Page, Arizona, has continually been a small metropolis. The 4 million traffic who come here yearly, although, that’s new. For the past decade, locals have been mildly flummoxed approximately the large surge of people to their homes, with a population of fewer than eight,000 and a faraway locale. Nestled on the northernmost fringe of the Arizona wilderness, it’s strong two-hour pressure from the Flagstaff airport and five from Phoenix and Las Vegas’s larger hubs.
Residents of Page do know, even though that many tourists come to see the identical component. On the night I arrive in early May, the bartender on the Courtyard Marriott cantina off the metropolis’s fundamental drag describes it to me like this: “It’s rocks.”
I first see the rocks early the next morning with an excursion group, which is the best way you are allowed to visit them. Before our guide tells us his name, which we find out is Anthony, he asks us the most critical query of the day: “Do you all have iPhones?”
Anthony instructs everyone except the kid with the Samsung to open our camera apps, click on the icon in the top-right nook, and swipe to “Vivid Warm.”
Vivid Warm is a built-in picture clear-out that increases assessment and offers everything a burnt orange-ish tint. But at Antelope Canyon, a sandstone formation on Navajo land with famously undulating walls, Vivid Warm is more than that: It makes the frequently inconvenient and luxurious trip right here worth it.
The promise of best pix is why we and dozens of other human beings from rival excursion organizations are packed into commercial-size vehicles at eight in the morning. Anthony is aware of how to take all of the first-rate ones. Tours of Antelope Canyon are prepared by way of picture op, and as we stroll thru the narrowing crack, we pause every ten toes or as a way to capture an exclusive image.
“That’s the Standing Bear,” Anthony says, pointing to a red-orange rock formation that looks as if a undergo sticking its nostril up at the sky. There are faces, sunrises, a dragon’s eye, and in the direction of the middle, the Heart. “You nearly were given it,” he encourages one woman, even though we all line up in the back of him after some time and wordlessly hand him our telephones.
For forty-five minutes, we politely smush our bodies in opposition to the canyon’s partitions to avoid ruining different humans’ pictures. Though we’re advised not to take any on the way returned, all and sundry break the regulations. There is a sheepish, giddy camaraderie among my group as we extract the whole thing we can from this region and place it into our pockets.
Though there are many amazing slot canyons manufactured from equally first-rate sandstone within a few mile radii of Page, Antelope Canyon is the famous one, and telling humans not to come back right here because it’s too crowded is like telling someone they shouldn’t go to the pinnacle of the Empire State Building due to the fact the view from some other skyscraper is just as precise. However actual it could be, it doesn’t maintain a candle to the reality that this one is imbued with an unreplicable aura of specialness, which means more humans come here. Proportion pictures of it on social media, the more other human beings will need to do the equal.
This is how Antelope Canyon — whose amazing splendor is nearly transcendent — converted into an area where for about 70 dollars (plus the cost of actually getting there), you can jostle your way past dozens of other travelers for a shot at one of the prettiest images within the international. Whether you virtually experience it slow right here and whether or not what you’re doing is even morally sound is secondary, as with maximum tourist points of interest inside the Instagram age.
Page’s town didn’t exist till 1957 and most effectively lived in any respect as it had to. In the early twentieth century, floods destroyed big swaths of farmland to its south; to preserve the Colorado River at bay, the USA Bureau of Reclamation authorized the Glen Canyon Dam development. Its people wished an area to stay for the decade-long system, so the government exchanged a plot of land with the Navajo Nation that could come to be Page.
The dam is also responsible for becoming the town’s major traveler appeal, Lake Powell Reservoir. In the latter half of the 20th century, boaters, usually from elsewhere within the Southwest, would forestall in Page for gas and groceries and head out to the lake for days-long vacations. For a long time, Page became a visitor metropolis that didn’t really need to do an awful lot for its travelers besides providing the on-land requirements: a marina, some lodges, and some respectable lunch spots.