"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Unbelievable Colors of Antelope Canyon, AZ

Page, Arizona
Page Lake Powell RV Campground

Here's a teaser pic!  This is Upper Antelope Canyon.  I've always wanted to go here.  WOW!! Everyone needs to see this!  You need to see these your large screen PC!  I won't write much, the pictures say it all. Campground review at bottom.  It's over 600 ft. long and over 100 feet tall.  You walk mostly on a nice, sandy floor.

Summarized from the web:
Antelope Canyon is a popular location for photographers and sightseers, and a source of tourism business for the Navajo Nation. Private tour companies have been permitted to offer tours since 1987. Photography within the canyons is difficult due to the wide exposure range made by light reflecting off the canyon walls. 

We took the 12:30 tour.  An hour earlier would've given us a better shot at the beams, but it was full.  We took Ken's Tour and it was $28 each with an additional $8 Navajo fee. Our guide was very helpful showing us all how to adjust our different camera settings to get the most out of the conditions and capture the best colors. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona. It includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew.

Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding. The Upper Canyon is the most frequently visited by tourists for two reasons. First, its entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing. Second, beams (shafts of direct sunlight radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon) are much more common in Upper than in Lower. Beams occur most often in the summer months, as they require the sun to be high in the sky.  Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic 'flowing' shapes in the rock

The road to Antelope Canyon is gated by the Navajo Nation and entry is restricted to guided tours led by authorized tour guides.

Here we go.  You can't see the canyon as it's underground.  There are a few very steep ladders you have to use to get down.  So steep it's easier to go down backwards.

One of the ladders.

You wander through the narrow slot canyon, you're jaw just wide open amazement of the colors, patterns and the way the sun bounces around down there.

Hakuna Matata.  The Lion King on the right

I don't know what the significance of the dolls were on this guys backpack, but I though it was interesting.  I should've asked him.

This one is know as "The Turtle".
One of the few beams we were able to capture.  The sun has to be at just the right point in the sky.

Blues, purples, pinks, yellows, reds and oranges.  Just amazing!!

Swirls everywhere made by years and years of water rushing through.

The famous, "Twin Peaks".  You had to get on the ground and take this picture from a difficult angle.

Beautiful, right?

I forgot the name of this one.  Pretty impressive as it juts out.

You had to squeeze through some of the areas.

This is looking up at the "ceiling" where the water dripped down.

Taken laying down on the canyon floor.

Looking up.

Looking along the wall (L)  and straight up (R).

Coming out of the canyon.  See how narrow?

Looking back, you can't even tell this magical place is down there.

One of the dinosaur tracks in the stone.

Kind of a shame that when you look the opposite way of the canyon, you see the smokestacks of a nearby coal factory.
For those of you that ask what my favorite thing is that we saw or did this year on the road,
Campground Review:
Page Lake Powell Campground.  Definitely the best price in the area for full hookups.  Nice hike right out of the campground.  Clean and nicely spaced.  Fairly quiet.  When talking to the staff, make sure you talk to the blonde gal (Melissa I think).  Confirm, confirm, confirm is all I can say.  They messed up our reservation two times and we had to move twice.  I was almost ready to just leave but it's only 3 miles to the canyon.  Well worth it in the end.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One Day in Zion National Park

Hurricane, UT
Sand Hollow State Park

We have been to Zion National Park before, but we had some extra time while we were in the area and decided to spend a day at the park to hike Angels Landing.  The weather cleared and all was a go.  Just a few days before there was a terrible flash flood that killed some members of a family in the town nearby.  Just after we left, there was another flood that killed some hikers in Zion.

The above picture is the trail which starts climbing on some switchbacks almost right off the bat. It's 3 miles to hike to Scouts Lookout and just over another mile if you continue onto Angels Landing.  I love to hike, love a challenge and love to climb, but I'm not too crazy about any possibility of falling to my death.  And others have died on this hike before.  No thanks.

The trail starts off friendly after you cross the river.
The picture on the right shows Angel's Landing at the tippy top.

Closer up, see those tiny specks on the top?

How about now? Crazy, right?
What amazes me is that my parents actually hiked to the top of Angel's Landing many years back.  I'm very impressed.  There are chains along the ridge that you hang on to.


It's getting pretty hot, but since we started the hike a bit later, there is actually more shade along the canyon walls.

Finally, we make it!  But we share the rock look out at the "Wall of Shame".  Those brave souls who make that last scary trudge up to the landing are visible below.


Heading back down.  Below you can see the Walters Wriggles portion of the trail just below the very top.  From the canyon the trail, it becomes vertical, with 21 switchbacks carved into the rocks.

Below is a good photograph of Walters Wriggles.

This tree, hanging on for life!

A steep portion of the trail going back down.

Ah, back at the bottom and the cool river waiting for us to dip our toes in!

Taking the handy shuttle back to the visitor center where we will walk back to the truck.

Putting locks onto fences and such seems to be catching on in the US.  I first saw this in Europe about 10 years ago.

Very popular means of transportation in this area!
A final sunset before leaving the Zion area.

Goodbye Utah, it was nice.  Hello Arizona!!!!!!