Lee’s Ferry Again

Navajo Bridges, Marble Canyon, Arizona

Navajo Bridges, Marble Canyon, Arizona

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

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

Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center, Marble Canyon, Arizona

I have seen Lee’s Ferry in most times of year. I hope to keep on seeing it awhile longer, to experience all of them. Photo location: Lees Ferry and Marble Canyon, the Arizona Strip, Coconino County, northern Arizona. © 2015 Stephen J. Krieg

Whispers Of Spring In The High Desert

Oak Creek reflection, Red Rock State Park, Sedona.

Oak Creek reflection, Red Rock State Park, Sedona.

Sedona, Arizona: I’m still glad to know you.

I had to drive in from the south instead of down the switchbacks of upper Oak Creek Canyon, because they were working on that stretch of highway. Ok. No problem. No timetable, just daylight to burn as I revisit some favorite haunts.

The cliffs on the north side of Sedona.

The cliffs on the north side of Sedona.

Too early in the day for the Forest Service’s Red Rock Visitor Center to be open. So I was my own rolling visitor center. My own tour guide.

Unseasonably warm for early February. The plants were beginning to stir. I entered Red Rock State Park and walked along Oak Creek. A warm, calm spring morning. Soothing. Nobody else down there.

Arizona Alder tree crowns along Oak Creek.

Arizona Alder tree crowns along Oak Creek.

Down along the beautiful, clear stream the alders were flowering. They don’t have showy flowers like some trees, but rather graceful drooping catkins. Open for business.

Catkins (male flowers) of Arizona Alder, Alnus oblongifolia.

Catkins (male flowers) of Arizona Alder, Alnus oblongifolia.

The flowing cold water was mesmerizing as it reflected the still bare trees, the blue sky.

Oak Creek, sparkling in the February sunlight.

Oak Creek, sparkling in the February sunlight.

Photo locations: Sedona, and Red Rock State Park, northern Arizona. © 2015 Stephen J. Krieg.

Till The Last Leaf Falls

Frosty red aspen leaf, Kaibab National Forest.

Frosty fallen red quaking aspen leaf, Kaibab National Forest.

And the last aspen leaf has fallen up on the Kaibab Plateau near the North Rim of Grand Canyon. No, I’m not claiming this one was the very last one. But they were all down last week, except for a few isolated late colors. Another autumn over with, up that high (8,000 to 9,000 feet in elevation).

Navajo Bridge and Lees Ferry, Full Moon Evening

Image 2014_AZ-6729 © Stephen J. Krieg

River rafter launching from Lees Ferry, Colorado River, Arizona.

Back at one of my favorite places on Earth: Marble Canyon on the Arizona Strip in northwest Arizona. Grand Canyon Country north.

After another wonderful sunset time visit to nearby Lees Ferry, watching river running trips put in to the Colorado River to run Grand Canyon, I was anticipating the full moon rising over the Echo Cliffs to the east.

Amazingly, the azimuth (compass direction) that the full moon was rising this month allowed me to include it in shots of Navajo Bridge on the way out of Lees Ferry.

Image 2014_AZ-6858 © Stephen J. Krieg

Full moon rising over Echo Cliffs and Navajo Bridge, Marble Canyon, Arizona.

With the bridges so close in the foreground, the only way to include the moon in the scene was a very wide angle shot. The moon is thus made a small but important accent to the image. The star effect is from the small lens aperture, not any special effects filter or post processing tricks.

Photo Location: Marble Canyon, Coconino County, Arizona.

Navajo Bridges, Arizona Strip

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Navajo Bridge and the Colorado River, from the old bridge, Marble Canyon, Arizona.

Back to the Arizona Strip after a two year absence. As always I was anticipating a stop at Navajo Bridge on Highway 89A at Marble Canyon. It did not disappoint.

Navajo Bridge spans the Colorado River across its 470-foot-deep gorge into the Marble Platform (which isn’t marble, in case you’re wondering). The original bridge was replaced by the new bridge when vehicles became too big and heavy for the old one to safely handle any more.

Instead of tearing the old bridge down, somebody had the smart idea to gate it off and use it as a pedestrian bridge for tourists. That’s right: you can park your car and walk out on it, all the way across. It’s an awesome experience. The east end of the bridge is on the Navajo Nation, where a number of Navajo artists sell their wares, including jewelry and pottery. The west end is within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and the National Park Service has an interpretive center there to give out information and sell books and maps and such.

It doesn’t matter which end you stop at. Walk all the way across, or stop at both ends with your car and gawk from the rim of the gorge if you’re uncomfortable with dizzying heights. Be sure to look for the re-introduced California Condors that live in the area. They like to hang out on the cliffs near the bridge, and even on the bridge structure underneath the highway.

Also on the west side of the river is Marble Canyon, Arizona, which has the Marble Canyon Lodge, with gas, convenience store, laundry, and a Post Office (Zip code: 86036). Cherished amenities in the middle of nowhere.

Not only that, but historic Lees Ferry is just up the road. That’s where all boats put into the Colorado River to run Grand Canyon. Add the towering Echo Cliffs on the east side and the Vermilion Cliffs on the west and you’ve got quite the scenery.

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Grand Canyon North Rim Time

Grand Canyon North Rim Time

The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park (sometimes called “the other Grand Canyon” because only 10 percent of the park visitors make it up there) opens for the season on May 15, 2014. You can follow my North Rim adventures for the season at my Grand Canyon Photography Blog: http://grandcanyonphotography.blogspot.com/

April Full Moon, Prescott, Arizona

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The calendar shows tomorrow as being the Full Moon, which is deceiving from a practical standpoint. Because the moon becomes 100 % full (100 percent illuminated) just after midnight tonight. Which has it just into the wee minutes of tomorrow as far as the calendar date is concerned.

But tonight is effectively the night of the Full Moon. Here is how it looked as it rose over the Bradshaw Mountains on the southeast edge of Prescott at dusk this evening.