featured image courtesy of Jakub Jasinski http://www.jakubjasinskiphotography.com/
Nature is the most brilliant creator. There are many wonders in this world that can prove it. One of them is Coyote Buttes North, or the Wave, located in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, near Utah and Arizona border. This is truly a magical place where rocks are painted with shades of red and orange. The scenery pulls you in with its inviting wavy shapes. Once inside, you feel like you become one with this landscape. It is simply purifying! For its outstanding scenery, The Wave is very popular among photographers. Fortunately, it is virtually unknown among general public. This is a delicate land, which could easily be destroyed if an easy access becomes available. Advance permits are required for day use. The number of people who can visit the area is strictly controlled. Only twenty visitors are allowed daily, ten on walk in basis and another ten who win the lottery.
We were the lucky ones! All six of us (two families of three) entered the lottery and one of us won for date we requested. Hiking to the Wave became a highlight of our spring break trip to Arizona and Utah. On the day of the hike, we woke up early to get as much of a day light as possible. Everything was going smoothly until it was time go – one of our rental cars would not start! Nothing worked! We had no other choice than to leave one person behind to take care of the car and get it fixed for our next day departure. The owner of the car happened to be the person who won the lottery! With other family down to two (mother and son), I felt lucky that I was able to share this experience with my son and husband. But I had my own challenges. After a ski accident, my knee was not a good shape and I was afraid that 5.5 mile hike might be too much for me.
Permits to the Wave come with a map and detailed instructions how to get to there. This is not a path through the woods that can easily be followed. It is an open space with no distinctive landmarks and a very few trail markers. This is a harsh hot desert that can kill you. In 2013, three hikers lost their lives there. We were hiking in March and could not ask for better weather. The trail was not very challenging terrain-wise so I managed to follow my group to the Wave and back. I was in pain at times, but I am very happy that I was able to visit this spectacular landmark.