The incredible secret canyons of Arizona – Passage, Staircase and Secret canyon

[This was the third leg of our ~3000 mile journey in the great American west. Here are the links to the first, secondfourth & fifth parts]

We had reserved to be on a tour of three canyon formations which turned out to be essentially a private tour because no one else showed up – despite it being a pleasant sunday in August. On the flip side, we did get to experience the beautiful area at our own pace, and never felt hurried.

Starting from the city of Page, we drove into Navajo land inside a ‘Hummer’, which we soon found out – was likely the only large vehicle which could get us around the area. The tour owners had an exclusive contract with the Navajo tribe head which allowed them access to this private land. To get a sense of where these canyons were located, take a look at this short video :

And when the guide was just getting around (and not climbing steep slopes), this is what a drive around felt like :

Getting into the canyons

This canyon hiking was incredible. We had to climb and jump, crawl, balance and suspend our weight between two canyon walls to squeeze through, and find our own “best” way to solve each situation – we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Climbing secret canyon, arizona

Climbing secret canyon, arizona

 

This is what walking through some of the passages felt like :

At many points, it was quite literally ‘raining sand’ – very fine sand, and here Priya’s telling me to protect and cover the camera, as we look above at a strange formation.

 

Vertical shot of sun beam on wall of passage canyon, Arizona. I loved the play of light here. It changed at times more than once within a minute, forcing me to meter the shot again. The same place could have fifty different equally "true" representations over the course of the day. If this is a visual treat, you may be able to imagine what it must have been like to be there seeing it in person... (Uday Arya)

Vertical shot of sun beam on wall of passage canyon, Arizona. I loved the play of light here. It changed at times more than once within a minute, forcing me to meter the shot again. The same place could have fifty different equally “true” representations over the course of the day. If this is a visual treat, you may be able to imagine what it must have been like to be there seeing it in person…

We were back by late afternoon, and felt as if we’d been on the most visually intense and differently beautiful immersions in the great workshop of Nature.

After a relaxed lunch, we began our journey to the Canyonlands national park,  our last exploration of this kind of area and geology before heading up north to the utterly magnificent Yellowstone park.

Other parts of this road-trip

Uday
..is a wanna-be travel-writer and photographer currently based out of New York. In 2013, received the Dilbert bravery award for attempting to put together lengthy travelogues in the age of 20-sec attention spans.
Uday
Uday