When you have a Type-A personality, like I do, sometimes you over think things. Like the fact that Arizona does not observe daylight savings time. But the Navajo Nation does observe daylight savings time.
When I was in Page Arizona taking a tour of the Lower Antelope Canyons, which departed at 10 am and was located on the Navajo Nation’s land, I will admit that I was slightly confused as to which 10 am I should show up for. 10 am Arizona time or 10 am daylight savings time. My observation that I over think things was only validated when I called the tour office and asked which time standard they were on. I could tell the answer from the person who answered the phone came with a furrowed brow. They were on Arizona time which I assume was due to them catering to tourists, who for the most part don’t spend 30 minutes on the internet trying to figure out what time everyone was on.
Yeah, I know, I’m weird.
I arrived at the tour office around 10 am where I checked in and was handed a receipt that acted as my ticket. As I sat and waited for my tour to start I could see touring the Antelope Canyons was quite the popular activity. There were tours leaving about every 30 minutes and large groups of people seated everywhere waiting for their chance to walk through the famous canyons. If I had been paying closer attention I would have noticed that my 10 am tour had left without me. Luckily I was able to join the 10:30 tour once I admitted that I had now transitioned to a Type-B personality.
The tour guide led our group down a small decent to the opening of the canyons where we then took metal stairs to the base of the slot canyons and we stood in awe. From my research on the canyons the best time of day to take photos was mid-morning. I followed the advice and had booked a mid-morning tour. During mid-morning the canyons are filled with a warm light that illuminates the rich orange coloring. Afternoon light does have it’s advantages however, as it gives you the famous light-beams that blast through the canyons.
Our tour group was fairly large, around 30 people, that were led through the slot canyons by two guides. One guide at the beginning and one guide at the tail end of the group, most likely to keep people from lollygagging. It was not hard to get caught lollygagging as the canyons are stunning. Our lead guide would stop periodically at picturesque spots, allowing all of us to take “the” photo. I realized that although I had taken a photography class in college, was raised by a photographer and thought I knew how to handle a camera well enough to shoot decent photos, my skills were lacking. Luckily the tour guides were well equipped with dealing with people who do not know what they are doing when shooting with weird light in the canyons. The guides even recommended and/or helped change the settings on people’s cameras for them. Probably the most impressive camera help came when the guides showed many of us all how to use the panoramic functions on our camera phone. I will be honest, I don’t use my camera phone for much other then taking photos of my beer and then posting them on the app Untappd.
The guide used the panorama feature and took a photo of me standing in the canyons. Based on the blurriness of the photo I can only assume that there was an earthquake or that the guide had his fair share of coffee that morning! And while the photo is blurry, I still find it pretty!
The tour was focused primarily on taking photos of the slot canyons, even though we were not on the photography only tour. I always enjoy learning about the history of the areas I travel and I feel that was one thing the tour skimmed over. However the guide did answer historic questions when asked.
There are a few tour companies in the area for the Lower Antelope Canyon tours and I booked with Ken’s Tours. Mostly because they have good reviews online and after having taken the tour I agree with the reviews. They offer two tours: a photography tour and the regular tour. I took the regular tour and felt that was sufficient for taking photos. However if you are a photo buff you may want to check out the photography tour. The photography tour is slightly more at $50 USD whereas the regular tour is $28 USD.
It is also important to note that there are upper and lower Antelope Canyon tours. I only had time for the lower tour. I chose the lower Antelope Canyons because of it’s easy access and from what I had read, if you had to choose between the upper and lower canyons that the lower canyons would be the better choice. Apparently I am of the belief that you do believe everything you read on the internet.
Once the tour completed we climbed up a set of stairs and followed the trail out of the canyons. Looking down at the canyons it was amazing to see how unimpressive they looked from above.
The tour then gathered near the exit where one of the guides explained to us how the canyons were created. She made a small well in the the sand and poured water in the well. She then used her hands to scoop around the water, creating a bowl. The water was meant to represent rain and her hands were meant to represent the wind. The simple demonstration represented how the elements create the canyons and continue to shape them. It was a nice wrap up for the tour and gave some understanding about the area, which as I had mentioned earlier was slightly lacking on the tour. Overall the tour was amazing and I highly recommend touring the Lower Antelope Canyons.