Monday, May 20, 2013

Antelope Canyon

Left Zion this morning--kinda sad, since we'd spent such a wonderful week here, being with Sue Ann and Jim, and getting to know some of the landmarks in Zion Canyon and environs.  It was a bit easier driving through the tunnel this time, as opposed to the first time through.  Headed toward Page, Arizona and Lake Powell, saw yet another variation on the colors and shaping of the rocks, buttes, mesas and uplifts--lots more green striping and coloring than what we'd been seeing for several days in Zion.  Passed through an area called the Toadstools, and the Vermillion cliffs.  It was overcast for most of the drive, with some rain, even had to turn on the wipers several times.  We had thought we'd not make it to Page in time to do any tours today but fortunately that turned out not to be the case.  We got to this absolutely beautiful campground--Wahweap--on the shores of Lake Powell--thanks to our friend Jim who gave us the tip before we left Zion, and realized we had time to do the tour of Antelope Canyon today, and thankfully they had an opening.

Let me say, folks, you've probably seen photos of Antelope Canyon at some point in your life, and it is every bit as spectacular as the pictures suggest!  There's not really a way to describe it to do it justice.  It's a slot canyon, only about 75-90 feet deep, but the rock formations and the way the sunlight comes down at different points in the canyon just make for some unbelievable photography.  Unfortunately, from were we are in the campground, the internet is not working like it should when I've tried to upload the pictures, so that will have to wait until I can get a better connection, hopefully tomorrow.  We rode into downtown Page from the campground, where we boarded a big pickup 4 wheel drive with oversized tires and two bench seats configured in the truck bed.  There was a large group of French tourists waiting for the tour when we were there, and boy were we glad that they got a couple of drivers and went ahead, rather than our having to be with them--a bit too loud and pushy for our liking.  We ended up with only 9 on our truck, which had a capacity for 14, which really worked out well, as we were soon to learn.

Our Navajo guide, Patrick, was really a great guide.  Before we left the station, he had been laughing about having Santa on his truck, and had seen me when I gave a picture card to one of the women who works at the tour company.  So he was giving us lots of attention--right when we first went into the canyon, he came up to me and asked me to give this other guide a picture, since he didn't believe he really had Santa with him!  Turns out, Patrick knew exactly where to stand, where to hold your camera, which wall to lean up against, etc. for every conceivable shot in the canyon.  He took my camera and explained how the automatic setting would not result in the best pictures, and changed the settings to get the maximum effect.  He was helping others in our group as well, taking their cameras and changing the settings for them because he knew how to get the best results.  One man, I think from Holland, got very upset and started yelling at him, What have you done to my camera?   and generally made a jerk out of himself.  Patrick just said, okay, sir, if you want me to change it back to the auto setting, I'll be happy to do so, but you would get much better pictures if you let me set it up for you.  Then, for the rest of the tour, when Patrick offered to take pictures of this guy and his wife at different photo op spots the guy just said, we've already taken pictures here, and just never listened to Patrick when he told us where to stand.  We were more than happy to have him set up our camera, and every time he offered to take our picture, we were happy to let him, and we got some stunning shots.  Wish we had a really good camera, 'cause they have a separate, longer tour for professional photographers--the brochure says that if you make a reservation for that tour and show up with a point and shoot camera, they have the option of kicking you off that tour and putting you on one of the sightseeing category tours like we did.

Anyway, we loved having Patrick as our guide and we really hit if off with him.  On the way back he had me sit up in the cab with him, as my cap had blown off on the way into the canyon area and he wanted me to show him where it came off.  Alas, we couldn't find it--he said the wind probably picked it up off the sand and took it to parts unknown.  So if there's some Navajo spirit wandering around Antelope Canyon with a Santa cap on, may it bring the spirit all the joys and blessings of Christmas!  Anyway, Patrick and I had a wonderful conversation as he told me about his 3 kids, how he was a welder who made his best money working on pipelines out of town, usually far away from home, and how his oldest, 7 year old Tayrick, asked him to try to find work near home this summer, since he was never home to do things when school was out.  So Patrick passed up the more lucrative pipeline job this year so he could be home to do more things with his kids.  Santa was very impressed!  So, when we got back I signed picture cards for each of his kids, and one for him too!, and he had someone take our picture together.  And since he had been such incredible help in getting me positioned just right for the best photos, you can be sure that Santa made an advance deposit in Patrick's Christmas stocking!

Got back to the campground as the sun was beginning to set, so we hoped on our bikes and rode on these fantastic bike paths all around the campground and down by Lake Powell, while watching the mountains and rock formations go through their nightly fashion show,  as the sun did its magical transforming change of costumes on the rock faces, peaks and valleys.  What a sight!

So folks, I'm about gassed here tonight, so I'll sign off--hope to get the pics up tomorrow.  All I can say right now is Wow to the red power!  Trisha and I kept pinching ourselves on the drive today to make sure it's real, all the different magical places we're getting to see.  We are so blessed and lucky to be doing this.  Nighty night boys and girls, sleep tight!


  1. Jack we are going to visit my sister Dwala (OHS 1961)in July. She lives in Denver. Then we all plan to take a trip (she has the car) that includes where you you are helping. We plan a loop of about 1800 miles, I think she said 4 states.


    1. Rod, that sounds like a fantastic trip! Glad to be of help, and I know you'll have fun!