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Published: October 2nd 2006
Today, we experience our first slot canyon. After driving to a Navajo booth near Upper Antelope Canyon to buy our permit, we drive back to Page and several miles South on Highway 89. The entrance is a non-descript parking area in front of a locked gate.
After walking about a quarter of a mile over slick rock, Jim picks the best path into the canyon, a walk down a slanting canyon wall. Since I’m shaky when it comes to heights, Alan’s steady hand is a big help.
At first, the canyon is fairly wide. The photographers practice with their cameras as Jim moves back and forth giving instruction. Since I’m a bystander, I take my notes and pictures and do my best to stay out of the way.
The canyon narrows with red walls and sporadic green clumps of weeds and yellow wildflowers. Curvy rock walls are stripped with the effects of a thousand storms. Water has ground rocks into fine sand leaving a deep layer on the canyon floor.
The class walks through the sandy canyon floor looking upwards for the perfect shot of red wall and blue sky. As the canyon narrows, we straddle the
walls avoiding patches of mud. Now I know why they call this slot canyon, “The Waterholes.” Depressions hold water and mud making our progress difficult. Finally, we reach one so deep that it stops r progress and the class turns back.
Exiting the canyon at a different location, we climb a steeper wall. Holding on to Alan’s hand, I looked straight ahead, take a deep breath and walk up the canyon wall. Once I reach the top, I allow myself to look down. Oh, my!
The view from Horshoe Bend Overlook is our second photo shoot of the day. The three-quarter mile hike takes us up and over a hill to a rock outcropping. A large rock formation on an island in the middle of the Colorado River provides numerous photo opportunities.
Green water encircles the island as high, river cliffs loom on all sides. The best way to photograph the scene is to lay on your stomach on a ledge that has a slight upward slant, hanging over the edge to take the picture.
Although I’m afraid of heights, Alan convinces me to try the shot. Flat on my stomach (much sooner than is necessary),
I inch my way up the rock’s slope while Alan holds onto my camera and most importantly, my legs. After Alan places the camera strap over my neck and hands the camera back to me, I lean as close to the edge as I dare and take the photo. One of the other photographers snaps our picture but it is on film so no proof here that I actually did this!
We end the day at Rim View Park in Page for another sunset session.
To read more about our photo workshop experience with Jim Altengarten, vist this page
at my blog about baby boomer travel, My Itchy Travel Feet
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