(Events of Saturday April 11th, blogged Tuesday evening April 14th)
Woke up cold and in a foul mood. Had bad dreams that lingered and left me homesick, grumpy, and over the Grand Canyon. We had stayed an extra night and it was time to move on. Maybe the drive would clear my head. It sure seemed to clear out Annie’s. We passed red sandstone mesas and flat scrubby deserts and… what’s this?? BOAT STORAGE?? Where the heck have we gotten to now??
We were in Page, Arizona, very near Lake Powell I came to learn, and the site of an amazing looking place I’d stumbled upon on one of those “25 Places You Have to Visit Before You Die” lists that are always circulating on FaceBook: Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon (so named because hundreds of years ago antelope actually used to roam these parts) is what is known as a slot canyon- a canyon formed by the pressure of water rushing through rock which causes it to become very narrow and deep. Like a slot! This canyon is located on Navajo land, and so can only be visited on a guided tour.
Traveling with Annie brings many rewards, but it also brings many complications. Balancing her needs/safety/comfort against mine can sometimes be a challenge. For instance, when I’m driving all day, she’s resting. So when I’m done driving and want to rest, I often need to exercise her instead. Also, there are a lot of places I want to go that she can’t, and I have to decide if the issues caused by leaving her alone are worth what I will potentially get out of the activity. Most of the National Parks we’ve visited have had fun looking hikes I would have enjoyed, but knowing how much Annie also enjoys hikes, it doesn’t seem fair to go on one without her. Leaving her briefly for shopping or restaurants is easier to justify. I digress, because Annie wasn’t going to be allowed to come into the canyon with me. And the weather was just a touch warmer than I like it to be to leave her in the van. The canyon guide offered me some local kennel options, but honestly, she would be so distraught if I plonked her down in a strange cage and left her somewhere totally foreign that the emotional damage would likely outweigh any discomfort she might encounter in a warm van, with windows halfway down and a huge water bowl. This canyon was a once in a lifetime thing, so I found the biggest, shadiest tree I could and bit the bullet.
And it was mind blowing! Seriously-you NEED to visit this place! It doesn’t look like much from the outside…
But inside…. whoooaaahhhh. It’s a twisty, turny, crazy maze with light shining through at funky angles and illuminating all the striations and colors on the walls.
And then we had this brilliant Navajo guide who knew all the best camera angles and settings to get the coolest shots. In this one, if you focus on the brightest light patches at the center, it resembles a twisting candlestick with a flame shooting off to the right at the top of it.
In this one, the shadow outlines the form of an illuminated bear.
Here we have a heart. Seriously, it started to get to the point where I was like “could we just focus on how cool the canyon is and enough with making sure all 14 of us get a wacky shot around every corner?”
My attempt at a personal photo alongside of his. I look even more stoned in his.
This one did kinda blow my mind though. It looks like I’m holding a lit torch!
It was so magical in there and so unlike anywhere I’ve ever been and just stunning. There were also spots with fabulous acoustics that could make your voice do crazy things and markings where whirlpools had formed and odd tree limbs stuck in crevices that he could date to the month and year, but none of those make good photos.
And, spoiler alert, Annie was just fine and none the worse for wear after two hours on her own.
Just around the corner from Antelope Canyon is another amazing spot that the interwebs alerted me to – Horseshoe Bend. It’s basically just a bend in the, say it with me now, Colorado River (previously spotted by my campsite in Moab and forming the Grand Canyon), but it’s carved out this huge lump in the middle that is just stunning to look at. Of course, first there’s a mile long walk in the hot sun to reach it (Was I really freezing under layers of blankets just this morning?)
Phenomenally breathtaking. The water is an insane greenish blue, it’s just beyond. You also have to get super close to the really uneven rocky ledge to get anything close to a proper photograph, so it’s a bit unnerving. If the weather had been cooler and I had been less tired from the day it would have been a perfect spot for a picnic.
Did I mention that the mile walk in the hot sun to get there was DOWNhill? Which means UPhill alllll the way back. Ugh.
On the road again, and here’s a familiar sign… where could we possibly be headed next?