Day 8 – 23 June 2013
Today we have a lot on. We start with a two slot canyon photo tour – Rattle Snake Canyon and Antelope Canyon. These were both carved out by rain, wind and flash floods in the desert. This tour was pretty pricey as we chose the “Photographer’s Tour” rather than the ordinary one. While we got about 400 photos between us – and many are fabulous, we could really only recommend the expense (>$200) for a committed photographer. Rattlesnake Canyon was very quiet with only one other couple with Nathan, our Navajo guide and us. We get some lovely photos on our phone cameras. The other couple on the tour have great big cameras.
Íde shot this picture and showed it to the other woman. She wanted the shot. Íde had to show her the exact place and angle of the shot. One twist of light changes the shot. But we love the vibrant blue of this photo. Like Grand Canyon, even though we got some great photos, there is just no describing the experience.
The famous Antelope Canyon (one of the main reasons we came to Page) was packed, hustled and hurried though. Nathan ensured we had lots of time and got to the key spots at the right times. This is important as narrow but spectacular beams of sunlight come through into the Canyon at certain times. He pointed out features resembling an eagle, Elvis, a candlestick, a backbone etc. Some are obvious from our photos, others, I’m not so sure. Does Elvis really live on in these rocks “shaken all over”. So find the eagle, candlestick, sunset that isn’t really a sunset and Elvis.
The other tours are brought in for a quick photo shot of the light beams. The photography tour allows time to set up cameras, tripods etc. Nathan pointed to a spot in the ground at about 11.50 and stated that this was where the light was going to hit the ground in about 15 minutes. He was spot on (excuse the pun). The beams of light shining through the canyons create a beautiful light show. It kind of reminds me of Newgrange but it is very different. For one thing, Newgrange is manmade, the Canyons are made by the forces of nature, in this case, the rain and wind flooding the canyons.
Here is a small sample of our photos:
After lunch we hit the road again for another canyon. This time we are going to Bryce Canyon, Utah (155 miles).
Bryce Canyon is dotted with rock figures which Paiute lore says were originally people turned to stone by an angry Coyote god. The rock formations are called hoodoos arranged in natural amphitheatres. We – of course – got there for sunset. Bryce actually has vistas called Sunrise and Sunset as well as Fairview. Bryce is simply stunning for something not nearly as well known in Ireland as its neighbour on the Grand Staircase, the Grand Canyon. Just before Bryce is the lovely Red Canyon, whose visitor centre staff were very helpful.
We used our trusty National Parks Annual Pass to enter. We stayed the night in Bryce Country Cabins in neighbouring Tropic. It was a lovely room, although we were expecting a log cabin. We ate in Clarkes Restaurant nearby. Lovely meal but American portions were too much for us – again.