If you’re like me you love driving and if you love driving there isn’t a more thrilling piece of highway engineering on the way to Page, AZ than “The Big Cut”. Highway 89 rips up side of the Antelope Mesa and provides expansive views of the Colorado River — well, at least the path it carved through the rock below.
I had the opportunity to 4×4 and climb out to the edge of this canyon with a Navajo guide (most of this area is in the Navajo Nation). From here we could see Lee’s Ferry and the confluence of the Paria River with the Colorado River.
I will start you off with one photograph to give you a sense of scale. We’re at the top of Antelope Mesa here, and if you look in the upper right corner… yes, those are people. Our guide and a companion.
This is one of the highest points of the Kaibab formation. Roughly 3,000 feet below us, the sliver of dark just below, is the Colorado River Gorge, in which the river flows another 3,000 feet deeper.
The face on the opposite side is Vermillion Cliffs and Marble Canyon. Here you’ll find a number of small fly fishing lodges, rafting outfitters and is one of my favorite places to stop is the Lee’s Ferry Lodge at Vermillion Cliffs especially because of the 100 or so gourmet beers they have in their collection.
Soon I was rewarded with the most wonderful soft sunset glow, very much amplifying the red rocks in the clouds, the sun’s colors in the snow and really making the the saturated clouds and water pop. It was interesting how the sun-lit, warm faces started to lose their snowy highlights and the cooler shaded sides kept theirs and added a lot of detail to the other side.
With huge vistas of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah I could easily see some continued snowfall and clouds many miles up lake.
It certainly was fantastic to see the newly white beaches and although as relatively rare snowfall is in the area to the rest of the country, it served to remind me how snow, ice, freeze-thaw and water just like this have shaped and formed this landscape over millions of years.
I’ve got a number of good photographs from two different days of wonderful snowfall on Lake Powell. One was on a Thanksgiving and the other on Christmas Day!
As we enjoy our relatively mild Winter this year I figured it would be a nice treat to show you the beautiful juxtaposition of snowfall, desert and lake.
There is an iconic photograph of snow on Lake Powell in 1987 by Gary Ladd which I am privileged to have been given a print by the photographer. It was definitely right place, right time as Gary was camped out on Alstrom Point!
Look for more winter Lake Powell photographs in the coming days.
Here’s a rather straight-forward abstract photograph that I took that I feel embodies Lake Powell very well. In some ripples we see the warm reflection of some Navajo Sandstone.
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