Las Vegas was a great town to pick up a cheap steak dinner and if you’re lucky you may pick up a small win to pay for your night. Casino motels expect you to play $5 on their machines to get a dinner voucher, I did that and had a small win, so my meal & nights accommodation was covered, but I know if Michelle was here my win would have been better.

From the lights of Vegas to 50 shades of red. The national parks in Utah & Arizona deal in rocks and some amazing formations.

150 miles north and just over the Utah state line is Zion National Park, Zion NP was never on my radar to visit and in 2013 we drove right past it. Wow, we should have stopped as the park is quite small but the canyon displays an abundant of coloured rock formations, even the wildlife is friendly.  Its high cliff faces makes it hard to capture its beauty and the sun only lights up the valley for a few hours a day. The only way to access deep into the canyon is by a free shuttle services, so during the holiday periods it can be crowded and a bit of a wait for a lift.  This thanksgiving weekend they were expecting up to 1300 people using the service by 9am.

One of the announcements you see and hear a lot in the National park is “You are responsible for your own safety, so be safe”. Only last week a young girl fell from a cliff on the Angel Landing hike and was killed. The most deaths occur in the Grand Canyon National Park with people taking selfies and getting that little closer to the edge for effect.

From Zion NP I drove to Bryce Canyon National Park which is approximately 80 miles North/East, the forecast was for snow. I arrived at 10am, the sky was blue but there was small amount of snow covering the ground and rock formations. Byrce NP is known for its Hoodoos and there is record amounts of them in one location.   With snow predicted, I started to photograph all the rock formations with clears skies but by the time I arrived at the last vista, it was snowing than, the temperature was in the minuses.  As I arrived at my campsite it was -6 degrees celsius and windy and it was expecting it to get to -11. Dinner was going to be at a diner as I wasn’t going to cook in this weather.  As I looked out the diner window, I saw a Christmas scene, the wind was howling and it was snowing – it’s starting to feel like Christmas.

At 6am it was still -11 degrees celsius but the sky was blue, it was a great opportunity to negotiate the snow covered roads for some sunrise shots.  The views were amazing but an hour into the shoot I had lost feeling in my fingers as the wind chill factor made it feel like -15.

With so much snow in the park, the Rangers only opened 10% of the park and with the high of the day being -6, I decide to head for Arizona. The drive was amazing, around every corner the rock formations & their colours changed. I arrived at Lake Powell that is part of Glen Canyon National Monument Recreation Park. My aim was to photograph the famous Antelope Canyon but the opportunities where endless from Horseshoe Bend, to numerous other canyons and wildlife such as the endangered condor.

I was able to tick off one of my bucket list visits. It was to the Upper Antelope Canyon. Wow, I only wish the sun was out.

My next destination is Monument Valley but a massive weather front is arriving with snow expected, so I am not sure where I will get to next…