Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Water Holes

Water Holes is not a well-known slot canyon, but touted as one of the finest in the area, and that's saying a lot in the land of slot canyons. It's on Navajo Tribal land so a permit must be obtained from the Navajo before you hike the canyon.

But here's the thing about Water Holes. It starts out VERY's a little tricky to get into, but once you follow the stacked rocks it's not all that hard.  It may seem a little scary, but I've seen some pretty physically disabled people get in and out of it, and Walt and I did it with our heavy tripods and cameras which is about as hard as being physically disabled (we're probably mentally disabled trying to bring all that stuff into the canyon - but, oh well....)

So we're walking along and it's boring.....or at least I consider this boring for a slot canyon......

 This is NOT a slot's a slot canyon wannabe.  After about 3/4 mile, I'm thinking this is a joke and  not really all that big of a deal and so glad I did not cancel our slot canyon reservations at Antelope Canyon.

So I start trekking down the road to the trail head thinking Walt can just go traipse around all over kingdom come and I'll be back that the car resting...and of course laughing my ass off.

So a couple of other hikers in the canyon caught up to me and told me that they had met Walt in the narrows.  I'm like what narrows?  No one said anything about any narrows!!!  So I tuned around and yes, I re-hiked he 3/4 mile...again thinking the ice cream that night was going to taste mighty good.

This is looking a little better but still not a real slot canyon.  But what does make this one interesting is the sun.  What makes real slot canyons so special and particularly in the Page, AZ area or in the Paria River area is that they are in the Vermilion Cliffs which is one of the steps of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  The cliffs are called Vermilion cause they are red and mostly made of Navajo sandstone.  What makes this sandstone so special is that it has quartz in it which reflects the light.  What we photographers are looking for is not the sun on the canyon wall, we are looking for the reflection from the other side that is lit.  This shows this perfectly.  The left side is reflecting the light from the right side.  The right side has either no light (in shade and therefore not much reflected from the left side) while the left side has full reflection from the right sunlit side, and see the color on the left - that's what photographers are looking for.

 Here is a real slot canyon.....this is all about the light reflection and when the canyon walls are close there's lots of beautiful reflection going on.  This is the beginning of the Narrows in Water Holes Canyon. 
 From here it gets prettier and prettier.
 Even when there's light further down, it's really remarkably colorful.
Walt and I were both shocked at how well this little unknown canyon is lit and how beautifully it photographs.
It's easy to walk through.  There are some parts of the Narrows that are closer than others, but most of it is easy to walk through.
  The hard part was getting out with all our tripods and equipment.  I did a lot of the five point descending (two hands, two feet, and one butt), while a lot of crawling back up.
The ice cream that night tasted mighty fine!

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