This was one of my favorite days of the trip. We left Monument Valley early and drove to Antelope Canyon outside the city of Page. Dad had arranged a special guided tour of the slot canyon. It was specifically for photographers, so they required each individual person have their own DSLR and tripod (neither of which he brought). We figured my tripod and camera would be enough, but the Navajo tour company was very strict and did not allow tag-alongs. This was a new policy they’d began enforcing in March – after my dad booked our tour – but they were holding us to it. I was pretty upset about it. I didn’t want to go on the tour without him. I’m not sure how, but eventually he persuaded the rule enforcer to let him on the tour anyway. It was just six of us all together.
We drove down a wide dirt road – it seemed like a dry riverbed – for about 10 minutes before reaching the canyon entrance. Our guide warned us there would be about 700-800 other tourists throughout the canyon while we were in there. The benefit to the photography tour is that the guides block traffic so you can get a tourist-free shot of the canyon. They also throw sand in the air to catch the beams of sun coming down from the open sky. It’s scary to think about when you’re in there, but the canyon floods pretty regularly. The rushing water is what creates the surreal curved walls.
That last picture is what the canyon looks like when the tour guides aren’t working to block other people from the photos. It would have been impossible to get a clear shot of anything.
When our tour was finished we drove about 10 more minutes down the road to Horseshoe Bend. It’s only marked by one sign and the small parking lot is right off the highway. You can’t see the river from the road, so everything works together to make you feel like it’s just some ordinary tourist trap…I mean it’s just a river that makes a hard U turn, after all. But when you hike down and get to the cliff overlooking the water, it really takes your breath away. The area had also received more snow/rain during the spring so the banks of the river were lush with green and the water had this unnatural tint to it.
I think this was dad’s favorite place we visited during the whole week. He was really impressed.
After an hour walking around the steep cliff and balancing on boulders, we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way to the Grand Canyon.