Antelope Canyon: where the deer and the antelope do not play

Once Troy mangled his ankle in the Subway in Zion, all thoughts of hiking such trails as “Fat Man’s Misery” were out of the question, so we got in the car and drove to Page, Arizona. (Note: I love that there is a canyon called ‘Fat Man’s Misery’). Page is the gateway town next to Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam and it’s famous for being next to Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. This area is desert. The kind of desert with rocks and scrub and not a lot else. This is why we gave it to the Indians. No one at the time could think of a single reason to keep it for white people. As usual, we were short-sighted.

On the surface of things, this is what the area looks like:

You're probably thinking your ancestors made a good deal to give this to the Navajo

Take a few steps in and this small crack in the earth opens up and your job is to fit through this crack and drop down underground:

The entrance to Lower Antelope Canyon: I'll bet you're regretting that extra cupcake about now.

Welcome to Lower Antelope Canyon. To the best of my knowledge, there are zero antelope here which is kind of disappointing. I saw one cow down the road, but One Cow Canyon does not have a good advertising vibe to it. Maybe the Navajo are on to something because this place had a  boat load of people waiting to get in on the 24 person-limit tours at $26 per person. Tours leave every 30 minutes, so suck it, white man, the Navajo  are cashing in.

Getting into Lower Antelope Canyon requires that you navigate a series of metal ladders on a near vertical descent without handrails. This is the kind of place that makes lawyers wince.

Troy, sitting part way up one of the ladders.

Once you get to the bottom, you squeeze through a series of curved walls 24 inches apart. Ahead of you is a fantastic display of color, light and shapes sculpted by water:

Lower Antelope Canyon in all its glory.

It is overwhelming and you can’t help but be struck by this canyon as there is literally no place else on earth like this.

It really does look like this.

These slot canyons look like this because of violent flash floods – rocks and debris and the sheer force of water carve the canyon walls into amazing shapes. In August of 1997, 11 people died in this canyon in a flash flood. You are 35 to 50 feet below ground and there is nowhere to go if the water shows up. It pays to pay attention to the forecast, not just there but upstream as well.

How cool is this?

Your tour guide will point out features you may miss and they always know where to take the best pictures from (thank you Victor).  Don’t forget to tip your guide because the legions of European travelers generally don’t know they should. This is not a place for anyone with balance issues, orthopedic issues or an inability to stuff yourself into a narrow crack in the earth. For those who want to see the beauty but without the 2.2 degree of difficulty in getting in, Upper Antelope Canyon is across the road and you can walk in as it is perfectly level and flat.

Upper Antelope Canyon can be walked through by anyone, except Earl who was this old guy who staggered around in front of us two years ago. But I digress.

This is a bucket list place.

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7 Responses to Antelope Canyon: where the deer and the antelope do not play

  1. Gorgeous photos! And to think it all was created in 7 days 6,000 years ago. Huh. Fancy that.

  2. The Lord works in mysterious ways, on dinosaur ponies.

  3. scottwarga says:

    Great Photos, and your ability to describe things in plain English are both appreciated.
    I have lived in Arizona my whole life and have never been there. My wife does not do well in tight spaces so I guess she won’t be doing the lower canyon with me.

    • Scott, I am no fan of tight fits and I am positively claustrophobic sometimes, particularly in caves and narrow crevasses, but I think she’d be fine. It does not feel as confined as it might look. If she never does Lower Antelope Canyon, she must see Upper Antelope Canyon. It won’t scare her at all.

  4. David says:

    Wow, you certainly delivered on the photographs … as promised!! It must be hard going back to routine life after some of these trips. Hope Troy’s ankle is feeling better.

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