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Red Rock Road Trip

 Tuesday, 9/9/97 

Lipan Point, Antelope Canyon, & Lake Powell

"Wilderness is a peculiarly western institution .... Rough and open country matters here. Further, wilderness has a historical dimension....a stark reminder of the joys and barriers of a region that has been the terminus of one of the greatest human migrations in history. It also speaks to the character of our society" ---Charles Wilkinson

Dawn's first light (10kb)

This was a big day, a 14 roll kind of day. I was up at 4:30am, as I had to check out of the hotel, and make about an hour long drive to my destination, Lipan Point, on the East Rim Drive. I arrived in time to catch dawn's first light, at left.

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morning light from Lipan Point (11kb)

Lipan Point is a wonderful place for sunrise, with panoramic views, and excellent terrain. Unlike many of the points with sheer drop-offs, this one is more gradual, with varied vegetation. It was probably my favorite spot.

"The Photograph does not call up the past....The effect it produces upon me is not to restore what has been abolished (by time, by distance) but to attest that what I see has indeed existed."
---Roland Barthes

Canyon length from Lipan Point (11kb)

This may have had something to do with the fact I quite literally had the whole place to myself. The view here is similar to the one at Desert View, without the Watchtower and its attendant crowds. You can look north towards the canyon's origins (the first image on this page) , or look west down the majority of its length (at left).

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View west from Lipan Point

It was a perfect ending to my leisurely stay in the Grand Canyon. But it was time to move on to an equally unique and visually stunning place, one where my stay would be much less leisurely, if I could get in at all. Shooting like a madman would be a more appropriate description.

"Speed is scarcely the noblest virtue of graphic composition, but it has its curious rewards. There is a sense of getting somewhere fast, which satisfies a native American urge." --- James Thurber

Muted light, Lipan Point (10kb)

I had to hustle to meet my appointment to tour Antelope Canyon. Unfortunately, it appeared that I could have devoted a full day to the terrain between the Grand Canyon and Page, but I had only allowed a couple of hours. As often happens on a trip like this, I drove right past things I would normally kill to shoot back home, but bypass here to reach a greater good.

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Me in Antelope Canyon (12kb) The Corksrew (11kb)

Here you see that "greater good." It deserves far more attention than I could give it on this page, as it is difficult, if not impossible, to convey the true essence of this place. So I've given  Antelope Canyon  its own lengthy page, filled with pictures.

You must go. I promise you won't regret it....

....and I'll bring you back here when we're done.

"The 'control of nature' is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man" ---Rachel Carson

Lake Powell (8kb)

Coming over the pass into Page, Arizona, one is first wow-ed by the scenery around Lake Powell ... and then you wonder, "what's that brown cloud?" It emanates from the Navajo Generating Plant, a coal powered station a few miles from a huge electricity generating dam. It was, for me, an appropriate introduction to the area. My apologies in advance to those who live there, or profit from the power generated there, or float their boats there. You're not going to like this section.

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Lake Powell Recreation Area (6kb)

The natural beauty here is obvious. Perhaps that's why I found the impact of man so distressing. From a purely photographic viewpoint, it was frustratingly difficult to find a location and angle to shoot the environment without including power lines, houseboats, or huge RV's. For many, those are valid uses of this area, but not the reason that I came.

"Man did not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself" ---Cheif Seattle

Lake with Navajo Mtn. in background (9kb)

All historical commentary indicates that Glen Canyon once rivaled, if not surpassed, the Grand Canyon in beauty and granduer. So, we build a huge dam in it, turn canyon into reservoir, fill it with houseboats to litter the shore with human waste (no, that's not a Mars bar, son), and name the result after the man who explored and named the obliterated canyon. When it's quiet at night, if you listen closely, you can hear John Wesley Powell spinning in his grave, at a rate that might generate more power than Glen Canyon Dam does.

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storm over Lake Powell (9kb)

The irony of this place colored my experience. Plus, I did not have the luxury of time to explore, nor did Mother Nature grant me very good weather (but I shot it anyway, out of spite). I know many people both enjoy and profit from this area. But when the Sierra Club recently made the proposal that Lake Powell be drained, which was called "ridiculous" by no less than the sole Native American in Congress, I couldn't help but think that the proposal was no more ridiculous than the imprint man has placed on this land. Your mileage may vary.

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