What would you do if haunted by a photo? For the past few months, I’ve seen photos of Horseshoe Bend in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona everywhere. I must have “liked” the photos somewhere and since then every social media algorithm has been following me and showing me the photos. You’ve probably seen the photo a million times too but never realized where or what it was. So with my wellness vacation planned to Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah, I thought “its only 2.5 hour drive to Page, Arizona so why not visit?”
I’m not sure if this social media haunting was a sign or not from the universe but I thought there were enough to make me go discover this one. How many signs do we pass, dismiss and miss out on every day?
Driving to Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona
I had to ask the hotel front desk for directions, I was staying at the Marriott Courtyard in Page, Arizona and they said go past the Wal-Mart Circle and you’ll see a small sign on the right (about 5 minute drive). Well it was that easy except for the small sign and quick turnoff (watch your speed or you’ll pass it). The gravel parking lot is located off the road and when I visited in November at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday it was pretty empty which meant it was easy to find a parking spot, change my shoes (there’s lots of sand to walk in up the hill and then down to the rocks) and get my backpack ready with camera, water, snack (always bring water with you). There were a few small tour busses but I can only imagine high season summer that it’s packed with tourists.
Getting There – The Trail to Horseshoe Bend
It’s not quite walk there and take a photo. There is one company that does a tour that takes you closer to avoid the 1/4 mile hike up/downhill in sand. I tried to book with them but they wouldn’t take a solo booking nor would they return calls so I saved the money and did the trek from the parking lot on my own. Make sure you have good walking shoes as you are walking in sand for the most part and while there are a few marked steps for the most part going up it’s not a paved or easy path to follow. You essentially follow people ahead of you while watching your step as you try to take the beauty of nature all in.
As you reach the top of the hill, you think, “that was easy enough, I’m here”, because the seating area gives you false hope. You’ll then look down and see the people in the distance and realize you need to go downhill to the viewing area which does not have a railing or barrier so watch your footing. Right now there is construction ongoing to make the area accessible by summer of 2018.
As you walk down the hill you get a sense of “wow” as you get closer to the people taking photos of Horseshoe Bend and a ton of selfies.
Horseshoe Bend Outlook
The rocky areas along the edges are precarious so do be careful to watch where you walk, stand and take a photo. You can still get good Horseshoe Bend photos from a distance. I traversed a few areas and levels for different angles. I would have loved to sit down, lay down or play with different angles even further but I’m naturally clumsy so I took no chances.
Horseshoe Bend Video
Black & White Photos of Horseshoe Bend
I did ask for someone to take my photo which is always a mistake because they try to get all of me in photo and none of the attraction/landscape. I attempted a lame selfie a result of the direct sunlight. With the wonky lighting at 8:30 a.m., I chose to shoot in Black & White to mute out the lighting issues I had. When there was a millennial guy next to me that said “hi”, I replied “hey, use Black & White filter as it will give you a moody picture and help deal with the light and shadow”, He replied “is that the old timey photo look?” Defeated in my (old) age, I replied “yes, it is the classic photo”.
When I passed an older woman (70’s), I saw her not going to the edge but sending her husband, I said “try the black & white setting for that Ansel Adams look”, she replied “thanks, I love his photos! Hey hon…” as she called her husband over to tell him to use black & white.
For the best photo of Horseshoe Bend, I think you need to get overhead or have equipment that can capture the right aspect. For me, I was happy that I got to visit, walk around and shoot the photos that captured my moment in the sun.
Final Thoughts – Horseshoe Bend Visit
No longer haunted by the photos of others, I now have my own photos to hang on the walls at home in color and old timey black & white. As I made my way up the hill back to the car, I stopped a few times to turn around and be still – taking in the views, the sounds and the sense of this wonderful nature made attraction hidden by a hill from the parking lot and small sign on the road.
Would you have stopped on the road if you saw a small sign that said “Horseshoe Bend” not knowing what it was? I think for many the answer is “no” which is why I love to discover new things to share on my blog and give you time to pause and say “yes” to the small signs on the road and the signs that haunt you on social media. The universe is talking, will you listen?
My photos of Horseshoe Bend are reminders to stop and explore what’s beyond the parking lot, to stop ignoring signs and just be open to the world. What photos (or signs) are haunting you lately?