This is THE ONE stop that I cared about most on this trip – So much so that I did extensive research and booked a tour 6 months in advance. Anyone who is into photography has seen the unbelievable shots of inside these slot canyons and can understand the excitement and planning. And timing is everything here as the sun needs to be high enough in the sky to shine through the slots creating the rays of light on the canyon floor. What you first need to know is that Antelope Canyon is visited exclusively through guided tours, in part because rains during monsoon season can quickly flood the canyon. Rain does not have to fall on or near the Antelope Canyon slots for flash floods to whip through, as rain falling dozens of miles away ‘upstream’ of the canyons can funnel into them with little prior notice. On August 12, 1997, eleven tourists were killed in the Lower Canyon by a flash flood. Very little rain fell at the site that day but an earlier thunderstorm had dumped a large amount of water into the canyon basin 7 miles upstream. Pretty scary stuff! On the other hand, it is this destructive flooding and rushing of the water that create the beauty that is within the slot canyons. So our adventure begins by us arriving in Page, AZ the night before diverting any chance of a mishap preventing me and my camera from our Antelope Canyon moment. I called the company from the hotel room to confirm our reservation and was told I did not have one. After a few gasps and an argument, I was told there was no way we were getting on a tour that day or any day in the near future. So, following a good cry, I decided we had to act fast. There was a brochure in the hotel room with “Things To Do” in the area and about a half dozen listings for Antelope Canyon Tours. We called each and every one and were told that they were full. Just when I was about to give up all hope, Scott mentioned that he had seen a roadside stand selling tours on our way into Page. We were on a very tight schedule being that we had to leave Page and be at the Grand Canyon before sunset and it was a shot in the dark that we would even get on a tour but I had to go for it. So we set our alarms early and packed up to be the first in line for the tour…and we were. I didn’t hold out much hope that it would be as great as one later in the day as the sun wasn’t as high but what I didn’t expect or think of was that we were the first and only ones in the entire canyon with the exception of the few that were on our tour. Our guide was wonderful, showing us the best shots and angles, even creating a sand waterfall. And even the light that I was so worried about was perfect. I was in heaven as was Scott, who up until then thought I was slightly crazy and couldn’t understand the importance of a visit here. On our way out, droves of people flooded in like the rushing water of the monsoon creating a cloud of dust (a photographers nightmare) and it would have been impossible to get clear shots inside without a person in them. The whole experience turned out to be a true blessing in disguise and, as you can see by the photos, a huge success.

 

Antelope Canyon 18

Towards the sun - Antelope Canyon

Sand fall - Antelope canyon

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