USA 2004 Honeymoon

60 days across North America

Phoenix - Denver

Dates : 09/26/2004 to 10/01/2004

The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes about four hours and we got there just in time to set up our tent and watch the sun set over the Canyon. What a sight! And we were not the only ones to think so as we were surrounded by other people taking photo after photo…. We then went back to our neck of the woods to eat (and carbonize the Italian sausage) while the temperature continued to decline… We spent the night hiding in our sleeping bags to keep warm as the temperature dropped to 38 degrees, needless to say we got up quite early… even if it was to go hiking We covered most of the South Rim and were in awe of the gorgeous views of the Canyon and Colorado River: at this location the distance between both rims is 10 miles and the depth 1 mile! The first person to explore the Grand Canyon rapids was General Powell a former civil war soldier (he actually had lost an arm during that war) who descended the Colorado River in 1869 with a few wooden boats. His expedition lasted four months but even surrounded by unknown grounds, rapids and Indians, he did reach the other end of the canyon.

We then went to Page where we spent the night. The General was still “present” as his name was given to Lake Powell, an artificial lake created in 1964 (easy, just had to put a dam over the Colorado River) that took 18 years to fill up. A beautiful lake surrounded by red rocks where one can rent house-boats to spend a few days exploring the premises and generally end up getting lost (that will be for our next visit)…

On our route to Colorado we stopped at Monument Valley that offers fantastic sceneries, especially at the end of the day. The sun was still out when we arrived, but storms quickly moved in. We drove the 18 miles of dirt roads (four wheel drive a must) that wraps around the red sandstone monoliths; the scenery and colors are out of this world. It’s in this Navajo Tribal Park that the Marlboro cowboy would ride his horse and that numerous movie scenes have been shot….

The next day we went through Natural Bridges National Park in Utah where three stone arches stand, sculpted over thousands of years by water, wind and frost. One of them is expected to crash to the canyon floor as the strip of rock has become so narrow it will no longer be able to hold up its own weight (perhaps our visit will help it collapse faster like Mount St-Helene in Washington State that since our visit has decided to wake up after 18 years of inactivity…). We regretted having to leave Arizona, like Utah it is filled with natural marvels with its deserts, lakes, canyons, red-orange rock formation that are all very different from the mountainous landscapes of Colorado and Switzerland

After a 12 hour hike

Grand Canyon, AZ

We finally arrived in Colorado and started with a visit to Mesa Verde National Park. Located on a plateau (Mesa), that is regularly burnt by wild fires, it houses numerous Indian dwellings of the 13th century that are located within the canyon cliffs. The park is very well conserved (even though the dwellings are 700 years of age) and we took a very instructive tour with a park ranger to visit one of the “villages”. This was the last park of our trip and as we already mentioned we have been extremely impressed by the work of the National Park Services. They do a great job both for making a visitors stay as interesting as possible and to insure the conservation of the natural wonders of the United States. We think that it is extraordinary and unsurpassed. By the way, the best bargain you can get in the US is the National Parks pass for $50!

We spent our last night at Pagosa Springs where numerous thermal sources nicely feed into different pools alongside the river and that we had already visited four years ago during our tour of Colorado. An evening comprising of steakhouse, presidential debate, thermal baths and finally champagne was filled with the nostalgia of the 66 previous nights spent during our honeymoon where our only worry was to find a bed for the next day…


We arrived in Denver on Friday night, picked up our two month worth of mail at the post office and quickly went grocery shopping to finally cook our own dinner… Boy is it nice to be home!

Lake Powell dam

Page, AZ

Soon to be sunset

Grand Canyon, AZ

“mmh… we’ll be home soon…”

Mesa Verde NP, CO

Her preferred Park

Mesa Verde NP, CO

A Navajo Indian

Grand Canyon, AZ

Boy was that a wet storm!

Monument Valley, AZ

« The one that’s soon to crash »

Natural Bridges NP, UT

The Valley entrance

Monument Valley, AZ

Vacation drawing to an end

Pagosa Springs, CO

« not as many invoices as we thought! »

Highlands Ranch, CO