3/21/14 through 3/24/14 : Antelope Canyon, Mesa Verde National Park and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
After leaving the Grand Canyon, Eric was really excited because we finished the hike early enough to make a stop at Antelope Canyon, a dream location for any photographer. It took several hours to make the drive and it looked like we only had time to make it to Lower Antelope Canyon. The canyon is split into two parts, Upper & Lower. The upper section is the more photographed section, but the lower supposedly has the advantage of being able to walk around and photograph at your leisure. Unfortunately the stop started out on a negative note as they refused to sell Eric a photographer’s permit because they were closing in about 90 minutes (Eric was willing to pay for the 2 hour permit despite that.) This meant he wasn’t able to bring a tripod into the canyon, and we had to stay with a group. We decided we had driven all the way there, so we’d make the best of it.
The slot canyon is amazing and we really enjoyed exploring it. There were some more frustrating aspects, though. It’s on Navajo land – best we can tell all the operators are locals and they hire only people from the reservation. This is great but they seem to have a minimum number of people they need to employ and the result is a lot of employees standing around. Our ‘guide’ seemed to think his job was to grab your camera and take a mediocre photo, or tell you to be careful – we were expecting a little bit of history or geology info. We continued to take photos until it was too dark to keep going, climbed up and out of the slot canyon, and finished our drive into Cortez, CO.