We were halfway into our most recent trip when we got to Arizona. The agenda for the day was to see Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon located in a Navajo land. Formed by erosion of sandstone, the canyon is continuously changing with the effects of water, wind and time. We (and by we I mean my super planner of a boyfriend) had scheduled a tour of the upper canyon for the morning and the lower canyon for the afternoon.
We were advised that the best time to see the canyons is at about 10:30 in the morning, so we had made a reservation for said slot. The waiting area is open, not much seating and except for the road coming into it, nothing much around except the vast dessert that surrounds.
The upper canyon is a few miles from the waiting area. Our group boarded a small open vehicle that can seat five on each side. The drive to the canyon offered us a chance to see the dessert leading up to it, lasting approximately 10 minutes.
Entering the canyon was quite an experience. Our guide had explained that at this time of year, we most likely will only see three light beams — the canyon is known for this — due to the position of the sun during the season. Immediately after entering the opening we were in awe. I could honestly say it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to.
Our visit to the lower canyon was a different experience. After about a five minute walk to the opening, we had to descend into it using flights of stairs, some much steeper than others. The lower canyon is bigger than the upper, and we had to walk through narrower passages and climb up and down stairs throughout the tour. There are also wider openings where you could see the sky, providing a contrast of the light from the sun and the recesses of the canyon.
It truly was an amazing few hours of seeing these great wonders of nature. As I reflect on that day, I remember being struck with a story our guide told us about a former visitor who took a screw driver and used it to scratch some of the canyon walls. I had a hard time wrapping my head around this. Why would one want to destroy something that’s a gift to even just see, let alone experience? (This was apparently the reason backpacks and other bags are no longer allowed during the tour.) It is sad that we oftentimes are instruments of destruction instead of helping protect and preserve these treasures.Where to eat: In between the tours we had lunch at El Tapatio. The service was fast, and the food was a good introduction to the Mexican food in the area. I had the el pastor tacos — a perfect portion size for lunch and definitely lived up to my expectations.
More from the trip soon!