Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 5, 2012

Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 3:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Are not these some of the most soothing colors imaginable???
Lower seems a bit lighter than Upper.

Somewhat traumatized by my visit to Upper Antelope Canyon, I asked travel buddy Tara whether we ought to give Lower Antelope a look. Both of us were on the fence, but the scales tipped in favor of a tour as we wanted to give the area all the chances possible. Let’s face it: it’s deliciously beautiful. We figured we could put up with idiosyncrasies of most kinds.

Well. My humble opinion is that Lower AC is gorgeous in its own right, but is relegated to “country cousin” status when compared with glitzier Upper AC. Upper has those scrumptious midday light beams that draw photographers. Upper has fleets of gussied-up trucks shuttling tourists to and fro. Upper has guides in matching black T-shirts for ease of identification. Upper costs twice as much.

Both have sinuous curves that draw your eye along and invite your hands to reach out and touch the sandstone. Both have a space that feels other-worldly. Both take your breath away.

This is what a slot canyon looks like from the OUTSIDE. A narrow crack in the earth, unobtrusive... and beckoning. (See footprints leading in.)

Lower has a humble kiosk selling permits and tickets, with a guitar-playing guy behind the counter. As it was late in the day, only three of us were on the tour, and the remaining guide was an amiable Navajo youth in his mid-teens who took us in on foot. His specialty was pointing out images in the rock: there’s Bruce the Shark! see Darth Vader? look, a Transformer. His specialty was NOT in interpreting the canyon. He did tell me their belief that if you are too much in the canyon, you will lose your hearing, as the canyon represents the ear passage. I so wanted to know other facts about their culture, but he had no answers, not even what the canyon’s name was in Navajo, or whether the tribe considered this area different from the rest of their land.


We were glad we went, but found ourselves desperately wishing for a guide who could help us make emotional and intellectual connections with the site. I’m sure they exist.

Our cameras don’t lie; the slot in the earth is beautiful. If you go, go to both Upper and Lower.


  1. Great images. These must be really fun to shoot, and just walk through in general.

    Comment by Dan Miller — April 5, 2012 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

    • Yes, to both! I found myself wishing I could go in and stay indefinitely… just to wander, with my camera, and see what changing light angles look like. Take a tripod some time; they do allow tripodists to linger in the canyon, unaccompanied.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 5, 2012 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  2. OK I will, in early July.

    Comment by Deb — April 5, 2012 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

    • 🙂

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 5, 2012 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  3. I’m afraid claustrophobia would keep me out of both canyons. When in Iceland we walked in the Great American Rift and I kept thinking they said it was growing apart, —- but what if it changed course and came together while I was in it?

    Comment by Mom — April 5, 2012 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  4. I love this picture of you hugging the canyon wall. Great pictures!

    Comment by Pk — April 5, 2012 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  5. Another great post. I really like seeing what the entrance looks like.

    Comment by Andrew McAllister — April 6, 2012 @ 11:32 am | Reply

    • It’s not often one gets to see the narrow crack from the outside. I found myself wishing I could follow it along for a quarter mile or so, jumping across it here and there.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 6, 2012 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

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