Lower Antelope Slot Canyon is more rustic and equally spectacular near Page, Arizona.
Following the photographic tour of the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, an early afternoon arrival at the rustic entrance to the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon will begin the second tour of the day. This canyon is a half mile (0.8 KM) north of State Road 98 and about 4 miles (6.4 KM) north of the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon. The names 'Upper' and 'Lower' refer to direction of water flow rather than latitudinal orientation.
The young Navajo guide escorts five of us a short distance to the entry point. The first sobering feature is a reminder of the potential danger these canyons present. The Lions Club has erected a brass plaque in memory of a group of visitors who lost their lives here in a flash flood on August 12, 1997.
The canyon entrance is a narrow fissure in the horizontal, stone surface of the wide wash. It is a more strenuous expedition since access requires descent on narrow, steep, metal ladders bolted to the canyon walls.
Compared to the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon is a much deeper and longer canyon which is substantially less developed with an uneven floor where minor easy scrambling is occasionally required.
The young Navajo guide provides orientation and dialogue for a short distance, then there is an opportunity to explore on our own.
The recent flood has left the bottom wet. Wallowing in the occasional patch of mud is part of the initiative to descend much further and deeper into the canyon. Eventually the hike proceeds into deepening standing water. Exploring solo and not knowing what is under the water means there is potential to step off the edge of something, so the decision to turn around is made after wading through water just above knee depth.
Sunlight has passed from directly overhead and diffused light creates fascinating color content and shadow as light bounces around the canyon. The Lower Antelope Slot Canyon tour is quite a different experience than the morning adventure in the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, but equally impressive, satisfying and spiritual.
There is time to spend completely alone in this overwhelmingly beautiful place. The canyon is perfectly silent and pleasantly cool.
The return hike through the canyon provides quite a different perspective and eventually there remains only the climb up the many steep ladders to the surface. Everyone else has left long ago.
Back at the hotel, a relaxing hour is spent at the pool prior to the walk down the hill and through the golf course to Denny's for supper. There are a lot of Road Runners in the surrounding terrain. These birds can move. There is no doubt in my mind why they are called road runners. It is comical to watch them run.
Tomorrow will be allocated for the drive from Page to new accommodation on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA.