Monday, July 18, 2011

Little Colorado River Gorge, Arizona

When we left Holbrook, Arizona on June 14th,   we decided to take another back road to the Grand Canyon.  So--we drove to Flagstaff and then headed north on Highway 89 and then west on Highway 64 to the eastern entrance of the canyon.

Anyhow--like we always do,  we found a neat place to stop that morning.  That whole drive is gorgeous and the land in that area belongs to the Navajo and Hopi Indians.  We stopped to see the Little Colorado River Gorge --which is operated by the Navajo Indians.

The Little Colorado River originates at Mt. Baldy in Arizona's White Mountains (near Springerville) and travels northward through Joseph City,  Winslow and Wupatki National Monument before reaching the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

There are HUGE differences in the two canyons.  As opposed to the Grand Canyon,  this gorge is remarkably narrow.  It is so narrow in fact that visitors that approach the edge are astonished at the deep abyss that is below them.  The Little Colorado travels through this narrow canyon ---but while we were there,  the river was as dry as a bone!!!!

The geology of this Gorge sets it apart from the Grand Canyon also.  Whereas the Canyon is a massive sand art painting with layer upon layer of rich, deep hues cutting horizontally across its jagged edges,  this Gorge is mostly gray and back limestone layers at the top, with smooth, colorless sandstone at its deeper levels.

The Navajos have lived in unity with the Gorge for the past 1000 years. Their Parks and Recreation Department operated the Little Colorado River Tribal Park  alongside the Gorge, and maintains the overlooks which are equipped with picnic tables for travelers.

As you can see from the picture above,  George is admiring some of the tables  which were set up  for the native artisans to sell their wares. We didn't buy anything --but you can find unique pieces of silver and turquoise jewelry, original pottery and hand woven blankets there.  The people were friendly and loved talking to us tourists.



Here  we had our first view of the Little Colorado Gorge.  I went one direction to take pictures and George went another... We were impressed at how well-maintained the area was.  Can you see George in this picture???  He's standing almost at the left end--with a burgundy-colored shirt on...




Of course, since I took a picture of George,  he also had to take a picture of me---although he zoomed in a little with his camera.  See me there?  The covered area behind me contained a picnic table..   However,  nobody was having lunch there that morning.. Could it be because there was a SNAKE under the table????  (I'll show that picture at another time.)




This picture shows a little of the depth of this narrow canyon...  YES---this one was much different from the Grand Canyon nearby!!!!  But--it truly was breath-taking.




Don't think we should try to climb down that gorge,  should we????  Yipes!!!!  But--there are some great hiking areas around here --luckily,  not straight down though.




You'd think by looking that there was water in the Little Colorado River below...  NOT a DROP... They say that there can be alot of water during the rainy seasons (early spring, and late summer or fall)...  We want to go back!!!!!!  Wanna know why?????  WELL---we found out that there is a huge WATERFALL (Grand Falls) south of here  which is dry now --but gorgeous during the rainy seasons.  We saw a video of the 185 foot Grand Falls on the internet ---and it is FABULOUS... SO????  We must go back.  Right??????

Also--during the rainy seasons,  the rafters and kayakers love the Little Colorado River --as it makes a rapid 2000 feet descent over about 30 miles to the Grand Canyon (from the Cameron, Arizona area)!  They say you can hear the sound of rushing water all around the canyon as the water rushes through there.  Wouldn't that be SUPER to see and hear????





We were surprised to see a sheep herder and some sheep crossing the road --as we left this area.  Look at that desert...  Gorgeous ---but so different from the hills of Tennessee!!!




Finally, this was just one of the many views we saw as we left that area ---headed for the Grand Canyon.   This section of the Gorge between where we were and the edge of the Coconino Plateau can be as deep as 800 feet, and it is about 800 feet wide in spots also.  That is the only place where the canyon is this large.  They say that the lower gorge (east of Highway 89) is more spectacular but much harder to reach,  requiring long drives across unpaved roads in the Navajo Reservation.  BUT--we will do it since that is how you get to Grand Falls!!!!!

