Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Abandoned Lands...A Journey Through the Colorado Plateau: The River Red, a little red goes a long way

 Today's subject is a short distance from our last post at Wupatki, but we are separated in time...I'm back on the plateau for various reasons today, and yesterday we crossed the Colorado River ("the Red River") at Navajo Bridge. The last few times I was here the river was green and clear, having just been released from Glen Canyon Dam a few miles upstream. I was shocked yesterday to see the river living up to its name! It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but there have been some heavy monsoon storms the last few days. I was aware that the main source of sediment these days is the Paria "River" that drains the Bryce Canyon region, so I realized I wanted to see a raging flash flood.
 We quickly drove to Lee's Ferry where the Paria comes into the Colorado. The Ferry was once the only river crossing for 600 miles when it was built in the 1870s. It was abandoned when the first Navajo Bridge was completed in 1929. I wasn't disappointed. At the confluence there was a striking juxtaposition of red and green river water. The red completely took over in less than a half mile of river flow. Wow...the Paria itself must be stunning!
 We drove to the bridge across the Paria (would the bridge still be there we wondered?) and beheld the mighty Paria...
Wow, indeed. It seem a little red mud goes a long way. That 10 foot wide creek completely transformed the Colorado River!

Here is the explanation of my "abandonment" theme for this series:
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