Category Archives: Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

The Big Cut – AZ Highway 89

Although The Big Cut of AZ Highway 89 into the Antelope Mesa on the way between Flagstaff and Page represents man’s forceful domination of the landscape it is also inspiring in terms of its engineering and scale. The cut itself is a wide swath of Kaibab formation blasted and chiseled away to let this thin ribbon of asphalt emerge on top of the mesa.

The south side of the plateau offers brilliant views of the Grand Canyon, Vermillion Cliffs, and Lee’s Ferry. The north side of the plateau is a impossibly (relatively) flat plateau of grasses, sage, mesquite and juniper.

I love this picture for its stark, graphic display. It looks amazing printed. My scan of this slide introduced a light/halo artifact in the cut but I didn’t feel it detracted from the image.

The Big Cut © Ryan Hertz
The Big Cut © Ryan Hertz

Paria and Colorado Rivers Confluence, Lee’s Ferry

Here’s a couple views from further up towards Page looking towards the beginning of the Grand Canyon. From bottom of the photograph working up, we have the Paria River coming in from the right. Although it looks dry, it is still 30-40′ wide as it is meandering in an even larger river of sand to finally add its chocolate-brown water to the crystal-clear waters of the Colorado. About halfway up from the confluence is the Navajo Bridge. Up the photograph from there, near the horizon, on the left is the location where the previous photo was taken!

Lee's Ferry, Paria Confluence
Lee's Ferry, Colorado and Paria Confluence © Ryan Hertz

Here’s a close up of the actual confluence and a size comparison with the 2-lane road of Lee’s Ferry. On the left side there is a truck perched above the river.

Lee's Ferry, Paria and Colorado Rivers Confluence © Ryan Hertz
Lee's Ferry, Paria and Colorado Rivers Confluence © Ryan Hertz

Driving down to Lee’s Ferry is by far the easiest way to get right up close to the Colorado River — obviously that’s why John D. Lee set up a river crossing here over 130 years ago. In future posts I will show you a much more complicated approach to the Colorado that is for the adventurous traveler.