At heart, the area around Antelope canyon is a savage, rural place. The arid, desert zones have nurtured legends of people living between reality and fantasy, solidarity and solitude. The essence of this place can be found here where the sun beats down on the hard dry soil, where towns are still linked together by unpaved roads, where farmers tend to their fields on horseback, and where the Navajo call “home”. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse' bighanilini, which means "the place where water runs through rocks." Upper Antelope is at about 4,000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the streambed. The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdestwazi, or "spiral rock arches" and to older Navajos, entering a place like Antelope Canyon was like entering a cathedral. They would probably pause before going in, to be in the right frame of mind and prepare for protection and respect. This would also allow them to leave with an uplifted feeling of what Mother Nature has to offer, and to be in harmony with something greater than themselves. It was, and is, a spiritual experience.
Climbing down into the canyon, we linger at the sunbeams which pour down like heavenly messages. Climbing further down still, it is a time to pause for reflection in a spiritual wonderland, we let the quiet and color soak into our bones, and take a bit of the canyon into our heart.
Back home now I close my eyes and let my imagination take over, although scientific explanation assuredly has its place here, these visual delights fit easily into the domain of art.
If you go;
Roads can become impassable in wet weather, and conditions can change quickly. The terrain is rough, water is scarce and the weather is often extreme in most areas. In the summer, the trails are hot and dry; in winter, elevations make them subject to severe cold and high winds. Due to the quick changes in the weather, be aware of the dangers of flash floods. The beauty of Antelope Canyon can be deadly. During monsoon season rain water can quickly flood the canyon. It doesn't have to downpour on or near the canyon slots for flash floods to whip through, as rain falling dozens of miles away "upstream" can funnel into the canyon with little prior notice. Eleven hikers were killed in Antelope Canyon by a flash flood. Very little rain fell at the site, but an earlier thunderstorm had dumped a large amount of water into the canyon basin, several miles upstream and a wall of water slammed into the 12 people in the bottom of the canyon and swept them downstream. Only one person survived.