Antelope Canyon

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Earlier this summer, Taylor and I were lucky enough to tour one of the craziest natural wonders in the United States. Just outside of Page, AZ near Lake Powell, a slot canyon runs underground through Navajo sandstone and has recently become a photographer’s dreamscape. We are not photographers, per se, but even we were able to get some cool photos from our hike through the canyon. The canyon is divided into two sections: the wider and shallower Upper Antelope Canyon, and the longer, narrower Lower Antelope Canyon. We hiked through the Lower portion:

Lower Antelope Canyon is an incredible place to walk or photograph. The patterns on the wall give the entire length a look of constant motion.  At the base of the canyon, the sky is only occasionally visible through the cracks 120 feet up. The smooth lines of the canyon are carved by flash-flood rainwater rushing through at high speeds. Our guide said the canyon can fill to the top with rushing water at a minute's notice. A nice opening here. The Lower Canyon can get very narrow at points. We had to squeeze through a couple times! Red, orange, yellow, purple, grey, pink - all from various angles of light hitting the sandstone. Some photos are deceiving. The canyon is almost 120 ft. deep and more than 1,300 ft. long. Some areas are more jagged than others, in the processed of being smoothed out by sand and rushing water. The tour guides are well versed in the right camera settings to capture shots like these, taken on a point-and-shoot Canon. This particular formation is said to look like the head of a Navajo chief. The canyon looks different depending on what time of day you tour. Clearly, we happened to catch a great time! No Photoshop required.
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The canyon looks different depending on what time of day you tour. Clearly, we happened to catch a great time! No Photoshop required.

Even though we had just been at the Grand Canyon a few days before, this place sort of blew our minds. Go while you can, however – it’s getting more crowded every year. The Navajo nation owns the Antelope Canyon and won’t let anyone go in without a guide, because they are trying valiantly to preserve it and protect people who want to see it (it’s a fairly dangerous place!). According to our tour guide, the canyon became a high-traffic destination in the last decade thanks to digital photography. In 2011, a photographer sold a photo of the canyon for $6.5 million, which currently holds the record for world’s most expensive photograph. None of our photos are probably worth seven figures, but the experience alone was worth a million dollars.

When Progressive Wasn’t a Dirty Word

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By pure coincidence, I have been reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism” throughout the last month of silly season Republican politicking – the Donald Trump Show, the debate circus, and the Iowa State Fair “please-notice-me-I’m-wearing-dad-jeans-and-holding-a-fried-porkchop-on-a-stick” routine of American politics. Sadly, I’ve noticed the only thing unhealthier that what they stick in their mouths seems to be what comes out of them. But as I watch these pitiful bought-out attention-starved fundamentalist egomaniacs prance around trying to deport the most minorities, I can’t help but contrast this laughable state of public discourse with the debates of 100 years ago thoroughly outlined in DKG’s latest. Whatever happened to candidates like Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft?

These guys were the original “progressives”: pro-worker, pro-social welfare, pro-market, pro-conservation, anti-trust, anti-tariff, anti-lobbying, and anti-establishment. Oh, and they advocated all of this as standard bearers of the Republican Party.

Roosevelt and Taft typified a time when the parties were probably closer ideologically than any other time in US history. In 1912, the two of them along with Woodrow Wilson campaigned against each other for president, all on platforms well to the left of any candidate today. It would be like the 2016 field were dominated by three candidates who all shared the politics of Bernie Sanders. We’ve changed a bit in 100 years.

By all accounts, Roosevelt was one of the great presidents of the 20th century. A Republican dynamo who couldn’t sit still for five seconds, he helped break up major railroad and oil trusts, fought for worker’s rights, intervened in labor disputes on behalf of workers, initiated civil service reform, preserved vast areas of the U.S. as National Parks and National Forests, and started the Panama Canal project. He was also a bit of a psychopath – violent, belligerent, thought that the U.S. needed to go to war with somebody every few years because it would keep us healthy and alert. But his Bull Moose spirit is what helped pushed much of the reform he advocated. Few, whether business or machine politicians – dared line up against him.

Taft, on the other hand, is not remembered as a great president, but he did more than most.

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