Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Escape to Lower Antelope Canyon

Descending from the cool air of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon into the high desert of northern Arizona proved to be an energizing affair. Specifically, an huge increase in temperature as the mercury rose from 58F to 102F as I arrived in Paige, AZ to tour Antelope Canyon on Navajo lands.

With some luck I was able to fill in one of the last spots of a tour group just four minutes before the group marched across the hot desert to descend into the cooler desert underbelly. My luck was fully realized when I began to talk to Carl, my Navajo tour guide. He was intelligent, witty, kind, and helpful.

The rest of the group was made up of eleven Polish tourists who were celebrating two graduations form Stanford graduate school. I spoke to one of the graduates a few times, but almost every other word the group spoke was incomprehensible to my ears. I was, thus, once again reminded of my limited knowledge as I meander through life.

We descended a metal stairway into the narrow Lower Antelope Canyon and immediately escaped the direct rays of the cruel sun and the 102F temperature of the desert. I didn't carry the Kestrel, but Carl assured me that the temperature was usually in the low 60s during the summer. A cool breeze made this unique experience more enjoyable. While I had walked through a slot canyon on my own a hundred miles north in UT, I did not have Carl to provide information about the canyon or how to take creative photos with my iPhone.

There is an Upper Antelope Canyon with an entrance just across the road. It is highly recommended by all who know the canyonlands. The best time to visit it during the summer is about 11 am due to the angle of the sun (pics!). That is precisely what time I arrived in Paige, but I chose to go with the Lower canyon because of fewer charter busses and the accompanying shorter lines. I believe that I made a good decision because my choice resulted in my meeting Carl.

Here are some of the many photos I took. As Carl stated before we descended into the cracked Earth, I took far too many pictures that seemed to confuse and repeat the scenery. As usual, I discarded most and selected some of the survivors for this blog. If I were a good photographer I might have taken fewer, but I tend to do a wide sweep and then look for the best of my lot. These photos really don't create the full aura of Antelope Canyon, but they might give you an incentive to journey through this and other slot canyons in the southwest.

The entrance to Lower Antelope Canyon
Carl leads us into the abyss

Carl was such a poser!
This photo is what I found after Carl snatched my phone
Super cool angle on an canyon upslope!

One of the Stanford graduates
They took hundreds of photos!
Carl through dirt into a light shaft
The exit slot
More of Carl's fine work!

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