Monday, October 24, 2011

Antelope Canyon & Cameron Trading Post

I am on complete beauty overload. The diverse range of rock formations and rainbow of colors we've seen today is mind-boggling. At the moment our photos are on Dave's computer and he has fallen asleep.

Rain and lightning are on the schedule for tomorrow so we'll probably have time to finish sorting through the 200 photos we took today to give you a small taste of Northern Arizona beauty.

I do have a couple of food photos on my iPhone I can share. On our way back to Flagstaff we stopped at the Cameron Trading Post for dinner. The trading post is one extremely large souvenir shop with a restaurant and hotel. The restaurant features Navajo tacos so we ordered a mini Navajo Taco and Navajo Hot Beef.

Both are served on top of a dinner-plate-sized fry bread.

A Navajo Taco is served open-face. The fry bread is topped with chili beans, beef, green chili, lettuce, and tomatoes.

For the Navajo Hot Beef, the fry bread is topped with slices of roast beef, a homemade gravy, grilled onions, and a green chili pepper.

This was a generous amount of food. I left most of my fry bread so I could eat a piece of their homemade apple pie. That was a good decision.

It took longer than planned to sort through the photos but here they are. These were take on the drive from Flagstaff to Page, Arizona.

The brown formations are chocolate-colored mudstone formed about 230 million years ago (Triassic period).

Looking down on the Colorado River Gorge. Vermillion Cliffs in the distance.

We stopped at a small store to get directions to Antelope Canyon since we didn't have a specific address for the GPS.

There are two slot canyons you can visit with Navajo guides. We chose the upper canyon, which doesn't require descent on a rock wall ladder. We did, however, take a bumpy 3-mile ride on the back of a transport vehicle. The road is a very dusty riverbed.

Entrance to upper Antelope Canyon

The colors change with the light. When the sun is overhead, light beams come into different sections of the canyon for brief appearances. We were too late in the day and in the year to catch a sunbeam. But it was not disappointing.

The shutter speed on our camera slowed way down because the light is low. You have to stand very still or use a tripod.

The guides know where to stand to get the best photos. Our guide took this one. If you rotate it clockwise 90 degrees, it forms a heart.

That's me on the right, standing in the exit. We went back through to the entrance. The light had totally changed.

These canyons are formed by fast flowing water. Runoff from even a small storm will quickly fill the cavern.

This photo shows debris on a ledge left by the last rain storm. (The water was that high.) The wet sandstone erodes easily. The water washes out sand as it exits the canyon, so the floor is lower after a storm. Then winds blow in dry sand, which falls down from the openings on top to refill the canyon. The floor level changes all the time.

This photo shows a branch that was washed in during a storm in the past.

The sand on the ledge was left from the most recent storm.

Tours are cancelled for about three days after a storm. It rained the day after we were there.

Here is one last photo, taken on our drive back to Flagstaff.

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