Friday, August 21, 2009

Antelope Canyon

From my previous post I explained that two years ago we found ourselves visiting Antelope Canyon. The day before we had gone to Monument Valley and met Brian at the visitors' center. Brian was an Englishmen from Manchester. We were both looking at that magnificent view overlooking those famous landmarks, The Mittens. He was traveling alone and asked us if we would mind taking a photograph of him. We of course obliged and he did the same for us. When we told him we were traveling through the area and wanted to see as much as we could, he asked us if we had seen Antelope Canyon. We had never heard of it and he told us that it was incredible, and that we really ought to check it out if we had the time. He gave us an idea where it was and after we left the Valley, we headed towards Page in Arizona.

It was one of the many highlights of our trip. Truly we did not know what to expect as we pulled into the entrance, a dusty little parking lot which we had driven by once. When we realized we had missed the sign we turned back. It seemed that we were in middle of nowhere, so we thought but we saw the sign on the second pass and headed for a small kiosk with a lady sitting inside it and after chatting with her we found the next tour was in a half hour or so. As hot as it was we decided to wait because Brian had peaked our curiosity to the max. There were a few other people waiting and it wasn't long before we hopped on the Navaho Tours truck, and were heading helter skelter along the well-traveled wash which you can see in the photo above.

Above and below Gregg and I are hanging on for dear life. I had a seat right at the end of the truck and I grabbed my sun hat before it flew off my head and clutched it in my hands for the rest of the drive. I enjoyed this ride better than the last rollercoaster I went on when I decided five years previously that it was going to be the last one I would ever go on. This particular ride was exciting and so much fun but there wasn't a lot of talking going on in the back of that truck. There was, however, a lot of laughter because we were all merrily having our derriere's lifted off the seat at every bump. Everyone must have been wondering what was in store for us. Gregg was sitting on the opposite side and we were grinning at each other like a couple of Cheshire Cats more often than not.

We have reached our destination where you can see other tour trucks parked by the entrance to the canyon. The opening in the wall is on the right of the picture.

Here is a closer look.

Hat now firmly on head we wait until it is our turn to go inside, but we don't have to wait for long.

Before we knew it we were inside and looking at all the magnificent sandstone formations. In sections there was sunlight streaming in from openings above. In other areas it was very dark.

Our guide Carol Begay of Navajo Tours told us how the Navajo had given names to certain shapes in the rock walls, the bear, the eagle, and many more. She also told us that a relative of hers as a young girl had been the first to discover the canyon when a sheep ran into the opening in the canyon wall many, many, many years ago.

Gregg and someone else are taking photos.

It was amazing!

This is our guide Carol. She was the best and told us the history of this place. She also showed us how to use our little cameras for the surest shots. We all followed her advice as best we could and if we had difficulty she was kind enough to take a photo with each of our cameras, so that we could be sure of at least one shot we would be happy to take home with us.

In the photo below a lightbulb went off in my head and I suddenly remembered a very famous photograph I had seen of a shaft of light streaming from above in this very same spot. I believe the photo was in the National Geographic and I'm sorry to say I can't remember the name of the photographer but it was an absolutely awesome photograph. You had to be there at a certain time of the day when the sun was in the correct position. This is what many of the more knowledgeable photographers with tripods had come for and I watched them set up their cameras in the hopes of getting that same shaft of light. It wasn't a very strong light at the time, so Carol threw up some dust for it to appear more clearly. I got a little one that I was very happy with.

Below is as far as we could go as we stepped out into an opening with canyon walls surrounding us.
That's Gregg heading out in front of me.

This is a photo looking back at that opening.

There were plenty of willing volunteers to take each other's photographs and this one was taken by a nice young Russian girl visiting with her family.

Gregg wanted me to take one of him holding his Ralph Waldo Emerson book that he had been reading throughout the trip. It seemed appropriate considering our surroundings.

We are back at the entrance now waiting for all our fellow passengers to gather near the truck. Gregg who over the years is getting just like his father and knows no strangers on this planet, was chatting to another tour guide from a different company. He had pointed out this flower growing out of the wall of the canyon. We don't remember it's name, just the information that it was incredibly poisonous. Do you know what it is? I've seen it before somewhere.

