You'll Never Guess ...
December, 2001

Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Washington?????
Would you believe .... Arizona!!!
Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon to be exact.  16 to 22 degrees at night.  But who's complaining?  This is warm compared to Fairbanks.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Mitch, you look a little nervous.  Scoot over and let your brother stand a little closer to the edge.
Max! I said "near" the edge not "over" it!
Glad you didn't drop over.  Next time let's use the mule trail.  The two red arrows in this photo mark the trail.  Early in the morning a group of people left on mules for the bottom of the canyon.  Can you see the three people walking on the trail by one of my arrows?  You'd better not step off of the trail. It's steeper than it looks -- straight down!
Snow flakes at night with a camera flash.
Max is shown here taking the pledge for another Junior Ranger badge.  Mitch has decided that he's too old for them, but that doesn't stop Max.  He has earned a total of 44 badges so far.  (It amazes me that we've been to that many National Parks, National Monuments and National Historic Sites.)
We have so many nice photos that we couldn't decide which ones to use.
Sunset with the clouds.
Though it was cold, I'm glad we visited the Grand Canyon in the winter.  There were no crowds and the scenery was magnificent in the snow.

Page, Arizona
We have a winner for our Mystery Location contest -- our old friend, Tom Smith!  Though Tom did not correctly identify the exact canyon where these pictures were taken, his location of "Water Holes" canyon is just a few miles away and looks about the same.  The actual name of this spot is Antelope Canyon.  It's about 7 miles from Page, Arizona.

You can see Cheryl in the foreground and Max further ahead.

This canyon and others like it are known as "slot canyons".  They are created by years of swirling water during flash floods.  Several years ago 11 tourists were drowned when a flash flood, 50 feet deep, swept through lower Antelope Canyon.  The flood was caused by a thunderstorm five miles away.
This is a picture of the outlet side of the canyon.
This canyon is on land that is part of the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Cheryl had saved a cover photo showing this canyon from a Sierra magazine five years ago.  She has always been determined to see this place in person.  After asking a lot of questions and doing a little searching we found it!

Here's another view of the interior.

In order to visit this site you must be accompanied by a member of the local tribe, (and pay a hefty fee.)  Our guide drove us down a dirt road to this spot and left us there to explore on our own.  After an hour and a half he came back and picked us up.

This is the inlet side of the canyon.  The slot starts in the shadow near the bottom of the rocks.  It is open all the way from top to bottom.   It ranges from two to twenty feet wide. The rock is full of twists and swirls inside. 

(How do you like "Casper the Friendly Cloud" above?)

A closer shot of the inlet side of the canyon.  In the summer when the sun is straight above, the sunlight streams through the slot and looks almost like a spotlight shining down onto the interior pathway.
The outlet of Antelope Canyon again.

Tom came close to identifying this canyon.  In fact he found a real neat webpage that shows a lot of slot canyons.

http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/index.html 

 

The canyon he named looked so close to this one that we spent an hour reviewing our pictures against web pictures and location clues on web pages to determine if we were actually at the canyon known as Upper Antelope.  We decided that, yes, we did see upper Antelope.
A picture looking straight up through the ceiling of the canyon.

More of Arizona?  No.  After Arizona we headed north to spend Christmas with family in Everett, Washington and after that spent almost two weeks skiing at Whistler, British Columbia.
This year Max, (shown here,) took snow boarding lessons.  Mitch also went boarding for a day, but he still likes skiing with traditional skis the best.  He's turned into a very aggressive skier and loves racing down the black diamond slopes. 

As I write this page we are back in San Diego, California.  We have spent two weeks in Arizona since skiing.
 
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