design - Land Rover section

 

Red Rock Expedition 1998 Itinerary(copied over from the Red Rock trip web site)

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Land Rovers in Canyon de Chilly

Sunday
7 June

Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments

 

Monday
8 June

Wupatki and Monument Valley

 

Tuesday
9 June

Monument Valley

 

Wednesday
10 June

moonument Valley and Page Arizona

 

Thursday
11 June

Exploring a slot canyon near Page

 

Friday
12 June

Page and Canyon de Chelly

 

Saturday
13 June

Canyon de Chelly

 

Sunday
14 June

Canyon de Chelly

 

Monday
15 June

Canyon de Chelly

 

 

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Day one

Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments

The group met at the Bonito campground within Sunset Crater National Monument. The campground was located next to the Bonito lava flows and at the base of two mountains. The Bonito lava flow presented an otherworldly feel with many hiking and photo opportunities.

Day one was our meeting day and was set up to be a free day to get settled into the camp and wonder independently through the parks. Some people had arrived the previous evening and others came throughout the day.

During the afternoon several of us drove about two thirds of the way up the mountain on a dirt road then hiked up and around to get a spectacular view of the lava flows and the Sunset crater from above.

Wupatki Pueblo ruins is a second national monument located very close to Sunset Crater national monument on the same loop road. Wupatki has a number of pueblo sites located close to each other.

A number of people visited these ruins during the day and the group's photographers picked our spots for late afternoon and sunset pictures.

Afterwards people returned to camp for dinner and talk.

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Day two

Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments to Monument Valley

The groups photographers were up at the first crack of light to get dawn pictures of pueblo ruins. The group was to form up at the Northern entrance to Wupatki at 10 AM.

I exposed the last of my loaded 4X5 film then headed for the assembly point for breakfast and to load film.

From Wupatki, we drove up to Monument Valley where we set up camp at the Mitten view campground. The photographers among us spent time taking late afternoon and evening photographs while the others lounged around camp socializing.

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Day three

Monument Valley

Sunrise: 5:02 Sunset: 7:39 Moonrise: 7:15 PM, Moon 100% full

We met our guide and went out as a group into the Monument Valley park. We were soon off the unguided sections of trail and happily photographing. We made a stop at an empty Hogen to photograph it with monuments in the background. We visited visiting the sand dunes, Totem poll, and a number of arches before returning to the campground for lunch.

Pictures of totom pole rock
Sand dunes and Totem pole monument

During Lunch some of the non photographers decided that they have ether seen enough of the valley or had enough off roading for the day and wanted to settle into a quiet afternoon at camp. The rest of the group met our guide and headed off to Mystery valley. Here we got lots of deep sand driving practice. We visited a number of arches, petroglyphs and Anasazi cliff dwellings.

Land Rover tour of Monument Valley
Touring Mystery Valley

We climbed up into an arch to discover a small Anasazi dwelling tucked away in the corner. We encountered several flowering cactus and tasted sour berries. We arrived back in camp, tired but with a lot of exposed film.

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Day four

Wednesday, June 10

Dawn saw the group photographers out taking sunrise pictures. Michael and I went to the East of camp to concentrate on side lit monuments.

Later we had breakfast and broke camp then started the drive to Page Arizona. We encountered strong head winds which slowed the series cars considerably.

When we reached Page everyone stopped in town to resupply the larder then headed off to the Lone Rock campground on the edge of Lake Powell.

The group set up camp alongside the lake in an area on the other side of deep sand from the other campers. Most of the group decided to spend the afternoon socializing and playing in Lake Powell. Michael and I went exploring in the Buckskin Gulch area until evening. After a lovely drive on federally maintained trails and a late afternoon hike along a canyon we arrived back at camp somewhat after dark.

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Day five

Page

Everyone in the group except Michael and I decided to spend the day relaxing alongside the lake and socializing.

Michael and I spend the morning and early afternoon hours exploring the Upper Antelope slot canyon (Corkscrew). The light cooperated with us allowing us to take some spectacular otherworldly pictures of the red, yellow and orange canyon walls.

