Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kaibab Plateau Springtime

[Photo: Afternoon sun through aspen-fir forest, Kaibab National Forest] 

Mid May on the 8,000 foot-plus elevation Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona means early springtime. This year was cooler there than last, somewhat wetter. With the way the climate's changing, probably a lot warmer than historically. 

It is what it is. It's still an incredible place. High sub-alpine forests growing out of the bowing back of upthrust rock layers that at its southern edge forms the North Rim of Grand Canyon. 

Grand Canyon gets almost all the attention. And at the North Rim, only 10% of the visitation of the South Rim. Thus the many roads on the Kaibab National Forest outside the Park are even more unknown to the masses.

As they should be. High, wild, lonesome. For those not in a hurry. Those with a vehicle that can take rough roads. Who know enough to have plenty of fuel, food, water.

Like me.

The air was clear, crisp. Between storm fronts. The aspen leaves were emerging after another winter. It was greening up. 

I was glad to be back. It had been a year since I'd seen this place like this. A half year since leaving it. 

Lots to think over. 

Photo location: Kaibab National Forest, North Kaibab Ranger District, Arizona Strip.

© 2015 Stephen J. Krieg

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Echo Cliffs Road Restored

Bus climbing US Hwy. 89 through the Echo Cliffs, Arizona.

It had been two years since a landslide took a section of US Highway 89 in northern Arizona for a ride. Down the cliff face, rather at odds with which the traffic had been traveling.

It's a spectacular area. High desert, overlooking the Marble Platform area of Grand Canyon. A nice highway cutting through the Echo Cliffs between Page and Bitter Spring, Arizona. Then one night: whoosh. Or whatever it sounded like. Probably not whoosh, though.

Fortunately no one was driving on that section of road that night. 

Being a geologically unstable slope, it took a lot of engineering work, and money, to fix it. It took longer than expected, too. But they did. Now it's open once again.


Photo location: US Highway 89 between Bitter Springs and Page, Coconino County, Arizona.

© 2015 Stephen J. Krieg