Monday, April 7, 2014

Upper Antelope Canyon

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P4040068(Chuck)   Southern Utah and Northern Arizona have a long list of spectacular sights for P4040165the outdoor enthusiast to admire. Most of them involve the red Navaho Sandstone which dominates the terrain. Page, Arizona is home to Antelope Canyon which “spectacular” may not be a big enough word. The photos which may seem unworldly and mysterious are the result of standing at the bottom of the very narrow canyon and looking up. The canyon is 120 feet deep and the walls are cut with large swirls and curves from many years of flash floods. The flood water is a thick abrasive mixture of water and sand which over the years have provided a magical sculpture. As the light filters down to the canyon floor it is reflected off the walls and seems to provide an unending opportunity for amazing photographs.

Both Upper and Lower Canyon are on Navajo land and are controlled by the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. They require that all visits to the canyon are to be led by Navajo licensed guides.P4040119

P4040107We toured Upper Antelope Canyon and have saved the Lower Canyon for another visit. We took the 1:30 Sightseers Tour and were very pleased. Our guide is a regular photo tour guide and he gave us an added insight to the lighting conditions.

The canyon has been subject to heavy flooding in recent years. In August 2013 a large flood scoured the canyon and exposed two large boulders at the top end. In the process the canyon was deepened by aP4040095bout five feet as sand was washed from the floor. In August of 1997 a flash flood caused the deaths of eleven tourists which were trapped  in the Lower Canyon. These events underscore the need for caution when entering the slot canyons of the Southwest. A rainstorm may be many miles away but the water may still eventually funnel down a single narrow canyon.

We were very fortunate to have excellent lighting conditions on the day of our visit. It was a memorable visit and will rank as one highlights of our Southwest visit.

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