Following my Navajo teen guide across a barren landscape speckled by only the occasional greenish gray sagebrush, I spied no hint of a canyon. From advance reading I knew it would not be a walk into but rather a climb down to stand on the floor of Lower Antelope Canyon. The red sand yielded no clues.
And then, there it was. A fissure in the earth, a slender line along which the red sandstone swirled down upon itself like sand falling through a funnel or hourglass. I swung my photographer’s pass and camera over my shoulder to dangle down my back, twisted myself around and began climbing down a metal ladder.
Antelope Canyon in northern Arizona had always been just beyond reach in previous travels. It’s a destination —not a casual add-on to a southern Utah or Grand Canyon vacation. Situated in the crook of where Highway 98 bumps into Highway 89, Page, Arizona’s main map-worthy attraction is the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the north. Many travelers miss Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons on the Navajo reservation just to its south, but I’d imagined walking amidst the twisting red sandstone walls for too many years to pass them by. And to finally climb down into this ethereal underground world of childhood fantasy was like walking into the landscape of a favorite painting.
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