We are on our way back now on another helter skelter ride along the wash but this time when another truck approaches, Carol slows down to a stop and she has a friendly chat with the lady driving the other truck. What is truly fascinating to me is that it is all in the Navajo language. Their conversation lasted for about five minutes.....

and then we were waving goodbye and resuming our speedy ride. I made sure I wasn't sitting on the end this time, being a bit tired and having visions of doing an ungainly somersault into the sand. I knew that there would be plenty of willing takers for my seat. I might not be going on any more rollercoaster rides but I will definitely look forward to that ride again when we come back this way. It was quite an experience and one I look forward to repeating.

One last photo of Gregg with Ralph Waldo Emmerson and we were heading to our next destination.

What a fantastic experience walking through Antelope Canyon, a place we will be heading for when we find ourselves in Arizona, hopefully in the not too distant future. Thank you Brian, we are in your debt.


  1. I've never been to the desert; it is one place that I hope to visit at least one time in my lifetime. Antelope canyon is a beautiful place. I've never seen sandstone formations such as shown in your photographs. I believe your plant (the poisonous one) may be jimsonweed.

  2. What an incredible place and absolutely amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing such an adventure!
    Sunny :)

  3. What an awesome place!! The sandstone formations are wonderful! Your photos are fabulous.
    If I'm so lucky and get to visit your beautiful country, this is a place I really must visit.

  4. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and awe-inspiring journey. Such treasures there are and so often they are overlooked - I don't think much gets past you!

  5. wow Denise! What a trip, what a great adventure!
    Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful pictures!
    This Canyon is magnificent!A place to visit some day!
    Have a nice weekend


  7. So many beautiful photos of such a magnificent place. Thank you for sharing these wonderful shots.

  8. Wow, I'm so green with envy! These sandstone shots are awsome!

  9. Wow, those "caverns" are beautiful. Isn't hard to imagine how the wind and water have carved those walls?


  10. Denise, this is some where I've never visited. Thanks for taking us along. Love you photos, they're outstanding,

  11. What a stunning place that must have been to visit and take those fabulous photos. Happy week-end.

  12. I have been trying to stay away from the word awesome. But since this is totally God's creation I think it is ok to say This is AWESOME!!!!

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  13. Linda, thanks for identifying the flower for me. I hope you take a road trip out west one day.

    Sunny, thank you and you are very welcome. The southwest is an area that I love to visit.

    Wenche, I was lucky enough to visit your beautiful country years ago. I have never forgotten it.

    Jabblog, you are most welcome. And between the two of us not much gets by us when we are on the road.

    Léia, I hope you get out there one day.

    JJ, I think you would have enjoyed it very much.

    Tricia, you are so very welcome.

    Steve B, thank you. I'm happy you like my photos so much, especially as I have been admiring yours for quite a while now.

    Kay, they were an absolute wonder, and to imagine how they were formed over thousands of years. It boggles the mind.

    Jan, thank you very much.

    Patty, thank you and have a great weekend too.

    Leedra, I am honored ;)

    Thank you all for taking the time to come and visit. Reading your comments meant a lot to me.

  14. Truly amazing photos!!
    You are such a jolly traveling companion - glad I came along ;-]

    EAGLES hat! Yo Philly (LOL)

    Aloha my talented friend

    Comfort Spiral

  15. Amazing photos! Is that and Eagles cap I saw? Makes me want to visit there!

    My CC - Oliver the Guinea Pig

  16. Oh my God, that's magic! Thanks for sharing!

  17. What a truly incredible place! Absolutely stunning and the lovely photos show it to perfection. Thank you, I enjoyed it immensely :)

  18. We saw something like this in Jordan a couple years ago and remember that feeling of awe. But good gosh, we could have seen this in this country? I'm going to mention this to Art. Your photos were absolutely awesome, Denise. Wow!

  19. I think the plant is the Sacred Datura. It's related to jimsonweed.
    Beautiful photos of the slot canyon - yours are as good as the professional ones I've seen! I've never been to Antelope Canyon. I'm putting it on my list...

  20. I'm awestruck by the color in those first couple of shots of the canyon.

  21. What an incredible place and absolutely amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing such an adventure!
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  22. I was telling Art about this post of yours and how great it would be to go and see it, too. What do you know, the travel section of the Honolulu Advertiser did a spread on Arizona and Antelope canyon. Amazing.

  23. How lucky you are to have been able to have toured this place. Absolutely breath-taking!