The incredible Wave at Coyote Butte North, Arizona
The Wave is a very small but incredibly scenic area in northern Arizona right on the Utah border, about 30 miles west of Page, Arizona. The Wave is on BLM land and requires a permit (if you don't have one you can face a Federal fine) and getting a permit involves either an online lottery (10 permits per day) or a walk-in at the Paria Ranger station (also 10 a day for the next day). I have been skunked about six times in the past so it was a real treat to finally win one.
The day before I went to The Wave in early April 2010 a major storm was coming in from the Pacific - the NWS posted severe wind warnings for my day and they were dead-on accurate. The winds were about 30 mph most of the day with higher gusts and colder temps (it went from 70 to 40 in one day). In spite of this I ventured out with permit, camera, GPS, and adventure in mind.
It's only about three miles from the trail head to The Wave - piece of cake except the wind created sandstorms - it was like being marooned in the Sahara Desert. Absolutely nasty - it felt like being sand blasted the whole way in. The wind was so strong it nearly blew me over a few times - taking photos was an effort because I had to time it for when the wind died down for a few seconds.
I planned to spend the entire day in the area but after about 4 hours it was time to head out - it was freezing (even for an Alaskan), sand was in everything (eyes, ears, teeth and cameras among other things, and the sky to the west was pitch black with the storm coming in. I made it back to the trail head just as it started to rain.
There is so much in the area to see - Top Rock, the Teepees, and other incredible formations so I will definitely have to go back again. If you have the chance to win a permit - go for it. Despite the lousy conditions I would go back there in a heartbeat!
Enjoy and good luck