Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Slot Canyon #3 Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope is the star and the most well-known of the Arizona slot canyons.  It is also the most visited.  Tours are strictly controlled and timed.  Tour guides worked with each other to coordinate where each group stop and for how long.  They staged "shows" inside the canyon - threw dust into the shafts of light that came through the canyon near midday for the photographers, all geared up with their tripods.   It's theatrical.  In a way, the crowds and the theatre detracts from the experience although the "shafts of light" are legendary and are what drew the crowds.  In fact, midday tours are more expensive than other times because of the light show.

The canyon without the theatre is still very beautiful.  It is the tallest of the slot canyons in the area and I could imagine it without the crowds.  If you're visiting, do your utmost to avoid the high season - I can see it would be difficult to enjoy it when you're rushed through and have to jostle for space.

Reminds me of a Lawren Harris painting

This is called "Sunset at Monument Valley"

Shafts of light in different parts of the canyon - photographers are lined up three rows deep to catch this display - some kneeling in the front row, some standing in the middle and the ones without tripods leaning against the wall!

This is "the heart" of the canyon

Another staged effect - sand fall

All you need is an ancient city on the other side to think that you were in Petra...
What you see instead are the open air jeeps the tour companies use to transport people to the canyon.  We were on a full day tour so was driven in an SUV.

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