by Stephen Ausherman — photography by Ron Munden
All I know is, I have to explore this mysterious slot dubbed Canyon X.
Something about the narrow depths of slots offers a kind of intimacy with nature that often gets lost in grander canyons. Lately, more and more travelers seem to appreciate this fact as they flock to popular draws like Buckskin, the longest slot canyon, and Antelope, the most photographed.
Innumerable slot canyons cut through the northern Arizona desert, but gaining access poses its challenges. For one, entries are often too steep for hikers without ropes and gear. Another, many slots slice through Navajo land. Exploring the terrain here requires permission, which can be difficult to obtain.
Such was the case for a particularly stunning slot on Navajo land. Harley Klemme, whose aunt owned the grazing rights, wanted to share its splendor with visitors, but feared too many would spoil the experience. He compromised by offering exclusive access to small groups.