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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Antelope Canyon


Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon – A Popular Slot Canyon

Antelope Canyon is a popular slot canyon, small but an exquisitely beautiful geological formation in northern Arizona. Placed on the Navajo Reservation, few miles east of Page, it is open to visitors by Navajo led tour only.

There are two antelope canyon actually located on either side of route 98 – Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower antelope Canyon which are both owned by the Navajo Nation though separate fee of $18 for each person is charged for each area of attraction.

The Navajo name for Upper Antelope canyon is Tse bighanilini meaning `the place where water runs through rocks’, while the Lower canyon is Hazdistazi or `spiral rock arches’. It was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone mainly because of flash flooding and other sub-aerial processes.

 During monsoon season, the rainwater ran into extensive basin above the slot canyon areas with speed and sand as it rushed into the narrow passageways and over a period of time these passageways eroded away ending in making the corridors much deeper, smoothening the hard edges in a way so as to form flowing shapes in the rock.

Flooding still continues in the canyon and the flood which took place in October 30, 2006, lasted for 36 hours, which caused the Tribal Park Authorities to close Lower Antelope Canyon for five months

Ladders & Staircase Lead to Unbelievable Narrow Canyon

Photographers, nature loversas well as a source of tourism business for the Navajo Nation, will find Antelope Canyon an amazing and a popular destination. Since 1987 private tour companies had the permission to offer tours and have only been accessible by tour since 1997 when Navajo Tribe had made it a Navajo Tribal Park.

Due to the wide exposure range, photography within the canyons is not very easy which is due to the light reflecting off the canyons walls. When one approaches the Canyon on foot, it is not noticeable even from a short distance and will only see a small crack in the rock at the bottom of a dry stream bed. On closer inspection, it reveals a small metal ladder descending into the crack which is barely wide enough for a single person to pass through.

A number of ladders and stairs lead you down in an unbelievable narrow canyon. The sandstone bedrock is intricately carved by the infrequent though violent flow of water and is sculptured into beautiful curves and hollows which vary from one to three meters wide up to 50 meters deep.

Explore Through Guided Tours

The sunlight which filters down portrays a myriad of soft colours and shadows, the effect of which is amazing. Antelope Canyon is to be explored through guided tours especially in areas where it rains during monsoon season and the canyon tends to get flooded quickly since the rain falling several miles away upstream of the canyon tends to funnel into them with little prior notice resulting in flash floods which can take the tourist unaware.

The ladder systems have now been bolted in place and cargo nets are installed at the top of the canyon for safety purpose, while at the fee both, NOAA Weather Radio from the National Weather Service together with an alarm horn has been placed. In spite of improvements being done for safety purpose, the risks of injuries prevails from flash floods.

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