Wow – Lower Antelope Canyon


Me in the canyon

Me in the canyon

Which one to do the Lower or Upper? The upper canyon would give very nice light beams, the lower more colors. OK, I go for colors. The morning tours are allegedly the most beautiful as you can get a purple blueish hue (if right settings used). I was still in the Grand Canyon in the morning and would not have time the day after. So, by deduction, I booked an early afternoon tour.

I had planned everything so well, including driving times and time needed to be there in advance. All good until the GPS indicated an hour “extra” to get from the Grand Canyon… really? is there a time difference? @#@! There goes the nice drive. Eventually, that hour difference was a mistake of the GPS and I got on an earlier tour this afternoon… I booked with Ken’s tours (an all Navajo Native organization with dito name?) after verifying the comments on Tripadvisor.

Original stairs

Original stairs

Was supposed to be good and value for money (and they were). You can’t get in without a guide. And when I was making the reservation, I felt a bit “taken”, why does it have to be like this? I know now.

The Lower Antelope Canyon is only open for public since 1992. (“only”, because for me in 1992, I was already “adult’ and therefor it is recent)

Back in those days, you could enter without a local guide. In 1997, a group of 11 descended into the canyon, at that time it was more like speleology, crawling down the steep walls to get in and out, only supported by some holes carved into the walls to put your feet and hands in.
Problem is… when flood arrives, and the canyons being BELOW the river bed, there is no way you can crawl up again in time, even if you would be nearby the entrance or exit. Flood came in that day in 1997

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The canyon closed for a decade, and when reopened, people could only go in with a trained, local guide. 2 companies operate now at the lower canyon. Last Friday, the groups inside needed to get evacuated as well as flood was about to come in. Taylor, our guide got also already involved in rescue operations, standing with the water up to his chin. We are in good hands.

I was trying to figure out what the connection was with antelopes, or was it a coincidence? No. There used to be antelopes in the neighborhood. When the canyons flooded, the antelopes came to drink. The smart ones approached by the natural entry and exits, the not so smart ones didn’t and fell in and drowned.

Anyways. Descending is already exciting, entering in a whole new world and roaming around in it is even more special. It is a game of light and color, twisting and turning with a new view around each corner. It is a photographer’s paradise, ideal to experiment with light and shadows, camera settings and compositions. You see shapes and forms everywhere. Many have names, some are apparently skipped on purpose. In any case, everywhere you look is beautiful…

On specific places you get very nice light inlets which provide special pictures. Taylor showed some wedding pictures taken there… not normal, really out of this world. Don’t want to know how much they had to pay for that! (and the wedding gown didn’t look cheap either).

At last when you have to get out again, and you look at the tiny hole you crawl out, I really cannot imagine what went through the minds of the first people ever entering here. They must have considered this a spiritual place.

See more pictures in my Arizona Road Trip Album.

Carved by swirling water

Carved by swirling water

 

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