. (I’m not used to the cold guys, stop judging!)

What’s This White Stuff?

After we both bundled up even more so than previously, we ventured out into the winter wonderland that surrounded us. Alyson was delighted to be back in the snow, and I couldn’t believe my eyes that I was getting to photograph snow on the Grand Canyon.

After endless photos, which included me making Alyson run ahead so I could take photos with someone on the edge (she’s a trooper by the way), we packed up and headed back to civilization. (We decided hiking in the snow and in sub-freezing conditions wasn’t something we really wanted to do.) Thusly, the road trip adventure really began, as we feverishly started googling places to go around Page/Southern Utah.

Out Exploring

Originally, we wanted to go to Alstrom Point, but we got all of 0.25 miles down a dirt road before we came face to face with a roaring river. Just kidding, it was pretty mild. As we couldn’t see how deep it was, the last thing we wanted was to be stuck in Utah’s backcountry. Just as we were getting ready to turn around, this huge truck came flying by and cruised right through the stream/river. We still decided it was best to not cross the Little Nile and set off to find another spot to adventure that morning.

We really wanted to go up to Grand Staircase Escalante. But with it being a four-hour drive away, that too was crossed off the list. Instead, we headed to Toadstool Hoodoos which turned out to be amazing.

The hike, a mile in distance, was about as flat as you could draw it up. For us, though, it was wet and muddy, which made for some interesting moments. Luckily neither of us wiped out.

After walking around what looked like Mars for a good hour, we headed back to Page and the hotel room. Considering we didn’t sleep the night before, I can’t describe to you how nice a bed and heat felt.


After a quick nap, we headed out to Horseshoe Bend for sunset and got lucky by nabbing a spot in the parking lot. (If you haven’t been lately, there’s a bunch of construction, making the parking lot smaller than usual. Also, everyone and their mother now visits.)

This was my third time to the Bend in the last 13 months, so I don’t think I need to go back for some time…or until I get my drone. [Please contribute to said drone fund by venmo-ing me :)]

With how weird/random the day was, we barely ate, so we grubbed at State 48 Tavern after sunset. It’s a great local spot if you’re in the area.

Slot Canyon Adventures

The next morning we woke up and made breakfast at the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook on my camping stove. You couldn’t have asked for a better view to start the day.

Then, the second reason for the trip, we began a tour to Secret Canyon, a lesser known slot canyon compared to Antelope Canyon. We chose this because, first, Alyson had already done Antelope and second, this tour treats you less like cattle and more like humans. It also means more time for photography, and that’s one of the main reasons for going.

The biggest highlight of the tour was how it started snowing on us in the slot canyon. Never expected to experience that, but then again, never thought I’d camp in a snowstorm either. A whole lot of new happened on this trip and none of it was bad.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend of exploring new areas, freezing our butts off, and simply having a great time.

Here’s to many more adventures in 2019!


Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

You can follow along the journey on Facebook and Instagram or shoot me any questions and comments about places to go. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when new posts come out!