We arrived back at camp in the late afternoon where we spent a little time cleaning sand out of our camera gear and socialized into the evening.

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Day six

Page to Canyon de Chelly

Day six was set up mainly as a travel day to go from Page to Canyon de Chelly. The owners of V8 Rovers decided that they wanted to travel at their own speeds instead of series speeds so everyone proceeded on their own. I was dealing with a lack of power and overheating throughout the trip because of engine problems and quickly found myself alone to make the trip at my best speed. John Hess encountered generator and electric fuel pump problems along the way. David Walker was convoying with John so between the two of them they effectively dwelt with each problem as it appeared.

Most of the group arrived at the Thunderbird campground at the base of the canyons. Kelly Howard had injured herself prior to the trip so the Howard's opted for a motel room where Kelly could rest her spine in a bed for the night before going into the canyon. The Washes decided that they had had enough camping and decided to spend the night in a motel. The rest of us set up camp in the campgrounds and checked over our cars prior to going into the canyon for three days and two nights.

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Day seven

Canyon de Chelly

We will met up with our guides for the trip in the park headquarters parking lot and divided up into two groups of five cars with one guide per group. We locked hubs and proceeded up the river into Canyon de Chelly where we stopped frequently to look at and photograph petrographs, Anasazi ruins and red canyon walls brightly varnished with mahogany stripes. The guides provided us with history of the area as we proceeded along the canyon.

We arrived at the base of Spider Rock in the late afternoon when the lowering sun was full on the rock. We had ample photo opportunities as we set up camp.

Land Rover camping Spider rock in Canyon de Chilly
The Green Rover camped by Spider Rock

After camp was set up near the base of Spider Rock our guide took us for a tour of his family's hogan.

That night our guides entertained us by singing traditional Navajo songs around the campfire.

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Day eight

Canyon de Chelly

We returned back along Canyon de Chelly to the canyon 'V' then drove up the other side of the 'V' into Canyon Del Muerto. We took our time making frequent stops for additional pictures. The AM sun highlighted different canyon walls in Canyon de Chelly so we made frequent stops heading back to the 'V' for photo opportunities. We were on a kind of leisurely trip through the canyons that very few non-Navajo ever get to take. Everyone with cameras got some very spectacular photographs and some wonderful memories to take home. We set up camp at the base of the mummy cave Anasazi ruins. Once again we spent the night where very few visitors have slept and were treated to the sights of the last light falling on Indian ruins that were abandoned before our ancestors set foot on this continent.

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Day nine

Canyon de Chelly

This was the official last day of the tour. From here people were to proceed on their own to ether get back to their jobs or to visit other places along the way home.

We re-divided our group into those who wanted to get out of the canyon quickly in order to have plenty of daylight to proceed to their next destination and to those who wanted to savor the experience of the canyon for as long as they can.

The second group made frequent stops on the way back to photograph the canyon and ruins under different lighting. We got our of the canyon in the late afternoon.

After saying our good-byes to Michael McKeag, John and Alex Hess, David and Alexander Walker and I opted to spend the night at the Thunderbird campground and getting a start the following morning.

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All and all I thought it was a good trip. It would have been better for me if I had not spent the travel time dealing with engine loss of power and overheating. But except for spending some time off on the side of the road letting the engine cool down I did OK.

I leaned a LOT about planning and leading a group tour that will make future tours go more smoothly and be even more enjoyable for the participants. I learned to better set group expectations when advertising a tour. The non photographers in the group had not realized how often photographers like to stop for pictures nor how long each stop would take.

I also need to figure out how to best convoy series and V8 rigs to keep the V8 crowd happy.

Oh yes, I plan another Red Rock tour. Next time it will be advertised as a PHOTO safari. The Canyon de Chelly experience will be repeated, Probably at the beginning of the tour this time. Monument Valley will be repeated with some variations.

Stay tuned.

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