Back to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River in northern Arizona. The gateway to the Grand Canyon via the river. The geologic break in the almost impenetrable cliffs the Colorado has dug for itself. It’s a crossroads: the road to the river bank, below Glen Canyon Dam, five miles upstream from the modern Highway 89A that crosses the gorge via Navajo Bridge. Which are twin bridges, the old one being a tourist walkway these days.
Lee’s Ferry Boat Landing, Colorado River, Arizona
Post Office: Marble Canyon, Arizona, at the Marble Canyon Lodge. An outpost in the high desert. And after all these years, one of my favorite places. A powerful magnet for me, photographically with its towering cliffs on both sides of the river. The river cold and deep and powerful. The people who visit, to run the Grand Canyon, or fish for trout. Or explore the historic buildings nearby.
Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center, Marble Canyon, Arizona
The end of the season at the North Rim of Grand Canyon. A perfect fall, perfect weather for the aspen colors. It’s been a great five months here, and to be living here from when the leaves first came out in May until the peak colors and leaf drop now has been quite satisfying.
The aspen colors up here are now past their peak overall, but there are still lots of lovely colors, in the late turning groves of trees, and even individual trees. When set against the trademark Arizona clear blue sky, the aspen golds are even more brilliant.
September on the Kaibab Plateau. The second best month of the year, because it’s autumn now. The best month? October, of course.
This time I’m getting to watch the entire unfolding of the fall colors, from start to finish. Every day. Day by day. Last week I sought out the very earliest of the aspen colors. A few clones of trees turned already. Some gold on the ground.
Photo Location: Kaibab National Forest, North Kaibab District, outside Grand Canyon National Park North Rim, Arizona.
Is it the end of this year’s monsoon rain season? I couldn’t help thinking that yesterday as I walked out on the spine of limestone below Marble View on the Kaibab National Forest a few miles outside the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
No clouds today. None. Nothing. And calm. Well, at least the air was about as clear as it gets anymore. The light was lovely: bright and crisp. I savored my perch from the northeast edge of the Kaibab Plateau, gazing down onto the Marble Platform from which the same layers I was standing on had been raised several thousand feet above the rest. To the north are the Vermilion Cliffs, to the upper right where Lees Ferry is located.
Photo Location: Marble View, Kaibab National Forest, north of North Rim, Arizona.
Cockscomb and Marble Platform, Kaibab Plateau, Arizona Strip
This is where it began. Where the Kaibab Plateau was raised up some 4,000 feet above the surrounding Marble Platform to the north. At the upper end of Grand Canyon. The Colorado River continued to downcut through the rising layers, and the exposed sides of the inner gorge eroded back, back, widening the Canyon network, which it continues to do today. We merely happen to be present at this point in time, in the ongoing process. This place is literally falling apart!
This view is on the Kaibab National Forest, north of the entrance gate to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Looking down from near Dog Point. Far below you can actually see the same upper layers of rock that were titled from horizontal as the land rose. The Cockscomb of tilted Coconino Sandstone looks like a picket line, at the edge of the Saddle Mountain Wilderness.
In the far distance you can make out the Vermilion Cliffs, and Echo Cliffs at Marble Canyon and Lees Ferry, Arizona.
Summer 2009, from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. I was fortunate to take in this view in a summer rainstorm, clouds pouring out in the sunlight. The Colorado River shining far, far, below. Endless canyons. From everywhere.
Photo location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
One of my favorite (so far) shots from Navajo Bridge, where Highway 89A crosses the Colorado River gorge in northern Arizona.
This is the Marble Canyon portion of Grand Canyon, the uppermost portion. Looking down onto the river from almost 500 feet above, with the majestic Echo Cliffs in the distance. Just upstream from here is Lees Ferry, where all boats put in to the river to run Grand Canyon.
One of my favorite areas in the whole wide world.
Photo Location: Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon, Coconino County, Arizona.
The 2013 “monsoon” thunderstorm season has been rejuvenated here in northern Arizona recently. I’m glad of it.
Fittingly, I came across this photo in my files from this time of year that was made in 2009, from the South Rim of Grand Canyon, about 100 miles north of where I’m living presently. That almost makes me a Grand Canyon local.
This scene was looking west, late in the day. The sunlight is shining like a mirror off the surface of the Colorado River, a mile below in depth and several miles to the west. The thunderstorm rain curtains are lovely, ethereal looking. Much of the foreground Canyon is in deep shadow, giving a rich strength to the image.
Photo location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.