In Search of the Wave

Looking through the booklets of Utah we found out that there is so much to see, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Arches National Parks to name only a few all so beautiful, all so different and all so close. The glossy photos in the adverts made you want to go and see every arch, hoodoo and canyon. One photo of a particular swirling, red, orange and pink striped rock formation was in every booklet but strangely enough with only a title "the wave" and no description how to find it. Well we'll be sure to see it somewhere.

After touring around Zion National Park where Olivia decided it was time for her to start walking, we had seen emerald lakes, pink mountains and dark canyons but no "wave".

To reach Bryce Canyon we chose to drive along a 80km dirt road through the grand staircase national monument. Well, the guide book wrote that it was recommended for four wheel drives only and practically impassible if it had rained in the last week. Our van drives, it has four wheels and, hey, it's no raining. So what's stopping us? The sceenery along the dirt road was breathtaking changing from grey desert into canyons lined with trees all the colours of autumn and then on to pink and white mountains and there our journey nearly ended.

Bryce Canyon in snow

Passing by goblin-like rock formations the reddish sand road then snaked up a hill, the perfect place to film said Rupert "just drive past me then and up the hill". It was a good idea and it looked so beautiful but here's where the four wheel drive was needed that we just didn't have. Half way up the hill the van gave up. With camera still rolling Rupert patiently waited for us to carry on to the top of the hill and we tried but the hill was just too steep and the van wouldn't move another inch. Well at least it's not raining, but wait, isn't that a drop of rain I see on the windscreen? So with Yannik and Fabio standing in the rain at the side of the road (weight reduction for better uphill driving. See test three, West Coast story), Rupert started to push. Somehow with a lot of gas, sweat and handy rocks to jam behind the wheels every so often, we made it yard by yard to the top. I would like to note that the hill would have been totally impossibe if we didn't have our super Fulda tyres.

Luckily during the night the rain had changed to snow so we experienced Bryce Canyon at it's most spectacular. On the road to the Arches National Park we even found time to go sledging on plastic bags.

In the Arches we saw arches at sunrise, arches at sunset, big arches, small arches, long arches and every other kind of arch. We then moved on to Monument Valley where we spent Halloween evening frightening french people in the van next door who'd never seen three "trick or treaters" dressed up as bats, ghosts and witches. Monument valley and especially the mitten view campsite were incredible, the campsite was surrounded by the towering buttes, a camp with a better view would be hard to find.

Looking through the booklets of Utah we had seen almost everything except the wave". So where is it? Well some people put it at Paria canyon, so off we went in search of the wave. There was a trail leading into the narrow Paria canyon which stayed on the river bank. Unfortunately not on the same river bank! After wading through the river thirty six times we met a couple so we asked if it was the right way to the wave. "Hey, no, that's way over in the coyote buttes wilderness area". So we walked back crossing the river another thirty six times and prepared to try again. It's loking for the wave then you have to find it.

Rupert und Buggy im Paria-Canyon

The next day after getting directions from a cafe owner we set off again. So she said "follow the river bed and then walk around the jagged mountains", well did she mean those mountains or those over there. We took the easy option of following footprints in the sand until we realised that whoever made them was as lost as we were. So utterly dejected we started to walk back, all the time complaining about people who put photos of inaccesible, hidden waves in their booklets. Once again we met a couple who this time were going to the wave, we couldn't believe our luck and followed them until we reached the most amazing place I've ever seen. The walls are striped every colour from the palest yellow through to the deepest vermillion red. Each stripe flows across the floor and up the sides where it melts away into the rocks above. It's a magical place full of soft curves leading into other waved passages. Truly incredible.

At last we had found "The Wave".

(once you see a photo you have to find it, that's why we haven't added a picture so that you don't get frustrated looking for the hidden wave)