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Winter at the Wave

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A couple of Fridays ago while I was working at the GRAMMYs rehearsals my cell phone suddenly began buzzing away with multiple text messages coming in. When I got a moment to take a look, it was Mr. Misadventures excitedly letting me know that we had gotten permits for the Wave.

In fact, our favorite guide and an all-around good guy, William of Dreamland Safari Tours had won the lottery…that is to say, the wave lottery! I wrote a little about the lottery process for getting one of the twenty daily spots for the Wave when we tried it out during our Southwest road trip last May, but William has written a much better explanation if you are interested in going.

The rest of the text messages were to say “I’m checking flights!” Twelve hours after arriving back from LA, we were headed to Las Vegas where we grabbed a rental car and drove back to Kanab, Utah. I did say I would have never imagined visiting Kanab twice in the same year when we headed there last December for our White Pocket over-night camping trip, but here I was heading there for the third time in less than one year!

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

We arrived in town just in time to have a late dinner with the most awesome of Wave Tour Guides for North Coyote Butte and his girlfriend at the Rocking V Cafe where we had the best meal we ever had in Kanab!

It was snowing, and after a good local beer and a great meal we tucked in because it would be an early start the next day. I am not one for extreme weather conditions, nor am I one for extreme sports, so I decided fairly quickly on the way home from LA, that I would not be doing the hike. My role was that of the driver and moral support, as well as an ace reporter!

It was a decision that turned out to be a very wise one indeed. The hike in and out of the area in Southern Arizona’s North Coyote Butte where the Wave is located is normally a 6-mile round trip. With the snow, it turned out to be out 10 or 12-miles (they said even up to 20, but that begins to sound like a fishing tale!) because Mr. Misadventures and William had to go around in spots as the trail or rocks were too slick. The temperature and wind conditions were quite cold too.

While Mr. Misadventures was fighting the conditions outside, I was nice and warm in the hotel working on posts for this blog! Seven hours later the misters returned. We had just enough time for him to take a hot shower, repack his camera gear, and hit the road back to Vegas for our flight home. The timing was tight but we made it.

And as you can see it was well worth the adventure!

There was a decent amount of snow on the ground when they began (one other person joined William and Mr. Misadventures, a traveler from the Middle East).

Trail toThe Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

This left the fragile rock difficult to traverse.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

But the orange really stands out in the snow!

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

I love how the snow gets captured into the waves…

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

More…

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

Hard to imagine that the Wave could have a bad time of the year to visit.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

You can see how the colors differ from other parts of the Grand Escalante and Coyote Buttes area.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

It is pretty massive. You can tell with these people in the frame. They were a couple from Seattle who had been trying to win the Wave lottery for five years and got selected via the online version on the same Friday as Mr. Misadventures (they don’t have guide extraordinaire like we do!).

Seattle peeps at the Wave

It is such incredible natural beauty, it is no wonder that people fight to get here.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

Blue skies peeking through…

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

The snow begins to melt.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

Shadier parts still hold on, but that blue sky is coming.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

And back at the start of the trail you hardly know it snowed at all.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

All photos were taken by Mr. Misadventures on his Canon Mark II. At first, I complained that he had made the images too “HDResque,” but then he showed me the originals and I can tell you he did not do that much editing, just some white balance, and other minor adjustments. These photos seem unreal which is why I guess it is a must-see spot.

As with our other trips in this area, I highly recommend hiring Dreamland Safari Tours, they are the best of the best when it comes to Wave Tour Guides for North Coyote Butte. We’ve hired him four times, so that should be proof enough! It will not be our last either.

How about you? Have you been to the Wave? Do you want to in the future?

For a visual summary of this post, check out my winter at the Wave web story!

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Winter at the Wave Winter at the Wave Winter at the Wave

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Yukti Agrawal

Saturday 9th of May 2020

As the name of your post, so is the photograph. You have taken amazing patterns of wave and that too with a winter background. Good to see these waves with snow but I can imagine how it must be very slippery and difficult to visit in this season.

Karthika

Thursday 7th of May 2020

I really did not even know this place existed here in the US and I have to admit those snow pictures are so pretty...almost as if they look better with snow than without.

Sarah

Wednesday 20th of February 2019

Wow, stunning photographs. Love them, especially in the snow (although not quite sure I personally would enjoy the hike that much)

Andi Fisher

Wednesday 20th of February 2019

@Sarah, I'm glad you enjoyed them, they were definitely "well-earned" and not your everyday hike!

Shane

Friday 16th of August 2013

These pictures are beautiful! I went to Arches, Zion, Monument Valley, and Bryce a few years ago but I did not get the chance to visit the wave. Really want to now!

Shasta

Thursday 18th of July 2013

How beautiful! I have never been to Utah, but it's definitely on my wish list of places to see.