Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Page AZ is a wee little city with an incredible number of places to visit. Between the lakes, canyons and hiking spots, you could spend several days in this one city and keep yourself entertained. We only had the morning to explore, so we decided to splurge and take a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon.

 
Upper Antelope Canyon | Emma Smith Ceramics
 

Both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon are exclusively visited through tour guides, for a number of reasons. Located on the Navajo Reservation, the canyon (sometimes called "Corkscrew Canyon") is a quarter mile long and 130ft deep. Like Jesse mentioned in his blog post about Spooky Gulch - slot canyons are Dangerous with a capital D, in rainstorms. With the volume of visitors that Antelope Canyon gets every year, you wouldn't want to be trapped in a 130ft deep canyon with dozens of people when a flash flood hits.

Upper Antelope Canyon | Emma Smith Ceramics
Upper Antelope Canyon | Emma Smith Ceramics

Visiting in the winter time meant that we didn't get the same bright colours or light beams that a summer visit would provide - but there were fewer people, and for a cold January morning there were still more people than I really preferred.

Upper Antelope Canyon | Emma Smith Ceramics
Upper Antelope Canyon | Emma Smith Ceramics

Antelope Canyon is the most photographed slot canyon in Arizona - photographers travel from all over the world to spend time in this canyon and capture its beauty. And for good reason - it makes for remarkable photographs! National Geographic once asked to capture the flash flooding in the canyon and secretly bolted their cameras to the (millions of years to carve out) canyon walls. When the flash flood came through, it ripped their equipment off the walls and carried it away - the cameras (and footage!) were never seen again. (Karma's a bitch, National Geographic.)

Upper Antelope Canyon | Emma Smith Ceramics

We got some spectacular photographs, but to be honest, the atmosphere was a let down. I can imagine the canyon would be a very spiritual, serene, and moving place to be - if you were alone. But we weren't. We were shepherded along in a group of 6 (we were told this was a small group) with a tour guide chattering on about all the different rock formations, where exactly we should aim our cameras, and what filters to use. We got some great photos, but the photos are much more incredible than the experience was. There was no time to quietly enjoy, reflect, or wander off on your own.

If you're going to visit Arizona, Antelope Canyon is worth visiting - but only if you have extra time. There are so many other sites to see that (for an adventurer) would be more rewarding.

On our way to the Grand Canyon, we stopped at Horseshoe Bend - another famous landmark where the Colorado River (the same river that carved out the Grand Canyon) makes a sharp horseshoe curve. The short hike to the bend brings you to the cliff's edge where you can look down and see the river wrapping like a snake around the rocks below.

Horseshoe Bend

And then we were off to the Grand Canyon - the highlight of the trip (for me) and a place I will go back to, MANY more times.
That's up next, and until then, thanks for reading!

HO HO

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Six turkey dinners later, and my Christmas holidays are over. I'm a little relieved that I don't have to eat turkey again until Easter, but wishing I didn't have to go back to work. My week was filled with social events and travelling - we spent the weekend before Christmas with my in-laws in Bracebridge, then Christmas Eve/Day with my parents and Jesse's dad in Burlington. Boxing Day we were in Stoufville, Friday we were in Toronto and Saturday night we visited friends in Hamilton. The holidays sure go by fast when there is so much to do! I'm looking forward to New Years, two more days off, and a lot of sitting around. We will likely play several rounds of giant-Jenga (my Christmas present from Jesse, who made it himself).

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In other news, I will be working on some pots this coming weekend - I have taken a break for a while and am anxious to start creating for next season's wood-firings. My mother keeps asking for big bowls and plates, so maybe I'll scale up this time.

I hope your holidays were delightful. <3

Variations on Symmetry

IMG_1704 Thursday night was the opening of Variations on Symmetry, a show presenting the works of Eliza Au and Ying-Yueh Chang. I have always admired Ying-Yueh's work in photographs, never having had the opportunity to experience her installations in person. Ying-Yueh previously taught at Sheridan and though she never taught me personally, I heard many stories of her dedication and passion for ceramics. Believe me, the work proves it.

The OCC's Janna Hiemstra curates a fantastic show. From the sidewalk of Queen West, the view through the gallery's front window is enticing and enchanting; Ying-Yueh's "Winter Garden" hangs at the front, inviting the public into a wonderland of detail, precision and repetition.

The show was frankly, breathtaking. Each piece boasted hours of labour, meticulous detail and intentional composition. Eliza Au (a former student of Ying-Yueh's) presented equally as complex and delicate forms. Using primarily ceramic, glass and paper, Eliza's works reflected elaborate tessellations, pattern and repetition.

Variations on Symmetry has been in the works for FOUR years and has been touring across Canada for several months. It's next stop will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For more information on the show, go to www.craft.on.ca

Better yet, check out the show - it's on until April 13th at the Ontario Craft Council (990 Queen St. West, TO).

Here are some photos from the opening.

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