PAGE, Ariz. - In Sam Littleman's backyard lays the greatest secrets and stories of the universe. Just ask him. He was born and raised within the canyons, learned the stories of the canyons ... He is the canyons.
Antelope Canyon is considered by many to be one of the Eight Wonders of the World. Carved from Navajo sandstone over the course of thousands of years, the canyon holds a sense of wonder from its narrow passages that allow enough space for small groups to pass through and for rays of light to shine from above.
The canyon is separated into two separate sections - the Upper and Lower - and holds its own myths and lore for each area. It is unknown when the canyon was first discovered, but local Navajos used to utilize the canyon as a place where cattle grazed during the winter.
According to Littleman, "This is the origin of cell phone technology."; "The elders hid here during the Long Walk, those who stayed and never signed any treaty."; "Here is how they discovered how to detect uranium."; "Jimmy Buffet hangs out here and this is where Margaritaville comes from."
Littleman is a tour guide for Lower Antelope Canyon, just outside of Page. Navajo elders warn of entering the canyons, as it is a sacred place, but Littleman explains that at the beginning of each season, he goes through a special ceremonial prayer that honors the spiritual beings. In this sense, he ensures the safety of his tours.
The last photographer he took, at his own expense, all over the Navajo Nation for unique perspectives. The history and the future of Antelope Canyon are spoken with passion in Littleman's words, and money does not rule his purpose.
The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdeztwazi, or "spiral rock arches." Its counter part is called Tse bighanilini, which means "the place where water runs through rocks." Each section of the canyon contains its own tour and with each tour comes its own history.
Servicing the Upper Canyon are five tours that give in depth service to its visitors. The five tours are the Antelope Canyon Navajo Tour, the Antelope Canyon Tour, Grand Circle Adventures, the Overland Canyon Tour and the Tse Bighanilini Tour. Ken's tours services the Lower Canyon.
In his time at Antelope Canyon, Littleman has received three marriage proposals and one "Can I take you home?" proposal.
A Swiss model, wishing to remain anonymous, confirms Littleman's claims. "Its true. Navajos are beautiful; the culture, the land and the spirituality...wow!"
Littleman goes on to explain this aura.
"We've had Britney Spears, the band from Metallica, Angela Jolie, Adam Beach. They come and we treat them like Chizzy Navajos and they love it," Littleman explained.
And what's not to love about one of the Eight Wonders of the World? You'll just have to see for yourself.
Entrance into the canyon is $6 per person and an additional fee is charged by each tour. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information visit www.navajonationparks.org or contact Navajo Parks and Recreation at (928) 871-6636.