15 September 2010

Antelope Slot Canyon Tour

15 Sep 2010--Went to Antelope Canyon today for a tour of what they call their "slot canyons". It was conducted by an Indian guide named Leo-Jim on the Navajo Reservation here, the largest Indian Reservation of any tribe in the country. We saw the flags flying at half staff, and they told us that one of their WWII Code Talkers had died this past week, so the flags were flying in honor of him.

A woman told me the Navajo Nation flag has several areas to it that represent their tribal heritage. The rainbow represents the people, while the 4 mountain symbols represent the 4 great mountain peaks. The yellow and brown area represents the land of the reservation, and although the reservation is mainly in Arizona, it also stretches to parts of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. And finally, in the center, the yellow represents corn silk and the rest represent the animals they tend...cows, sheep, etc.

The Canyons are called Antelope Canyons because there used to be antelope that used them to cool themselves in the heat of the day. The canyons are always at least 15 degrees cooler than it is outside during the summer, so that would be considerably cooler.

Our guide told us that in the old days the Indians called it Tse' Bighanilini, or "the place where water runs through rock"...memorize that, because there will be a test at the end! haha

The tour guide picked us up in his truck at the RV Park for the ride to the reservation.

And once we got there we had to drive about 1-2 miles in this very deep sand to get to the canyons. This was a blast...it was like 4-wheeling in a truck...we were bouncing so much that at one point Cathy almost ended up in an older woman's lap!

This is a very deceiving entrance. Looks like a regular entrance to a cave, but just keep looking!

The guide told us that these crazily curved walls and tunnels are formed by the power of water running through them, combined with the sandstone that is washed off acting as an abrasive against the walls. The Navajo base some of the tapestry that the women make on the pattern on this wall in the 1st pic.

There are crevices at the top of the canyons that allow in a certain amount of light depending on the time of day...and then depending on where you are standing dictates how light or dark everything looks.

Some of the crevices you are walking through are quite small, but because of how beautiful it is you honestly don't notice. I would usually get a little claustrophobic in a place like this, but I didn't freak out for even one second in here.

In these 2 pics you are looking up towards the light at the top of the ceiling. The guide pointed out that they call the 1st pic their "heart", while the 2nd one looks like Abraham Lincoln (you are looking up from his chin to his nose.)

Aren't these walls fascinating!?

As recently as last month they had a flash flood come through here when they were taking people on a tour. It was only 3 ft high though, so everyone was safe...just a little scared!

A couple more ceiling shots before heading for the exits.

Cathy took this one with the cell phone...love the colors!
This was just another in a long line of undescribably beautiful spots we have seen so far out west...I wonder when it will stop?!


  1. We are still working on the blog formatting...decisions, decisions!

  2. How come the light from the cell phone photo is so much different than the others?
    Yes, now I do see the heart, I had to look at the picture upside down lol
    While I think the pictures are very cool, what fascinates me more is how all that is created. I think I spent more time looking at the photos and trying to figure out how high the water would have had to be and for how long and how crumbly the rock would be in order to produce what you see today. We have a beautiful country.

  3. Again I say "WOW". Most beautiful things ever!!!!!! They are spiritual. They look like holy pictures. The light coming thru mixing with the swirls, the shapes, the colors. Amazing. I could look at them forever.

  4. Barb, I don't know why the cell phone pics look so different...I assume it is because I can set my camera to a low light setting, while the phone is a one shot deal.
    And Marie, I agree...all you can say is "WOW!

  5. Truly amazing. Looking at the pictures I felt like I was taking one of those psych tests of "just tell me the first thing you see in the picture". Interesting enough the picture on the right, directly above Cathy's cell picture, right away I noticed a "fat finger...fingernail and all" smack in the center. Does anyone else see it? Ellen help me out here?
    Paula, you make 3 feet of water sound like no big deal. Lucky I wasn't there I would have been "waist deep in water". Remember you shrink with age and when you don't have much height to begin with 3 feet is a lot.
    Once again GREAT pictures!

  6. Arlene, looking back I definately see the finger! And 2ndly, never mind the short stature, just think how panicked you would be when that water was rushing in and rising...you don't know when it is happening that it would end up at 3 ft of water...I know I would be stepping over people to get out of there!

  7. Amazing!!!! don't know what else to say?
    I saw the heart, Lincoln and yes Arelene the finger hand.
    Still don't know if I could go into them. Glad I am living it thru you and Cathy!!!