Back in 2006 I did a small group tour which included some of the USA’s most beautiful and dramatic landscapes and national parks. The usual suspects were there – the Grand Canyon obviously, monument valley, Bryce and Zion national park etc. I chose a small group tour because I was too scared to drive on the wrong side of the road alone, and back in my “younger days” I was actually a bit of a scaredy cat and not as adventurous in my travels as what I eventually became. Anyway, I had a great time (even if I was the only Aussie surrounded by 10 Brits!) and it was this trip that led to my discovery, and love, of America and her great outdoors.
One place that totally blew me away was Antelope Canyon. Prior to the trip I had never heard of the place. It was part of the itinerary, just another stop I thought. But wow, seriously, this place blew me away!
Antelope canyon is a slot canyon, located on Navajo land. The canyon is famous for the light beams that enter through ‘slots’ from the sunshine above. The colors of the rock, combined with the light, provides some exciting and amazing shadows, shapes and textures. It is cool in the canyon, a welcome relief from the beating sun outside. Antelope is a photographers dream. It was actually made ‘famous’ when a photo of it was featured on the front of a National Geographic magazine some time back. Everything about it blew my mind, and as a lover of all things rocks/geology it was definitely a highlight!
As with all good things, there were some negatives as well. The main one being that you can not enter independently, it can only be done by a tour. The tours are given by one company, run by people from the Navajo lands. This is totally cool and acceptable – I understand it is their land, and it is sacred to them, and they want to protect it. But the tour is rushed. The canyon was busy, the guide whizzes you through in high speed, so fast that you barely get time to snap a photo. You get the feeling that you are in a herd of cattle, being pushed through to the end as quickly as possible! For every group that is taken in, another group is a minute behind, and you have to rush through to keep the flow going. This is a tad disappointing, as it would be nice to have a breather, to reflect on the beauty and get to enjoy it. I am presuming the ‘photographers tour’ is done in a more slower pace. This is available to those with the big fancy cameras who want to photograph it properly (I’m not sure how expensive this is, or what permits you need if you are commercial etc, I’m sure it can be found on the web.)
Anyway no matter what way, a walk through Antelope Canyon is a must do. If you are in the area, checking out the other fantastic places in this region, be sure to stop here to. It is one of those naturally formed places that will take your breath away with its beauty!!