A mighty fine slot canyon

Gosh, it seems ages ago since I was in the Antelope Canyon, yet it was only one week ago and I’ve covered a lot of ground since then.  Hope ya’ll are all doing well since last we gathered.

Before we get started, does anyone happen to recognize the banner photo above?  Or feel it looks familiar in some way? I did take this particular photo myself, but some of you may recognize it as a Windows desktop wallpaper offering, circa 2000.  Yes! Their photo was taken at the same spot in the Lower Antelope Canyon!  I think they call this particular wall or section of wall, The Wave. How ’bout that?

Antelope Canyon actually consists of two canyons, Upper and Lower, both of which are on Navajo land and are owned by the Navajo Nation. The Canyons are strictly off limits unless you are with an official Navajo Tour Group with Navajo Guide.  If you’d  like to read a bit more about them, you can click here.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope_Canyon

And here is a link to a discussion about the differences between the Upper and Lower. https://www.dothecanyon.com/upper-vs-lower-antelope-canyon/

I toured the Lower Canyon and took about 3 dozen photos over the course of an hour.  It was really hard to choose the better ones since they are all crazy cool.  I’m not sure it’s possible to take a bad picture down in the canyon.

The crowds were much reduced during these Covid times, only 7 per group and masks required as the Navajo people have been hit quite hard by the virus and take it very seriously.  I feel fortunate as the tours had been closed for over a year and had just recently reopened. These smaller groups allowed for photos without tons of people in them  along with more discussion with the guide, and a more leisurely pace.  I think our guide said in pre-Covid days, each group had 15 to 20. people.  I can’t imagine all those folks in such a tight space.

Below you can see the entrance to the slot canyon.  We descended 4 steep sets of stairs, one of which could really be called more of a ladder. You can see the edge of the first set of steps in the photo.

This is the exit!  Can you believe it???

But here you see it’s true.  It was actually fairly easy to walk/climb out.  

So that’s it for Antelope Canyon.  I recommend it highly if you’re ever out that way.

From there I took secondary highway 64 East across northern Arizona and Northern New Mexico over to Taos.  What a gorgeous, gorgeous drive.  I swear I don’t think I’ll ever take Interstates again.

I took the shot below from a roadside pullout somewhere along the way.

I had never been to Taos and really enjoyed my overnight visit before moving on to Oklahoma, across which I thoroughly enjoyed driving.  Who knew?  It was beautiful rolling hills of desert, giving way to grassland, giving way to farmland, and then farmland scattered with forests.

Below is one of the many photos I took while driving secondary highway 412 all the way across northern Oklahoma, ending up at Natural Falls State Park very near the Arkansas border.

I must apologize, but I’m going to talk about the heat some more.  Ha!

It’s HOT!  I’ve been hot since leaving the California Coast, I kid you not and somewhere while crossing Oklahoma, it started getting humid.  And, just in case you think I’m being a weeny for whining so much, it was 110 at Natural Falls State Park, and has only cooled from that to 107 to 102 since then.  Hmmph!  I’m not sure this is ideal traveling and sightseeing weather, but I’m doing my best.

Below are the Falls at Natural Falls State Park.  I got up early to enjoy a hike around the park including a visit to the Falls.  They’re awfully pretty.  The rest of the day I spent reading in my air conditioned van since it was over 100 by noon.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

From here, I drove just a bit over the Arkansas line to Eureka Springs, where I decided to trade sitting in my air conditioned van to sitting in an air conditioned hotel room because their pool was broken.  Sigh.

Early yesterday, I stopped in and toured the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, which had been recommended to my by friends who love this area.  https://www.turpentinecreek.org/

I’m happy I went and supported their efforts.  All the animals, mostly big cats, have been rescued due to abuse and/or neglect.  Here, they are well cared for, seemingly above and beyond.  If any of you watched that Netflix horror last year called, Tiger King, well…I understand many of the big cats here were confiscated from him by court order.

 

Sorry to say, I’m not quite finished talking about the heat yet, so if you skip this part, I understand perfectly.

My Lord, it was over 100 by 11:30 yesterday morning and again today.  I was thinking this was some sort of anomaly, but the locals assure me this is quite normal for this time of year in these parts.  Silly me.  I thought the Ozarks were a mountainous region and would therefore provide pleasant mountain temps.  Well, they decidedly do not.  Hmmmph, again.

You may be wondering why I chose to travel during July and August and what did I expect anyway and you’d certainly be well within your rights to wonder such things.  I’ll tell you.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I had a series of shoulder surgeries at the tale end of last year until very early January and my surgeon told me I had to stay in town for rehab until July 1, so this is what dictated the departure date of my trip.  

I’ll think things through more carefully in future, but at the time, I was chomping at the bit to get the heck outta Dodge. So there we have it.

I am on the final days of my trip and will arrive Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas tomorrow where I have booked in for two nights at a swank hotel in a converted historic bathhouse on Bathhouse Row.  A big treat to mark the fast approaching end of a fabulous trip, so stay tuned.

Until next time…

Oh!  I almost forgot the Elo update!

Let’s see.  Elo has been enjoying her own route east and  preceded me in coming to northwest Arkansas.  She came to mountain bike in Bentonville, which she enjoyed thoroughly as Bentonville is known for its awesome mountain biking trails.  From there, she overnighted at a seriously cool looking RV park right on the banks of the Mississippi River in West Memphis. It looks so cool, I nabbed a reservation for myself after Hot Springs.

From the riverside, Elo stopped off to enjoy our beautiful Great Smoky Mountain National Park and just arrived back home in Raleigh just a few hours ago.  Welcome Home Elo!

Take a look at her photos below.

Hen Wallow Falls, GSMNP

Elo’s beloved Appalachian Trail, GSMNP  

So that’s truly it for now.  I’ll sign off before I melt.

Until next time…

19

Comments:

  • Rusty Hunt

    August 26, 2021

    10/10 would film a “Star Wars” episode in Antelope Canyon.
    Don’t melt!

    reply...
    • Margie

      August 27, 2021

      Yes, Star Wars!

      reply...
  • Tena

    August 27, 2021

    Really lovely – all of it. The slot canyon is other-worldly. Love the meadow with mountains in background, too. It will be good to sit with you when you’re back home.
    Safe travels

    reply...
    • Margie

      August 27, 2021

      It was so cool. And, I love that picture too, of the Oklahoma countryside. It was a great trip across the State. See you soon!

      reply...
  • Gaelyn

    August 27, 2021

    I have yet to tour lower Antelope. But your journey has added quite a few more places to my constantly growing list. Think fall would be better for the east?

    reply...
    • Margie

      August 27, 2021

      Fall is definitely better in the East!

      reply...
  • Darden Yerkes

    August 31, 2021

    Glad you didn’t bring that heat home with you.

    reply...
  • Silver Hjellen

    September 7, 2021

    So glad you were able to upload your Antelope Canyon photos –they were spectacular!!! Now I know why this area has been so highly recommended to me. It is truly gorgeous. Some day….. I visit my dear friend in Arizona almost every year, well not last year, however she is not into any more freeway or any type of driving that takes her more than 20 miles from home. When I’m 88 I’ll probably feel the same way too. I am going to see her in October but will not be able to go to this beautiful place. Maybe another time. So very sorry about the heat–sounds horrid.
    Can’t believe this amazing trip is, or has, come to an end. What a beautiful journey of a lifetime.
    Lots of love, Silver

    reply...

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