Our first destination in Page, Arizona was Antelope Canyon. The slot canyon resides on Navajo land, and includes two separate canyon sections; Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. The only way to view this magnificent canyon is by guided tour. We opted to do Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon tour. The tour was great and our guide was very informative throughout our tour. The tour last about 1.5 hours, and requires some stair climbing and willingness to walk about a mile through sometimes narrow passages. Be sure to make a reservation in advance. Backpacks, purses and tripods are not allowed on the tour, so make sure you can carry everything you need in your pockets. I just brought along my camera, and left everything else in the car. Also, make sure you stop in the town of Page (near the Walmart) to grab a snack and use the restroom; the restrooms located at the touring companies are less than ideal.
We got there early as recommended by the tour company, and we were actually able to take an earlier tour than scheduled. The group size is limited to 15 guests, which definitely made the experience more intimate, though the beginning of our tour was anything but. The tours in front of us were running a bit behind so the stairway to the canyon floor and first chamber were crowded with people. We kept an eye on our tour guide, Kendrick, and eventually made our way to the second flight of stairs away from all the people. The sandstone around us, which was smooth and dry, weaved around us in unbelievable forms. Kendrick informed us that the canyon typically fills with water about 12 times per year in varying amounts. The water, which follows a path of least resistance, forms the wonderful shapes throughout the canyon. The rocks themselves look like waves, so it is fitting that rushing water created them.
Throughout the tour, there are plenty of interesting and recognizable formations, such as a shark, ‘the Woman in the Wind’, the heart of the canyon, and a seahorse. But the formations are only a part of the overall wonder of this canyon; the colors are the other. The walls are lined with layer after layer of every shade of red, orange and yellow. Depending on the time of day you visit, you may be lucky enough to see a light beam shining through the crack in the canyon above you. Even if you miss the light beams the sun still seems to illuminate the canyon, giving you a wide array of contrasts and colors to keep you mesmerized.
When we exited the canyon, we looked back at the narrow crack we had just emerged from. It extends for miles, and I couldn’t believe the hidden wonder beneath us.