Slot Canyons   Leave a comment

If you travel to the Desert Southwest and like to hike, at some point you will end up hiking to (and into) a slot canyon.  On a previous trip Melanie and I went to highly regarded Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona.  And before that my good friend Rob and I did a strenuous hike in Paria Canyon on the Arizona / Utah border.  This time on our most recent trip to Utah, Melanie and I sought out a couple of more remote and lesser known canyons.

A slot canyon is just what it sounds like — a narrow slot cleaved into the earth and rock.  Not for the claustrophobic, but fascinating for anyone else who does not mind squeezing into narrow spaces.  The photography is fantastic thanks to the red sandstone and muted light from above.  Only one word of caution — check the weather forecast before you go.  Thunderstorms and flash floods can be lethal in a slot canyon.  With a little pre-planning and common sense, a slot canyon hike is likely to be something you will never forget.



(Above)  The first slot canyon we found was as easy as can be.  Fifty yards from the road and only a hundred yards or so in depth.  This is a photo from the roadside showing the entrance.




(Above) You only need to walk 100 feet into a slot canyon to be in a different world.  Outside sounds disappear but spoken word echos off the narrow walls.  The temperature drops and your eyes slowly adjust from bright sunshine to eerie reflected light from the narrow slot above.  The footsteps in the sand show that quite a few people have enjoyed the solitude we found here.



(Above)  The second slot canyon was a lot more difficult.  A 30+ mile drive on dirt road through the desert and a two-mile hike to the entrance.  This photo is from near the trailhead.  The slot canyon is out there somewhere.



(Above)  Near the entrance after we traversed the two miles down to the canyon.  This tumbleweed was too good for any photographer to pass up.



(Above)  Melanie, just inside the entrance.  Nice and wide and level to begin.



(Above)  The slot quickly became more narrow and rocky.  This slot was probably 800 yards or more in length.



(Above)  Solid sandstone walls that have been sculpted by wind and water over thousands of years.



(Above)  Melanie looking ahead at the narrowing slot.  I married a true hiker — keeping up with her can be a challenge.  Every once in a while I can get her to slow down for a photo.  Having a person in the shot lends scale to the image.  (Note the log high up on the wall, above Melanie’s head.  It was likely deposited there during a summer flash flood.)



(Above)  A bit of scrambling is required in some of the slots.  The effort is worth it however, and we took this slot all the way to the end — with about a dozen stops along the way as I set up my tripod and took fifty or so photos.

Maybe I’ll have my ashes scattered in a slot canyon.  They are seriously that cool!

—  End  —


Posted November 14, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Nature and Wildlife, Travel Photography

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