Seeking “Phantom”

Day 5: From the Grand Canyon we drive North to Page, AZ ( 1-1/2 hour) where we pray that weather is cooperative, even though there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

Up in Page there are slot canyons known as Antelope Canyon (Upper & Lower)-a place I discussed in New Mexico/Arizona, when we got rained out and couldn’t tour any of the canyons.

Why am I here? Because I’m chasing my own “Phantom.” If you are not aware, Photographer and Artist Peter Lik sold one of his photographs of the famous slot canyons for $6.5 Million. Phantom is known to the be the most expensive photo in the world. The canyons are robust in color and smooth in texture, they’re  any artists’ ideal setting. All I seek is to see it myself and hope to have a photo I can enjoy!

 

cork screw

Below is my gallery, because 1 photo was not enough!

First, there are a variety of places that will take you into the canyons. Unfortunately they are on reservation lands and can only be accessed by tour or private tours from an Indian guide. Look at every option before just picking one!

There is the Upper canyon and then there is the Lower canyon. We went to the Lower.

slot canyon

{Back in Flagstaff, I met a woman in the bathroom while washing my hands and we started a conversation about near by parks, etc. I had told her we planned to make it up to Antelope Canyon and she highly suggested seeing the Lower vs. Upper. As well she even suggested which place I should take a tour and I’m thankful for her advice and information!}

Compared to the original tour company I had planned for us to use, Ken’s was about half the cost. They also went to the Lower canyon and not the Upper. Pricing for Ken’s Tours is $25. You do not need any reservations, unless you plan to take a private tour (in this case, pricing will increase). You will purchase a ticket for a specified time slot. The time slot is broken down into groups of 10 people per guide. The time slot goes into the canyon at the same time except there is a small gap between each group to allow space for each guide to have your full attention. {basically, you’ll be cattle herded into the canyon}

Kens entrance

Should you decide to visit the Upper canyon, you’re tour will be taken by tour Jeep to access the canyon, making the excursion a long trip. The Lower canyon is accessible by foot and should be within walking distance. The canyons are not wheelchair accessible. The terrain to get to the canyon is rocky and sandy, be sure wear proper shoes!

To enter the canyon, there will be steep metal stairs do descend and are not very wide either so enter backward (as if on a ladder-climbing down) or hang onto the railing. As you can see below, they have wrapped some of it in duct tape for a better grip onto the rail.

Don’t take any photos on the stairs!

these guys and their phones…

Before you enter, your guide may explain to you how to set your phone’s camera settings to get “amazing” photos. Just know that you can make these changes at any time after you take photos (using your normal settings). {I used my own camera instead of a phone} I don’t suggest using this setting- Why not? – The light hits the canyon in such a way that the rock reflects vivid color in your camera/ phone lens. Colors such as Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple and Blue will be so vibrant in the photos even without changing settings.

When you set your phone settings to “Chrome,” you’re going to enhance the color by 3X. It can be pretty, but what you’re doing is blurring the color and now it’s going to be hyper pigmented and fuzzy. Brad took all his photos using this setting. I wasn’t a fan, but you may do what you wish. {below I have a side by side so you can see a normal setting vs. chrome setting}

And then there’s me:  with a camera in hand!

During your walk through the canyon, your guide will point out various features in the canyon.

bat formation
Bat Formation
eagle formation 2
Eagle Formation
rockies
The Rockies
wave formations
Wave Formation

The canyons are mesmerizing, they were formed from wind and water. You can see it in the walls of the canyon. Rippled wavy lines, sand, smooth and also bumpy.

antelope canyon_slope view

canyon arch

antelope canyon walls

narrow path

sunlight

sand along slot walls

Legend has it, that antelopes were herded into areas of the slot canyons, falling to their deaths. The guides say their ancestors used the canyons as a way of trapping.

Now, I must advise you that there are some things that I did not enjoy on this amazing slot canyon adventure. It’s my opinion and you can make your own…

First, the cattle herding-not a fan. The experience is not intimate at all. Photos of people standing alone in the canyon are because they either trail far behind or they were taken on a private tour.

exit antelope canyon

Second, your guide will tell you “information” about the canyon. Who knows weather it’s factual or not- Leah and I were lucky enough to be at the back of our group to hear the next group’s lecture- which was not what our guide had said. Let’s not forget to mention that the guide behind us did not give us proper space like he should have. (see above photos)

Third, the tour feels a bit rushed. I understand the thousands of people who come to look at the canyons on a daily basis.. but kid of a bummer to have to rush through it all!

What I loved about this tour was that everyone (with one or two exceptions) was extremely friendly! Most of the guides enjoy showing their canyon and will be helpful in telling you where the best spots to take photos are and even take photos for you! They also know some cool spots to visit. Want to know -just ask them!

Over all, I am super happy we finally made it! Though I didn’t find phantom, I did find myself in awe over the spectacular views that can be found in this slot canyon.  I’ll leave you with a few additional photos… and then I’m off to Take the Path Less Traveled to Zion.

and my favorite photo…

rainbow view

 

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