Describe the beauty of The Wave with only words seems impossible. Its lines, curves, shapes, colors, every detail of it is engraved in our minds and in our hearts. Without any doubt, this wonder of nature will remain one of the most beautiful places we have seen in this world.
Thursday, October 6th, 2022
When Nature is so beautiful and fragile that it must be protected at any price. And this price is luck. An incredible, almost indecent luck. The draw. Every day, hundreds of people hope to see The Wave. And every day, 20 permits are granted. 20 permits. What are the odds? Tonight however, a miracle happens in the form of an automatic email. "Congratulations! You were successful in the Coyote Buttes North Daily Lottery!" On the first try. Without even believing it. As I said, sometimes luck is almost indecent.
Friday, October 7th
After discovering Antelope Canyon, we're in Kanab early to pick up our precious sesame. It takes the form of a piece of paper to be attached to the backpack. But the sesame wasn't enough: we also had to attend a desert survival course. Venomous desert snakes, tarantulas, extreme weather conditions, risk of dehydration and sunstroke. We are advised to bring 4 liters of water per person. How do you know if a snake is venomous? Assume that they all are!
There's also orientation training, because to reach The Wave, there's no trail or signpost. We are treated to a few photos of the trail, accompanied by a brief description. The markers to follow are natural features, such as remarkable-looking rock formations. This is no laughing matter! Fortunately, Rémi reminds us that he scored 20/20 in his baccalaureate orientation test. So we're counting on him 😜
Saturday, October 8th
Our permit is hung prominently on Remi's backpack. We sign the register at the headtrail. We have plenty of water, caps, sunglasses, sun cream. However, when we start the hike at 8 am, it's still very cool. But as the sun rises higher and higher in the sky, we take off our layers of clothes one by one.
Just a few meters after the parking lot, we hesitate. Remi has the map and he recommends to keep following the river bed. Mom and I, we think we have to turn right right now. We inspect the map, the photos, the brief description. We finally agree with Remi. Let's recall that he had full grade in the orientation test! 😁
The desert is vast, hot and dry. We are alone. As expected, there is nothing to show us the direction. We walk sometimes on friable rock, sometimes in soft and fine sand. All around us, as far as the eye can see, the landscape is magnificent. Sculpted thousand years ago by wind, rain, sand and water, the rock formations rise towards the sky. We walk during 2 hours and a half. The heat becomes more and more overwhelming.
Finally, we arrive. After a long ascent in soft sand, we slip between two hills. And there it is. Shy, impressed, admiring, amazed, we enter The Wave.
It's another world. A work shaped by nature, more beautiful than anything man can create, and whose beauty speaks for itself. A world full of grace, made of harmonious lines and curves sculpted by erosion in the Jurassic age. That's wonderful! Alone in the middle of The Wave, we realize more than ever the chance we have to be here today.
We have been instructed not to walk in the puddles. They indeed contain rare and fragile prehistoric shrimps. We approach curiously these puddles to see these shrimps from an ancient world. They are in fact tadpole shrimps. How did they get into these completely enclosed puddles? We have no idea!
We spend several hours taking pictures and admiring The Wave. There is no doubt that this place will remain forever engraved in our minds, but we still want to immortalize these magic moments. The Wave is not very big, but it's full of corners, canyons and corridors, each one more beautiful than the other.
We go beyond The Wave. In the desert, there are other wonders to discover. There is even a second, secret wave, which we have to search and discover by our own means. We walk on the thousand-year-old rock formations, which sometimes have funny shapes. All around us, the desert offers varied and incredible landscapes, far from the sand dunes we imagined it would be.
On the way back, while we stamp in the hot sand and under a torrid heat, we realize once more our luck. We met about 20 people on The Wave. What an incredible luck we had to have been able to be part of them! Halfway on the trail, we meet two rangers and the sheriff! They ask to see our permit. Fortunately, we have it! The fine is $100 000 for people who venture here without permit, with prison term ! The Americans are serious about it: The Wave is a fragile treasure that must be protected.
The rangers make sure that we are not in difficulty, that we didn't see anyone struggling and that we have enough water to make the way back. When they learn that we got our permit on the first try, they can't believe it! "You have to go to Vegas!" the sheriff exclaims.
That's the plan, Sheriff! 😉 And not later than tomorrow !
I can't end this article without saying a big thank you to Rémi, without whom my mom and I would still be trying to find our way in the desert, wondering whether "The rock pyramid" is that rock formation over there on the right or on the left, and laboriously trying to convert 2 miles into kilometers to get a better idea of how far we've got to go. Rémi, your 20/20 in the baccalaureate orientation test, which was the running gag of the day, was highly deserved, there's no doubt about it!