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This is a guest post from my dad, Grandpa Points. He and my mom are in their mid-60’s, are (mostly) retired, and are ticking off “bucket list” destinations quicker than they ever thought possible thanks to miles, points, and travel deals. They have an intense love of this country, of its National Parks and treasures, and have no problem with a clean budget hotel room and an economy airline seat on a budget airline as long as it gets them where they want to be. A photographer by trade, his adventures are usually captured not just in his mind, but in his camera. He shares his thoughts and travels here from time to time, and I’m excited to share another one of their travel stories!
If you have ever had any casino related experience, good or bad, you have inevitably seen the signs advertising ” certified loosest slots” or “guaranteed 99% slot payback.”
These enticements can be seen alongside the highway on massive billboards, in print media, and in television commercials anywhere and anytime that a casino is nearby. The casinos want you to think that your chances are better in their casino than in the one across the street or around the corner. It is just good marketing. We have all fallen prey to these numbers being thrown at us. It looks like an almost “can’t lose” proposition. But, well, you know the rest of the story. In the long run, their house is going to win, and your house is going to lose.
However, we have recently experienced some “slots” that do indeed have a guaranteed and certified payback of 110%, 200% and a percentage on to infinity and beyond. And, for a lifetime! No, we are not con men promoting a get rich ponzi scheme and we have not invested in a magical, fix all, cure all elixir. We are just providing witness and testimony to Mommy Points readers of what we have seen and what we have beheld. Although if the truth be told, I guess we do have some “insider information” that we wish to share.
So without any sleight of hand or wizardly prestidigitation, but very magical nonetheless, we present The Antelope Slot Canyons.
These marvels of nature are located near Page, Arizona on Navajo tribal lands. There are two different canyons, The Upper and The Lower. They are separated by a few miles as the crow flies, but they are also connected by the unique common bond that they share. Each are limestone canyons that with the powerful erosive qualities of rushing water have been carved and transformed into winding, curving, dipping and waving hallways of awesomeness.
They run for about a hundred yards in length and extends upward 40 to 70 feet from the sand covered floor. The cascading movement of the canyon walls is not restricted to any singular direction or pattern but rather unfolds to an unscripted multi-directional randomness.
You need to be alert to 360 degrees of your surroundings in order to best visually capture this explosion of luminescent light, color and sculpted earth.
Your eyes are presented a buffet of delectable visions, and it is somewhat akin to turning a kaleidoscope and creating a constantly changing menu of mouth-watering eye popping 3D offerings.
One Kodak moment follows another. One jaw dropping image precedes the next. Photographers go nuts, artists are inspired, and all are in awe.
Slot canyons are so named due to their general narrowness, the width of the walkway, the width of this hallway, varies from a few feet at certain turns to about 15 feet at the widest expanse. My wife, Grandma Points, who usually trends toward claustrophobia, is not affected by these canyons.
The two canyons, while offering similar visuals, do differ in a few significant ways. The Upper Canyon is entered through a crack in a wall from ground level.
There are no stairs or elevation changes that visitors must negotiate. The canyon is about 100 yards long, and since you enter and exit from the same spot, you actually see the canyon coming and going. The Upper Canyon is home to the famous “light beam” that filters through at certain times of the day. The Upper Canyon cannot be driven to by individual tourists and requires a tour operated vehicle for transport.
The ride is part of the “experience” as you bumpily speed along on the dry stream bed for a few miles.
The thought does cross your mind that this was surely akin to being in a teeth chattering covered wagon racing to stake a claim in the 1893 Oklahoma Land Rush.
We laughed quite hard during the ride, and for us, it made a great day even better. The Lower Canyon is accessible by private vehicles as it is just off a main highway.
The Lower is literally lower than The Upper. Lower down stream, and it is be’lower ground level. This canyon is more a cavern/canyon than is The Upper. You descend about 60 feet on a series of steep, but very secure, ladders.
The entrance and exits have been reversed since our last visit. Originally, you entered through what looked like an innocent small shadow in the sand that was actually the portal to an underground world of beauty, and your exit was up the above mentioned stairs.
At first, we were disappointed in this change as we felt it took away from the “shock and awe” surprise we felt at the old unexpected entrance. But the new system makes sense as it eliminates an abrupt, somewhat strenuous and potentially hot climb out of the canyon. The change was made with visitor’s comfort and safety in mind.
Both canyons require you to be a part of a guided tour. The normal tour costs $20 a person, plus a $9.00 Tribal Land fee. The canyons are very popular and can be quite crowded at times as there are multiple tour providers. Entry times are staggered to help space out each tour, and efforts are made to provide each tourist a positive experience. However, peak season visits can result in hundreds being in some part of the canyon simultaneously. Each canyon is reportedly visited by about 160,000 people a year.
In a perfect world, we would suggest a visit midweek in the late fall, winter or early spring. Our tours have been in October and February. Our most recent experience was on Thursday, Feb 4th of this year. We took one of the last tours of the day, and our group had six people
in it. We only had to share the site and sights with one small group of eight ahead of us and one group of ten behind us. Other than having a private tour, it was as good as it can get.
Page, Arizona is about four hours from Las Vegas and Phoenix. The Canyons are worthy of being stand alone destinations, but multiple National Parks are nearby to further enhance your visit.
Our recommendation is for you to go. Go whenever you can, but go. Antelope Canyons, write it down, and put it on your list. It is beyond good; it is great. You will never forget the swirling, spiraling texture and definition highlighted by the natural glow of orange, gold, and desert rose hued light. It is your chance to see otherworldly while still here on earth. And remember, it is a sure bet.