Upon returning to milepost 302 after lunch, the three of us met Stetson, our new guide for the afternoon. As we were driving to the next canyon, he told us the story about how his Mom and Aunt own the land the canyons are on, the process they went through getting the permits and starting the touring business, and the challenges and successes his family, tribe, and community has dealt with.

As we parked and made out way to the entrance, Stetson stopped us at a sign marking the 1998 tragedy that happened in this canyon.

Thirteen people drowned in the canyon during a flash flood due to their guides negligence and inexperience. It is a heartbreaking story, but one that lead to better safety measures and awareness about the power of Mother Nature.

This is on the forefront of my mind as I look up to the darkening sky, and the very narrow canyon opening we are descending into….

No more than a couple feet are between the canyon walls as we descend down ladders into the belly of Lower Antelope.

I marvel at how different this place is from what was seen in the morning. More climbing, steep descents, twists and turns everywhere. A labyrinth that one can fall in love with.

We spend more time in here than any other canyon, and I could have spent more. As we reach the ladders at the end and start to ascend, I rub the sides of my face…..

as my cheeks are sore from the constant smile.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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