A new day was ours!
We watched the cliffs begin to glow..
And then we just stood there and felt good.
That, and a good cup of coffee, is a heckuvva way to start the day.
Mather Point, Grand Canyon. Morning of 7/19/2014: We all looked as if we had just rolled out of bed, pulled on jeans, grabbed our cameras and ran to Mather Point. That's probably closer to the truth than you know.
Mather Point is the first overlook you come to after you go to the Grand Canyon Visitor's center..it's right off the parking lot. It gives you several places to stand at the very rim, including a promontory that juts out into the canyon itself. That's where I went.
People stood, drinking coffee, fiddling with their cameras, for more than an hour while the sky gradually brightened into that pre-dawn burst you see up there. Finally:
Grand Canyon, AZ. 7/18/2014: The Grand Canyon is not "timeless," it is Time itself. You're looking at roughly 2-billion years there. One mile deep, ten miles wide and 280 miles long, it exposes a record of how the earth formed, layer after layer after layer. As one writer put it: "Through two billion years of Grand Canyon formation, mountain ranges have built up and eroded away, seas have swept over the land and retreated, rivers have come and gone..and erosion has leveled and shaped the landscape."
And still, there is the Grand Canyon.
I come here as often as I can. It's one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. There is more than I can take in, but I try anyway. The colors, the shapes, the hidden canyons within the canyon..all details that fill the eye to overflowing. Since one of my main tools these days is a set of cameras, we'll just see what we can see:
That's The Battleship. And beyond it, across the river, is Cheop's Pyramid. It's amazing to study the formations. It's even more amazing to go down the Bright Angel trail to be among them.
In this shot, I liked the way morning light played off the edges of the rocks.
Down in the hollows to the right, California Condors fly lazy circles, looking for the day's first meal.
|Remains of ancient dwellings at Bandelier|
Bandelier National Monument, NM. 7/14/2014: This is Bandelier. People have lived here for varying lengths of time for more than 10-thousand years, carving shelter out of the towering cliffs that border Frijoles Creek, which formed Frijoles Canyon. At first, it was a good place to hunt and move on. Later, it became a place to grow crops and settle.
It makes pretty good sense. The canyon and land for four hundred square miles around was created by eruptions of a monstrous (still active) volcano that took place a million years ago. Volcanic ash piled up in layers as much as a thousand feet thick. It looks like sandstone cliff today, but it's a material that's easily eroded and/or carved. Since it left swiss-cheese-like surfaces, the people moved into the holes, enlarged them and then built covering structures over the face to live securely on the cliff-side. Meanwhile, others built the more fort-like Pueblo Tyuonyi on the valley floor.
Rooms in the Pueblo weren't large..I put my hat on the wall there to show some
scale. The people themselves were small. They were mostly seeking security and protection from the elements. Most of their work took place outdoors.
And there's an important distinction to make: These are the Ancestral Pueblo people, with links to others who lived in Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. Modern researchers used to call them the Anasazi, but in the Navajo tongue that means "Ancient Enemies" so that name..Anasazi..is no longer used. But whatever you call them, their modern ancestors still live here. Native Americans here call themselves Pueblo People. Keep it in mind.
A visit to Bandelier can be good for you--it means walking and some climbing up the side of the cliffs because if you want to see anything--that's where it is.
You can try your own cliff-dwelling if you choose:
Inside the outside structure may have looked like this National Park Service reconstruction:
Here's one of the exposed dwellings. Start at the floor, work up the wall..you can see some decorative effect half way up. The ceiling is dark because of fire and smoke. The fire hardened the roof so it didn't crumble on the inhabitants:
And decorate they did. They are several examples of petroglyphs on the cliff walls. This one is preserved with a plexiglas shield:
Santa Fe, NM. 7/13/2014: The world was on Museum Hill today. Artists and their wares from virtually everywhere were there, working their craft, showing spectators how they do it..selling.
It was the last day of this year's International Folk Art Market, held at Santa Fe's fabulous Folk Art Museum. The good-natured crowds were crammed onto the hill, coming up from the State Capitol parking lots in busloads. Nobody seemed to mind waiting just to get close to the display tables to see what was going on. Many were buying on the spot. I got close enough to take pictures. Here goes:
Enameled boxes from Khazakhstan.