There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Antelope Canyon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antelope Canyon. Show all posts

25 November 2012

Sheep's Head (the finale)

The afternoon is slowly making it's way towards dusk as we go deep into the red desert for our final destination of the day.
Sheep's Head Canyon.
Barren and open is the landscape as we start our hike. In the silence you can hear the small pitter patter of feet. You look up and see a lone coyote watching from above.
Nerves settle in as the group gets spread thin, and I find myself looking over my shoulder. Will I become a scavengers meal?
The canyon closes in on itself, and a ladder leads one up. I see a black crow eyeing me, he lets out a piercing caw that echoes endlessly.
A small pool is below the wood planks we walk. Our guide tells us that snakes live in there during the warmer months, and that a dog and owner fell into the pool just yesterday.
I see the marks of a struggle, and shudder over what must have been a terrifying experience.
Resting my head against the smooth stone, a surge of power flows through me. The ancients believe in the healing properties of copper and other minerals.
Properties found in the Great Earth I rest upon.
As the sun begins to set, Stetson drives us out to a rocky butte in the middle of the desert to watch the sun go down.

No sound except for the occasional grazing cow and the click of shutters. Crimson clouds and purple rocks fill our memories.

23 November 2012

Lower Antelope (part 4)

Upon returning to milepost 302 after lunch, the three of us met Stetson, our new guide for the afternoon. As we were driving to the next canyon, he told us the story about how his Mom and Aunt own the land the canyons are on, the process they went through getting the permits and starting the touring business, and the challenges and successes his family, tribe, and community has dealt with.

As we parked and made out way to the entrance, Stetson stopped us at a sign marking the 1998 tragedy that happened in this canyon.

Thirteen people drowned in the canyon during a flash flood due to their guides negligence and inexperience. It is a heartbreaking story, but one that lead to better safety measures and awareness about the power of Mother Nature.

This is on the forefront of my mind as I look up to the darkening sky, and the very narrow canyon opening we are descending into....

No more than a couple feet are between the canyon walls as we descend down ladders into the belly of Lower Antelope.

I marvel at how different this place is from what was seen in the morning. More climbing, steep descents, twists and turns everywhere. A labyrinth that one can fall in love with.

We spend more time in here than any other canyon, and I could have spent more. As we reach the ladders at the end and start to ascend, I rub the sides of my face.....

as my cheeks are sore from the constant smile.

22 November 2012

Upper Antelope (part 3)

It's mid morning when we pull up to the entrance of Upper Antelope.
More cars and safari vans are also parked here, which is a shock since the tour so far has only been the three of us and our guide.

It's the most infamous of the canyons though, and as we enter the first room, you see why...

Upper Antelope is unique in that the top of the canyon is very narrow ( you can jump across it if one were allowed), and then opens to expansive rooms at the canyon's floor. The sunlight shines down from the cracks at the top, creating light beams.

The walls constantly are changing colors due to the minerals in the stone. You put your camera flush against the wall, point up, and capture surreal images.

Mother nature uses her tools of wind and water to shape artwork such as El Corazon ( the heart),
and a scene that to my imagination appears to be ocean waves frozen in time....

Like sand in an hourglass, the patience of the earth is an unstoppable force, yielding incredible results over many a millennium.

As we left Upper Antelope and broke for lunch, I found a roadside stand selling Navajo tacos, two dollars each. I grab a couple, find a rock, and sit in the November desert sun absorbing the day so far.

Can't wait to see what the afternoon will bring.


20 November 2012

into the Rattlesnake (part 2)

Our guide, Adrian, drops the car tires PSI, climbs back into our traveling suburban, and hits the accelerator through the deep red sand. We slide from left to right along the desert for a few minutes until we reach our next destination, Rattlesnake canyon. I see a great mountainous plateau to the east, and a narrow entrance to the south with a ten foot ladder to climb up into the unknown.

The canyon is named for it's similar shape to the slithering serpent, not as a home for the snake.
At least that is what Adrian tells us. With it being November though, I know that snakes have already gone into hibernation for winter. Excitedly, I climb the ladder and start exploring.

I find the narrow, winding walls somewhat claustrophobic at first, but the beauty within washes away the initial closing fear.

Squeezing through small arches, between walls, up and over stone, each turn shows strange new beauty. I turn around and see the light changing the colors on the wall, showing new formations.

The canyon is short, maybe a 1/2 mile to the end, but the wonders it holds are endless.

19 November 2012

Starting with Owl (part 1)

The blogging world is a curious one indeed, and can sometimes happily lead me to places and adventures that most likely would never have been realized otherwise.

Such was the case with a blogger talking about Antelope Canyon, outside Page, Arizona. She raved on and on about the canyon she saw, and how she couldn't wait to hopefully go back and do more exploring.

I did a little research on the area, got my permit ( it's all on Navajo land and thus one must have a permit as the canyons can only be seen with a guide), filled the car with gas, and six hours later, found myself in the Great land of the Navajo.

Not knowing when I would be able to return, I decided to see all five canyons in one day, through a photo tour. It was the perfect tour for me : in Nov. the crowds are smaller ( we only had three people plus the guide), it allowed plenty of time to takes photo's, and it gives you a greater sense of the area by seeing all five canyons.
We started in the early morning, meeting just outside of Page at milepost 302 on the lonely highway 98. We bundle into the suburban and drive to our first destination, Owl Canyon. I couldn't believe it, but a mere few minutes hiking into the canyon and we see two Great Horned Owls!

Each canyon was a separate and completely unique experience, so I'll detail each out with it's own post.
The formations of sand and stone as I made my way up Owl canyon took my breath away...little did I know that it would be the first time of many that day for that to happen...

Time to get connected to Nature.