Wednesday, November 16, 2005
No discussion of Grand Canyon is complete without at least a tip of the hat to the Colorado River -- the primary carver of the Canyon and the lifeblood of its diverse ecosystem. Beyond the river's role as a natural and cultural resource, it provides the splash in a world-class whitewater experience. This is a river that wears many hats. And for every hat there are highly engaged constituents, advocates, and user groups that have a large stake in its management. After years of research, public meetings, and high-profile policy making, Grand Canyon National Park has released the much anticipated final environmental impact statement (FEIS) to revise the Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP). This document will regulate the use of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon for decades to come. Read all about it through the following link: http://www.nps.gov/grca/crmp/.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Many international visitors wonder how it came to be that many major land formations in the Canyon are named after Asian religious deities. The task of naming the buttes, mesas, and temples was left to early geologists, artists, and mapmakers. Principal among these was Clarence Edward Dutton, a geologist and student of world religions. During his ambitious Grand Canyon geologic expedition of 1880-1881, Dutton researched his seminal work, "The Tertiary History of the Grand Canyon District, with Atlas." While mapping out the Canyon from the lofty North Rim, he dubbed a few of the mountainous landforms to the east of his position Brahma Temple, Vishnu Temple and Shiva Temple (the "trimurti" in the Hindu pantheon of gods). Those who followed Dutton carried on the tradition, and titles that encompassed Greek and Roman mythology as well as Shakespearean characters were assigned. Given that Grand Canyon has been declared a "World Heritage Site" by the United Nations, the eclectic naming of the Canyon's famous pinnacles seems only fitting. See a few of these majestic landforms by clicking this link: http://www.grandcanyonprints.com/pages/gcgallery_2.htm
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Last week, while scrambling on a steep slope below the South Rim, I stumbled upon an amazing find. There in the dirt lie five hand-sized pieces of a broken ancient Anasazi pot. I was frozen in my tracks and the centuries melted away while I tried to determine how this lovely artifact reached this spot, and to grasp the significance of me chancing upon it. I returned day's later with park service archaeologist Ian Hough. Ian determined quickly that this rare find was indeed an Anasazi ceramic, molded and fired roughly nine hundred years earlier, and carried to this spot from Tsegi Canyon (modern day Navajo National Monument eighty miles to the east). For documentation purposes he reassembled the pot and had me hold it aloft for his camera. Standing there for my closeup, hands mildly trembling, reverently displaying the intricately painted ware, was one of the most powerful moments I've spent in the Canyon. We left the pot on a precarious ledge where I found it (or it found me).
View photograph of pot.
View photograph of pot.