Thursday, June 23, 2011

Herded like cattle.

I woke late this morning because of the events of the previous night. I tried my hardest to sleep in but the sun was beating down on the tent since I was exposed in full sun. It was getting far too hot inside the tent to sleep. Reluctantly I got up and made some breakfast. The campers next walked over and asked it I was the one who had turned off the generator. I sheepishly answered yes. They thanked me and we proceeded to trash talked the guy while I ate and packed up.

I didn't have to be in Page for my tour for a few more hours so I went to the Glen Canyon Dam and walked around.

You could hear the electricity buzzing from this tower even though it was across the canyon!

Since I had slept in instead of waking up early as planned the photos (not my original intent) I made it to Big Bend much later than I had hoped. The lighting was great since I had missed the softness of the morning light. However it was still an interesting sight to see.

An interesting out cropping on the short hike to the bend.

I glanced at my cell phone to see how much time I had left before my ride to Antelope Slot Canyon departed. I about had a heart attack when I saw I was suppose to be there in 5 minutes! I ran back to the Jeep and zipped into town, only to remember that Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings and therefore has an hour time difference. Since I was early I drank plenty of water and relaxed in the air conditioned comfort of the tour office.

Antelope Slot Canyon is a truly amazing place. The canyon was stumbled upon in 1932 by a young Navajo girl herding sheep. A few sheep had wandered towards the mouth of the canyon and she followed. When she returned home she told her family of the amazing place she had discovered. It is likely that others had visited earlier, however they left no record. The canyon was open to the public until 1997 when the Navajo Nation decided to protect the area by requiring you to have a Navajo guide. The ride to the canyon takes you through some deep sand. Many of the tour companies have lifted trucks with big tires to get through the sand with ease. After a short ride we arrived:

 My favorite shot of the tour. I think its post card worthy......not bad for just being dumped from the camera card with no editing!

From the pictures above you would think that this place is the most beautiful and serene place on earth. Its beautiful, but sadly this is reality:

At any given point in time there are 100-200 people in this narrow canyon. The guides have the timing of the light beams to an exact science. our guide was push and did a great job of directing traffic to enable us to take shots. Antelope Slot Canyon is a beautiful place, however I feel that the specialness has been squashed by commercialization. On a busy day they bring 1000 people here. At 30-50 bucks a visitor you can see how lucrative the canyon is. The tour guides push everyone through like cattle, shout at people and tell you where to set up your tripod. The pictures tell one story, reality is another thing. One British gentleman in our group suggested that our bossy little tour guide would make a good dominatrix and that he would like to see what she could do with a whip in the bedroom........

Once the tour was over I went to the local gas station, fueled up and got ice for the cooler. I spotted this neat Hi-lux from Germany:
We crossed paths at Wahweep, the gas station and Mc Donald's. Unfortunately it was only a passing, I would have loved to have sat around a campfire and heard of his journey!

Stocked up on food, ice and fuel I made my way to the Smokey Mountain road and towards Alstrom Point high above the lake.

Ever seen the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes? These bentonite hills were used in several scenes. Maybe they look familiar to you? Its been a long time since I have seen it, but I would assume it was used for one of the "forbidden zone" scenes. One word of caution when traveling across this kind of clay. In the wet months or after a rainstorm the clay will make the trail extremely slippery and can rut deeply. My grandpa would say that the wet clay is: "slicker than snot on a breadboard." Luckily no such problems today!

I finally made it to my perch above the lake.

Even the Jeep seemed to be taking in the view!

I found a slightly sheltered spot amongst the rocks and set up camp. From this high vantage point I had wonderful cell phone reception. I made the best of it by catching up with some friends I haven't talked to much since my journey began. After catching up with old friends I climbed into bed and drifted off to sleep.


  1. Great pics and perspective! I remember doing HITR trail in my 89 YJ. Ahhh...let's just say I did it once and never again. That road is horrible after it crosses the Kane County Line. I miss my YJ, a little, but it looks like you are putting yours to some good fun!

    How are the bugs down there? I have heard that they are bad. What say you?

    Thanks for your blog and enjoy your travels.


  2. might want to look for the book entitled HIGHWAY 12...the author drives an old jeep and discusses all the places and site along the highway...

  3. Mike Thanks for following the blog and my adventure. I must admit I have gotten more than a bit behind with updating it.....long story to be explained in another post coming soon.

    Needless to say I don't think the hole-in-the-rock road is on my "to do" list again anytime soon! Those washboards were the worst I have ever seen hands down. And being in a YJ with a stock suspension probably didn't help much. On my visit the bugs were there but livable with a bit of bug spray, lots of cedar gnats though!

    Thanks for the book recommendation, from reading a bit of it on google books I will defiantly be buying a copy soon!

  4. I want to finish on your balls.