Again I say:  Get off of the main roads and check out some of these gorgeous areas of our country.  We really enjoyed our visit here.   Hope you enjoyed seeing some of this area.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Today is my eldest son's 48th birthday.  Bert was born on July 18, 1963 in Athens, Tennessee.  (I'm sure I was a CHILD bride... ha ha )...  My parents used to brag about their daughter saying that I got married, had a baby, and graduated from college before I was 21 years old.... That was TRUE!!!!

Hugs,

62 comments:

Ms. A said...

Betsy, I'm seriously impressed with the last paragraph!!! (and I'm always impressed with your photos)

Happy Birthday, Bert!

Big Dude said...

Great shots as always Betsy. Living here in the greenness of East Tennessee, it's hard to believe this is the same country.

Twilight Man said...

That's pretty fun and nice to be able to view the canyons so close up! I pray that I could re-visit the canyons someday and ply your route! I would definitely hike down the canyons. I remembered passing Flagstaff once at midnight and saw no Hopi Indians. They were probably asleep. I am surprised there were sheep in the canyons area. Poor them with hardly much grass to eat. LOL.
Thanks a lot for the lovely photos.

diane b said...

The landscapes in Arizona are amazing. You have some great shots here. I am in awe at how flat the plateaus are and then suddenly a gaping chasm appears. It sure is beautiful, dramatic country. Happy Birthday to Bert.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

It's a vast contrast to our lush Tennessee Valley, mostly brown and no trees !
I've visited the Royal Gorge in Colorado it's an experience I'll never forget.
Your pictures are incredible as always, thank you for sharing.
~Jo

Pam said...

I am in awe! Your photos are beautiful treasures, Betsy.

They take me back to the magnificence of Arizona again.. I was only 7 when we lived in Tucson just south of Mount Lemmon, so much of what I remember comes from family photos.

Thanks for a blast from my past!

hugs, Pam

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

THis is fascinating.The Gorge would be amazing to see with water in that river.

texwisgirl said...

your son is just 2 weeks younger than i am. happy birthday to him!

the scenes are beautiful. i love that driving away one you took of the huge chasms in the green landscape. truly amazing.

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

Happy Birthday to your son!!!
Love all the "dry" photos!!! Wishing you a beautiful week!!!

Lucy said...

Reminds me of home. :)

I could follow you around for forever.

I wouldn't be any trouble.

And I'd kick in with the gas.

Go in on an RV???

Catherine said...

I am getting dizzy just looking at the heights in your photos Betsy! I wouldn't be able to look down. Ha!

Happy birthday to your son!
xo Catherine

Arkansas Patti said...

Really great photos and you have added another place to my bucket list.
I like how you and George separate so you can get different views.
Happy Birthday to your son and yes, I agree with your parents. You packed a lot into 21 years.

Out on the prairie said...

It is hard to understand how people lived off the land there with the lack of water all year and all.spring would be interesting since that desert burst out with vegetation and bloom also.Lovely pictures Betsy.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Gorgeous pictures Betsy. I remember when we used to go out west for vacation every summer, how happy I was to get back home and see green grass.

Darla said...

Such beauty in these photos! I'm sure that snake had everything to do with no one using the picnic table!

Linda said...

This was a really interesting post, Betsy. I've never seen the Little Colorado River Gorge. You're giving me lots of travel ideas. :)

Mamma has spoken said...

Love the sheep just because it reminds me of a story we that is found every year in the reading portion of our state mandated testing. Seriously, it's about sheep in the dessert, by a canyon, and rain. All that's missing is the rain, oh and the little girl who has to save the sheep.

Sandra said...

you don't look old enough to have a 48 year old son. my oldest was born in 65.
all this beauty PLUS Sheep! i love the animals as much as the beauty. so how did you and George get across from each other, was there a bridge?

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

Great pictures as always! Happy birthday to your son, Bert!

Beth said...

Beautiful. I love all the background info you give--I learn so much and it makes the photos even better (if that's possible)!
The sunsets on the previous post were stunning(I'm a bit behind on reading).
Such joy in your writing, Betsy--it's an immediate upper.
My first child was born before I was 21 also (2 months before I turned it) and she turned 35 last year.
Blessings to you this week!

