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Our First Day at Lee’s Ferry

Finally! We’ve been anxiously awaiting the time to return to Marble Canyon and Lee‘s Ferry. The amazing landscape. The Colorado River. Kayaking. Fishing. And hiking.

The scenery here is breathtaking. Lee’s Ferry is the entry point for the Grand Canyon, with the canyon entrance on one side, and the Vermillion Cliffs on the other, both up close. The beach just below our campground is actually part of the Grand Canyon National Park. The Glen Canyon Dam is 14 miles upstream from here.

They had rain last week to soak the parched earth that has been in draught conditions for over a decade. The first thing we noticed was mud on one side of the river. The tiny Paria River, and you can literally step across it in places, is full of mud, and it flows into the Colorado just below our campsite. To fish, we’ll have to cast beyond the muddy part or go upstream. Hopefully it will clear up soon.

We returned to our favorite hiking trail, Cathedral Wash, but like last time we went up instead of the more popular trail down to the river. For almost four hours up and back we didn’t see another person. It was sunny, about 73°, and we saw amazing rocks and rock formations.

There was a big rain storm here last week, so we saw the marks in the wash, puddles, and drying mud. At one place we saw where the water had cascaded from above, and I bet it was a spectacular sight when it was flowing.

The rocks are unique in color. Some of them were a composite of small pebbles. The one Jan is holding is especially unique in both color and design. It almost looked like it had a layer of agate in it. One special thing we noticed is that previous hikers sometimes handled some colorful rocks, then placed them so that could appreciate them.

It was easy to see the water path in the wash. There appears to be a “white” smear in the water path. It’s not chalk, because the white on the rocks is hard, and can’t be rubbed off. I have no idea what causes that rock hard whitewash. In places there are still puddles. in other places the mud is still wet and drying. Interesting mosaic patterns, and in some places the dried mud is curled in layers.

We saw butterflies and a lizard out enjoying the last days of warm weather. We didn’t see any big horn sheep this time.

Speaking of oddities in nature, several of the rocks had what looks like paint spatter or spots. The white is part of the rock, not a covering. Some of them are exactly round, like someone painted them. That circle you see is part of the rock. Really unique.

The left photo shows the white smudging we saw on rocks on the gully floor. Maybe over decades the red sandstone absorbed the coloring? The middle rock shows layering on white and red sandstone. the right photo definitely shows the white streaks we saw along the flow path.

We ended the day relaxing by the river Just below our campsite. The left photo is the view from our site. We sat down by the river, and walked along the beach until the sun went behind the cliffs at 5pm. Thankfully, because of the sun warmed rocks, it gets cool very slowly here. It didn’t get below 60° until after 9pm.

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