Leaving Flagstaff we took the 89 straight up to Page (with a detour to Wupatki on the way, which is in a different post and picture gallery). It was a gorgeous open ride and quite a sight passing the monument valley area on our left side. We got into town at 2ish and crossed the Colorado river on the 89 north into Utah and stopped at the Bureau of Land Management, the Big Water Station.
They were super helpful and gave us great advice on what to see, where to camp and so on, I’ll embed their link below. BLM is a great national department + free camping and they promote the ‘leave no trace’ initiative. At most BLMs, like this one, you just register for a free camping permit; I guess they just want to know how many people are camping there at a time. Haha, when we filled out the form it had a space for an emergency contact and the guy said “Just keep in mind that the only time we use that emergency information is when we’re telling people to come claim the bodies… so choose someone who can handle it”. Ok…
Ours was a great little site off the beaten path, where we didn’t see anyone within miles for 2 days unless they were driving through the park. No wild animals that we saw unfortunately, but word of caution it is kind of dusty so prepare for small piles of dirt on your sleeping bag/in your tent when you wake up. Even after we rinsed out our mouths we were still crunching on some sand. Speaking of rinsing… any and all water you need, want or should have you have to bring with you from outside the BLM land. Visitor centres have spigots where you can get potable water for free, but they recommend 1 gallon per person, per day just for drinking water; double that for cooking water, washing dishes, brushing teeth etc. The last morning at GSENM we tried out our portable solar shower and it was awesoooome!
We couldn’t drive too far up the path because although it was packed dirt, it was a little sandy for a touring motorcycle. So we set up camp, checked out the area, climbed the cliff nearby and read our books under the setting sky.
Honestly this area is awesome for 4×4 vehicles, with Bryce Canyon above you, Vermillion Cliffs below, even Zion to the west. It really sucked that on our bike we couldn’t make it to Vermillion, though you do need full-on 4wd there anyway. We looked for hikes nearby, and ended up doing Toadstools which was pretty cool – an easy, even hike and then you get to a small canyon and there are large, ancient stones balanced on little eroded spires. I’ll post the link to other hikes you can do in the area as well.
After hanging out for a bit, we headed to town to join a tour through Antelope Canyon which we’ll post about in the second part.