Friday, June 11, 2010

Privacy is the best part of visiting the southwest during the winter. In late February, snow has become less frequent and daytime temperatures begin to climb out of the 50s making hiking through the desert extremely pleasant. However, this is not the best part of this time of year. For some reason, possibly because people don't believe in wearing jackets in the desert, most of the parks and sites in the southwest are all but deserted this time of year. You may still run into other tourists at the ranger station or at the most famous sites like delicate arch and mesa arch but the vast majority of your time will be spent alone, the way it should be in the desert.

Not having a vehicle capable of traversing the washboard like riverbed leading to Antelope Canyon, I had to get a ride from one of the Navajo men that oversee the site. Luckily, I was the only one who showed up and was able to have my own personal guide through the area. If there where any place that fosters a desire for solitude it would be Antelope Canyon. Early in the year, the sun never gets high enough in the sky to crest the walls of the narrow canyon. The light, reflected back and forth between walls of navajo sandstone, fills the canyon with a warm glow. The dappled light gives one the impression of walking through a dense forest. The temperature, kept low due to lack of sunlight, feels like it would in a cave. The Navajo do their part to restrict the number of tourists in the canyon during peak seasons to help preserve the site as well as to allow each person a glimpse of the sublime solitude contained within.

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