Christmas Road Trip Day 7: Antelope Canyon
Each morning it gets harder and harder to lift my groggy head off of my comfortable pillow and push my heavy body out of bed. Being on the road for seven days and away from my normal routine has been very tolling. I can feel I only have a few spoons available for the day, which means my adrenaline will eventually kick in to help carry me through to the end. Yes adrenaline is a great gift in the moment, but once it wears off I feel depleted and incredibly drained. It feels like my body, my powerful vessel, transitions from a juicy grape to a dried up raisin and I simply can’t move.
In the back of my mind I fear adrenaline, because I hate the ending results of it, but I never let it stop me from going on an adventure. My fear of being left out is far bigger than all fears I have with my illnesses. So once again, I will rise out of bed and join my crew for the days adventure.
Our morning drive from Kanab, UT to Paige, AZ where Lower Antelope Canyon is, was beautiful. The sun was still low in the sky, hovering near the horizon and shinning on the sandstone revealing the many layers. As we zoomed by in our big white van, the ground looked like it was sprinkled with glitter thanks to the ice crystals reflecting off the sun. It made one magical show.
The one mistake we made was not making reservations for a tour ahead of time. Since Antelope Canyon is on Navajo land you are not allowed to visit this attraction by yourself without going through a tour company. It has become a very popular place to see (thanks social media) so I suggest booking your tickets in advance. When we got there, both the upper and lower sections were almost completely booked up and it was difficult to find a tour company to buy tickets from at the last minute.
Initial we wanted to do the Upper Canyon, because we had mainly seen photos of that, but we could only buy tickets for the lower section. I am very happy things played out this way, because we all really enjoyed the difficulty of the Lower Canyon. We had to climb down several floors on skinny metal stairs into the narrow slot canyons having to duck at times because the ceilings were low. The passage ways were narrow, sandstone was jutting out all around us, there were twist and turns and more stairs! We had to twist our bodies in different directions which only made the adventure all that more fun! Having to work to see nature’s beauty made us appreciate it and its complexity so much more.
Since we had a large group we were assigned our own tour guide who was excellent! We got a two for one deal with BooBoo from Ken’s Tour Guide because he lead both the regular tours and also the photography tours. He showed us what settings to put our digital cameras and iPhones on which gave us professional looking photos without taking the pricey private photography tour!
Here is the secret! For your DSLR camera program your settings to: cloudy, ISO: 400, vivid. For your iPhone: take photos with the Chrome filter.
Can you find the object in each photo that is in the caption??
Our crew of 13 did AWESOME! I was really impressed with all seven of the little kids and especially Oli, who is blind and autistic. The canyons were so textually interesting that Oli LOVED IT! She walked through the narrows, running her little hands across the walls, feeling all of the bumps and waves yelling with excitement! This was obviously her favorite place on our trip because it was so interesting to her. Watching Oli see the canyons through her fingers inspired me to put down my camera, close my eyes and run my hands gently across the walls. By changing the way I saw this beautiful slot canyon I slowed down and appreciated all its details so much more.
If you have mobility issues, but would love to see these slot canyons with your own two eyes, look into the Upper Canyon. It is more accessible than the Lower Canyon because it has a wider path and taller walls. Also, the tour company drives you in a big truck to the entrance of the canyon unlike the Lower Canyon where we have to walk about 1/4 mile on rocky terrain. It is the more popular canyon of the two making it more expensive per person (~$50). BUT it is an option of you have a disability and worry the Lower Canyon is too strenuous for you.
One by one we each emerged from the slot canyon. All 13 of us were glowing from the excitement of another accomplished adventure. It was obvious though that we, the adults, had been changed from this experience. Written all over our faces were the feelings of inspiration, happiness, gratitude, and mostly proud of ourselves. The biggest change I saw was in Martha (Seth’s mom). When she emerged from the canyon she was beaming with excitement. This adventure bought back out her travel bone and sparked the exploration in her like the life she use to live when Seth was a kid. Seeing her glow with happiness was the highlight of the adventure.
I am thankful my FOMO (fear of missing out) for life kicked in once again. Without that fear, I would have missed the majestic Arizona slot canyon, the happiness of Oli, and the striking beauty that is inside Martha. I feel very lucky to have the ability to witness all of this and be present, accomplishing yet another place.