Mildred said...

Hi Betsy and Happy Birthday wishes to Bert.

These are fantastic photos. Just amazing scenes and what about the sheep?! Such a great picture.

Hope you have a great Monday.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I did not know about this Gorge and yep I saw George....Such a child bride you were:)

Barbara said...

Wow that is some deep gorge George, lol love the sheep too, thanks Becky as always you make me smile, and I love your photos.

Diane said...

Happy Birthday to your son! Great shots Betsy. Diane

Happyone : ) said...

Awesome photos!!
If George was the person in red then yes I saw him. : )
Yesterday, July 17, was my son's birthday. He was 39. He finally caught up to me and now we are the same age. : )
Happy Birthday day to your son!!

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

aw Betsy, thanks so much for sharing these photos and this so interesting and informative post!

stunning photos (as usual,)and magical landscapes!!

I also thank you for allowing me to "visit" such a magical place that i might never see in person.

have a great week ahead!

hugs!
betty xx

Busy Bee Suz said...

Happy birthday to your son!!!! You did accomplish a lot in the first 21 years. :)
I love seeing all these views here Betsy...this is an area that I have not visited. I always love seeing places where we still have Indian tribes living/working/thriving. I would have bought something just because of the 'guilt' factor. :) I have direct lineage to american indians...perhaps I could set up a table too??? ;)
xoxoxo

imac said...

Happy BD Bert.
Great show here Betsy, should like to visit someday.

Karin said...

Just a quick stop before I head to work - a whole bunch of extra shifts this upcoming week! Fabulous tour you two are giving us. It's definitely a fascinating and dramatic place to visit! So glad you truly enjoyed your trip and want to go back to see it filled with water!! Way to go!
Take care!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Happy birthday to your son! I bought a piece of jewelry form the Navahos many years ago. Turquoise is supposed to bring luck and good health to all who wear it :)

One of the most thrilling sights I ever saw was flying over the Grand Canyon! We were flying out on a commercial flight from Phoenix to NYC and the pilot flew north first to avoid storms. I was mesmerized by how the canyon looked at such a high altitude! I was sorry my camera was in the overhead bin.

Dorothy said...

Wonderful pictures of a place that is new to me! I agree with you about taking the back roads!!!!

Tricia ♥Charming Barn Hunter♥ said...

Congrats to the b-day boy! YaY! =)

These are all great shots, Betsy, you guys really experienced an incredible trip. I love the one of ya'll taking pics of each other on each side of the gorge... are those mini hoodoos standing every so many feet apart? God sure knew what he was doing when he created this world! =)

Stephanie Suzanne ♥ Queen of Dreamsz said...

Hi Betsy,

Happy Birthday to your son! I'm a July baby too. I was due on July 4th but arrived on July 2.

Your photos are mind blowing fabulous. What a journey the two of you had. I think you'll go back..I'm sure of it! You have to see that waterfall. :0) Thanks for visiting my new blog. I'd love to have you follow it since it will be my primary blog now. I'm using the Queen of Dreamsz blog to upload my vintage pattern collection and other images I have.

Hey, you have to come back I just remembered I added some wildlife photos to my studio post. I know they weren't there the first time you came over. You will love them.

Hugs to you,
Stephanie Suzanne ♥
Queen of Dreamsz

Lady Di Tn said...

Yes you have to go back to see the Grand Falls. If it is rainy season will you need a 4 wheel drive to go on those unpaved roads? The colors of the photos are fabulous. Happy Burpday to Bert. Peace

Lola said...

Happy Birthday to Bert.
Another segment in the venture that I am enjoying with your trip. Great pics.
Did you learn which end that the donkey ride to the bottom starts.
Wonder if anyone has ever fallen over the edge? Yikes.

Together We Save said...

Your pictures are breath taking!! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

Chatty Crone said...

Happy birthday Bert - what were you Betsy - 10?

The pictures gorgeous as usual - they actually took my stomach away - the heights.

