Slots, Horseshoes and Canyons

(Geoff has given me such a strong lead-in that I feel somewhat intimidated writing this blog, especially since I have developed a head cold overnight…but here goes.)

in some areas, Arizona looks like a dusty old desert, lots of cacti, sand and not much else.  But in other areas, it has some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere.  One feels immersed in a geology textbook; students of this science could do well to do spend a year studying the various landforms, both above and below ground.  We saw the Grand Canyon a number of years ago, but this year, snuck up on it via Flagstaff and Page.  We didn’t really see the canyon itself, just the beginnings of it in worn channels and layered hills on the horizon.  It is impossible not to be in awe of the multicolored striations, low mounds and craggy cliffs.

The Grand Canyon lies at the foot of these cliffs; the dark wavy lines are younger canyons in development.

The Grand Canyon lies at the foot of these cliffs; the dark wavy lines are younger canyons in development–come back in 200,000 years or so to prove it. The rocks in the fore-ground were arrayed as if by a skilled landscaper.  We were at the only scenic view site in miles, if you can believe it.  .

 

The colors of the landscape are reflected in Navajo art.

colors

We arrived in Page, noticing cars parked and people hiking in to a spot but carried on to our motel, deciding to visit the next day. Page is in the heart of a Navajo reserve and consequently, had many native-run businesses.  Our tour company was one.  We checked in early, then headed for River’s End, a tour company/outdoor gear store/restaurant and had an amazing smoked salmon bagel with the works.  Latte was great too, so I felt set up for a full day.  Geoff sadly, had taken advantage (if it can be said) of the included breakfast offerings at the Days Inn so was not as hungry as I.  Back at the tour office, I went in and was assigned purple tickets.  We waited outside, where we saw people forming in groups according to ticket color.  “What luck,” we thought, when we saw only one other person with a purple card.  He came over and we chatted, thinking ours would be with a small group.  Just then an Asian woman arrived. She indicated she would get someone waiting inside the office.  She was followed by her Chinese husband and six Japanese tourists!  We laughed like crazy–of course we would be on the Asian tour!  They were all lovely people and charmed by our guide, Sonny, who has learned a smattering of half a dozen languages, just enough to give a number of commands like “wait, stay to the right, come now.” We made our way to Upper Antelope Canyon.  Pictures are better than any words but not enough to describe how truly fabulous it is:

entry

Going in.  This was the last time that others were in our pictures, thanks to our guide.

The first room.

The first room.

The Bear.

The Bear.

Sunny threw sand in the air to allow us to capture this ray of light.

Sonny threw sand in the air to allow us to capture this ray of light.

The heart

The heart.

On its side, the heart becomes another face

On its side, the heart becomes another face

Amazing colors.

Amazing colors.

Faces everywhere.

Faces everywhere.

Window to the sky.

Window to the sky.

Another view to the light.

Another view to the light.

Amazing colors

Amazing colors–we have no idea how we achieved this effect!

The Wave.

The Wave.This is our photo but was taken previously by a professional who sold it for a cool million.  Google has used it (his version, not ours) as a screen saver.

This is outside the back of the canyon. Notice the pock marks on some of the walls. Before it became a protected park, some gents thought it fun to use it for target practice.

This is outside the back of the canyon. Notice the pock marks on some of the walls. Before it became a protected park, some folks thought it fun to use it for target practice.

Antelope Canyon–highly recommended!

Once returned to Page, we decided to head the mile or so out of town back to the busy tourist site we had spotted off the highway.  We made the hike to discover Horseshoe Bend.

The Horseshoe.

Horseshoe Bend – the Colorado River. It’s a long way down–1000′.  It’s been awhile since anyone fell from one of the cliffs but it was not without trying the day we were there.  One tourist jumped or dropped from the top of a high rock and slipped on the ledge below but didn’t fall.  We watched others perching on the edge of overhangs (against posted advice) for photo ops and one mother who held her toddler by one hand as he pulled towards the edge.  I couldn’t watch–had she lost his hand, he would have been gone.

Green water below.

Green water below.

Boaters...not sure where they put it but there they were.

Boaters…not sure where they put in but there they were.

And me, at a safe distance from the edge.

And me, at a safe distance from the edge.

And the two of us.

And the two of us.

Next stop, Bryce Canyon City, Utah. This place is magnificent, ancient, massive.  It was hard to get the depth perception with our cameras (same problem in the Grand Canyon several years ago) but you get an idea of the immensity of the formations.

The Paiute Indians believed theses hoodoos were beings frozen by angry gods for their behavior or crimes, similar to the ancient Greeks.  Truly stunning.  As it was very cold when we were there, with still so much snow on the ground that many hiking trails required special gear, we stuck to the rim trail and lookouts to get these shots.

One of the more tenacious pines surviving on this wind blown cliff.

Wonderful country, great experience–recommended!

 

 

5 thoughts on “Slots, Horseshoes and Canyons

  1. Adeline

    Antelope Canyon most amazing , have never heard of, must hear more! But have been to the other 2. Really wonderful pics!

    Reply
  2. Joan

    Gorgeous scenery and very nice photos, but wondering what slots have to do with these pictures? Your title was slots,horseshoes and canyons!

    Reply
  3. Wendy Wilson

    Terry, what fabulous, fabulous pictures. Some reminded me of Toni Onley’s paintings. I love your blog.

    Reply

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