Antelope Canyon to the Rescue!
It’s midweek, and I am bored. Well, pleasantly bored, but still bored. I’m hanging with my puppies in a little cabin up in Prescott, AZ and have done my fill of walking around the neighborhood. So I do my usual game of opening up Google Maps, looking for the green of public lands, and picking a new one for the day. Then I realize, SHIT.
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN = NO NATIONAL PARKS.
John Muir would be so pissed.
What am I to do? Well, one of the benefits of living in the Southwest are the reservations. They aren’t particuarly fair and happy places throughout history, but for all the bad, the Hopi, Apache, and Navajo Tribes have been able to maintain some beautiful landscapes for themselves and the rest of us to enjoy. One such example is Antelope Canyon. Andddd, as it is under the Navajo Tribe’s control, it is open during the government shutdown.
Decision made, I am in the car the following morning. I have one day (as I need to get back to the cabin and feed those hungry pups). So here’s how I do it, and do it alone.
5 am: Out the door. From Prescott, or actually most major cities in Arizona, Antelope Canyon is anywhere from a 4-6 hour drive. Again, because of the shutdown, the 89A North out of Flagstaff is closed, which shots me out an hour east by way of Tuba City; a remote, enlightening detour through the deep parts of the Navajo Reservation surprised me. The Rez is pretty spread out and underdeveloped, to say the least. I found it very, very beautiful. Very quiet. And very awakening. I purposefully made multiple stops in small gas stations and general stores along the way, and found more cowboy hats than I had originally anticipated.
11:45 am: After the above mountain, I hit the final stretch towards Page, AZ, which is the closest town. All of sudden, you’ll see a small sign that says “Antelope Canyon Info” (which you are to ignore, as this offers paid ‘tours,’ which is just a rip off, because the Navajo guides at the entrance of the canyon are all you need for a tour). A mere minute later you will come across the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon turn-offs. Coming from the East, Upper will be to your left and Lower to your right.
12:00 pm: I am not one for crowds, if you can tell. Therefore, Lower Antelope is for me. It has about 1/4 of the cars as the Upper Canyon and is supposedly a longer and more winding stroll through the bottom of the canyon. I simply stand in line with an eclectic crew of chatty German and French tourists, pay the $26 dollar fee to the Navajo Nation and tour guide, then head down. I hung back to the very last of my group of 10 or so, which allowed me to feel almost completely alone many times throughout our 90 minute tour. And now I will shut my trap, and let the canyon speak for itself…
1:40 pm: I spend a few minutes chatting with the guide about his favorites spots in the canyon, and ask for some tips for next time I come back. He also mentions he wishes less tours came through, but that his job would be less lucrative if that was the case. Ah, the dilemma of money versus preserving nature. Maybe he just wanted a bigger tip, which I end up giving him. Hey, he let me take his picture, so it was worth it.
2:00 pm: Quick drive out to Antelope Canyon Marina, because why not? I hadn’t realized there was a body of water this far from Lake Powell. I find the reason is that this is called a Marina, not a Lake, as that is because that all it is really is. A bit of water and some boats in the middle of a vast desert landscape. Water and a view, something I’ll always take.
7:00 pm: Dogs fed, Lizzy showered, day is done. Now I can sit on my couch and relive Antelope Canyon, which is going to take awhile considering I took something hovering around one hundred pictures today……Oh, make that one hundred and two. I added a few more of zee puppies. I mean come onnnnn, wouldn’t youuuuu???