Couldn't make out George though.

LV said...

Betsy, you make such great photos, it makes you feel as though you are right there with you. So happy you both had the opportunity to explore all these sights.

Janice K said...

Pretty amazing how flat the top land looks. Great pictures.

Happy Memories to you, Betsy, on this birthday of your firstborn. You never forget those days!...Some of the most precious in our lives.

Ann said...

Of course you have to go back. You have to have the opportunity to check out that waterfall.
The shots are gorgeous. So amazing

Fred Alton said...

Oh what beautiful sights you saw in the mid-west! (I'm with you all the way when you said that it's not like the mountains of Tennessee) but it is beautiful in a different way.

Happy Birthday to your Bert!

I'll be looking for the photos of Grand FAlls!

The Incredible Woody said...

Not a drop of water in that gorge when we visited either! But it was really cool:) I have always wanted to visit a waterfall at the western end of the Grand Canyon - Havasu Falls. One day. One day.

KathyA said...

The striations in those rocks are so very interesting! Just think --- they've been sitting there for eons. Makes me feel like a little spec!

Wendy said...

You post such beautiful pics, Betsy!! Isn't Mother Nature awesome?? Love that gorge, and those sheep and everything. You two much have had so much fun!
Hugs

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

What a great place to visit. Wonder if it will fit into our little road trip.
No way do you have a 48 year old son. You're amazing.

Shug said...

Yes Betsy..you must go back to capture the picture of that water fall..and I know you will...

These pictures are outstanding!!

Hugs,
shug

Denise said...

Happy birthday to Bert. Very impressive you did all that before you reached 21. Also loved all these magnificent photos. I would want to go back to see that waterfall too.

JDS said...

Congrats on your prodigious pre-21 accomplishments! As always, your photos are breathtaking. Compare these shots to your ones of all the waterfalls in the green Southeast, and you see just how diverse America's landscape is. I love that about this country! And I appreciate the kind words you left on my blog -- FYI, our newborn Parker is doing well and so is our friend the transplant recipient.

Rose said...

I wonder if we would ever get used to seeing that view every day....it is just so different to what is the norm for us....but beautiful nevertheless.

Gary said...

i love these shots especially the ones of the canyon. great!

camp and cottage living said...

Betsy-I am so enjoying you taking me along on this journey.
I may never make it to AZ so I'm glad I'm seeing it through you beautiful pictures. So until tomorrow.....

carolina nana said...

You make me jealous to see all those beautiful places. Thanks for sharing all the photos.
Are you ready for the heat !!!
Blessings
Marilyn

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

I'm thinking you must go back also. Gorgeous photos! I've only been to the Grand Canyon once and never to this gorge but need to after hearing your description:)

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Gorgeous gorge shots. Isn't fun to stumble on some little shop or something?

Darryl and Ruth :)

SquirrelQueen said...

What a beautiful area, the views are spectacular! But what about the snake? I'm sure he would have shared the picnic spot. :)

Happy Birthday to your son!
He is only ten days older than my sister.

Daisy said...

Happy birthday to your son, Betsy. These are amazing photos. It always makes me feel that I got to travel along with you when I see your pictures. Thank you for sharing them. :-)

Loren said...

My husband has wanted to take our kids to Colorado for years and I don't know why we haven't ever done that. Your pictures inspire and encourage me to make that happen....just sooo beautiful!

Loren said...

woops I meant to add colorado "river" haha and Happy Belated bday to your son :)

Retired English Teacher said...

I'm way behind in keeping up with my blog reading. Yes, these hills and valleys are very different from the hills of Tennessee. Isn't our country just marvelous in its diverse landscape and history?

Janie said...

Happy birthday to Bert!
I have never been to the Little Colorado river gorge. I see that I need to go there. Great photos of an amazing area.

Neal said...

Sure glad I went back. This is really a nice blog!!

Lynda said...

As usual, your pictures are amazing. I love the 'architecture of the Canyon. Thanks for pointing out George in the picture. I found him when I clicked on the photo. My sister would have liked to have been with you for the silver and turquoise jewelry. It's her favorite.