Skip to main content

         

Special Note To Readers: The four diaries in the "It Wasn't Nice To Drown A Canyon Lady" series were reconstructed extrapolations from a larger tome entitled “BEAUTY LOST.” If interested reading/commenting on same, those URL’s can be found by clicking on my profile. This original, and much larger, narrative was written in three parts: “Before” (meaning what it implies); “During” (the retrofit of a dam and the forming of Lake Powell), and “After” (the disparity of Glen Canyon’s ghostly remains). The title of my (as yet unpublished) tome is taken from George Steck’s 1959 rafting excursion through Glen Canyon. (For more background about George, here is a website dedicated to his personhood and achievements):

http://www.google.com/...)

           

George was a celebrated author of hiking books written exclusively for the Grand Canyon. He called the homespun 8mm relic movie Beauty Lost, which I later inherited and had reformatted into, first, a VHS, and afterward, a DVD. I am honored for a long-standing friendship with this consummate hiker, author and professor. Eventually, I donated George's film-legacy to Northern Arizona University (Kline Library). The movie was silent (because cameras in those days had no sound capability). For some thirty minutes the main star was Glen Canyon in all her regal and natural veneer from rim to river. Later, George made a special rendition for me, a voice over version, where he narrated the trip. This copy I kept for myself.

           

When I relate how hiking in this canyon scion cut and carved by the Colorado River was the most pristine of all the canyons anywhere in the Southwest, perhaps even the world, I intend no aggrandizement seasoned with unfounded rhetoric. Moreover, if angels took time out from whatever angels do and looked for a placid desert sanctuary to rest their wings, then here was the place where they came.

What follows in this diary compliments the previous diaries. This supplement especially shares a vision of what the real Glen Canyon was before part of her domain was subjected to inundation, all for the sake of basin storage and recreation on a monumental scale.

That being said, if this subject matter appeals to some of you, and I hope that it does, grab a thermos of coffee or tea and join me on this final installment, a virtual excursion, of that other Glen Canyon most people are unfamiliar with. . .her topography, her ambience, her splendor. (Continues after the fold.)

         

Prologue: The idea for this addendum following on the heels of the last diary sort of came out of the blue. I also owe a special thanks to a rather inviting and convincing email from someone in the Daily Kos audience requesting me to write something specifically geared for the erstwhile (she called it) canyon she never knew (meaning before the deluge). She also asked if I had experience hiking here before the lake covered all the best features. To address that question, yes I did, though not as much as I would have liked. After mulling over the suggestion I decided to share a more personal story in the guise of taking a tour to an enchanting locale unlike no other.

Like so many other commentators I have heard from these past four or five weeks, most people in the Daily KOS audience had no familiarity with Glen Canyon’s former appearance. For over fifty years the attitude of most people was accepting the so-called lake addition and retrofit, and mainly for the reason it was the only Glen Canyon people were accustomed to seeing, either in person or photographs. My diaries, especially today's contribution, have revealed a story of an entirely other landscape, look and feel––touted by the commonly mentioned phrase the place no one really knew. Other than the fact there were few roads in this region before the dam building began in earnest there was another rationale why Glen Canyon was seldom visited: from a distance the predominant beige tinctured facade did not suggest the splendor of numerous and wondrous Eden-like haunts hidden in the Glen’s interior. You would have had to float down the languid Colorado, either invited to join a private rafting expedition or pay a relatively cheap fare to a commercial outfitter, then laze in the sun while partaking in the visual stimulation and serenity of the canyon’s main corridor. Headed down-river there were also many opportune stops for hiking excursions to inviting destinations, all masterful creations of erosion. From rim to river, access points were relatively easy to get to, that is, compared to other places where canyon hiking is usually more arduous and sometimes difficult to find a route. But not here. The so-called backcountry of Glen Canyon is much easier––was much easier to explore.

         

And for those of you who commented about my undivided and requited passion for the Glen, you were spot on. I also think it is possible to fall in love with Nature, to feel a sense of oneness with Her munificence, and something, say, comparable to a transcendental state of mind and spirit à la Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson (to mention only a few of my favorite Transcendentalist authors). There is. . .there was. . .no other place on this planet that has affected me so profoundly and viscerally. Before the 1960s, Glen Canyon was not a sunken world––an Atlantis of sandstone fabrication. Given her native habitat, this ranging canyon complex was a milieu of cathedral-like retreats inviting hikers and river rats to come stretch their legs and lose one’s self (in that other sense) inside spellbinding niches and recesses of all sizes and shapes. Those scarce and providential visitors who came to explore these idyllic and sculpted facets did not just stumble on Glen Canyon's secrets. Whomever entered this modest appearing canyon likely knew what most people ignored (or were not aware of in those years). Within the nearly 200-mile-long canyon were well over one hundred side canyons, and most were astonishingly beautiful beyond compare. (Which is why I think it was mainly word of mouth that got around and beckoned amateurs and professionals alike to hike and raft here.) Remember: such activity was not vogue as it later became, say, starting in the 1970s.

         

Before The Hike Begins: Apart from Eliot Porter’s celebrated book of photography, The Place No One Knew, such texts were not standard publications available on the market. Private photographs of others, like Tad Nichols and Katie Lee, were not yet in circulation. Even rustic photographs taken during Major John Wesley Powell’s second expedition (1871-72) were relegated to historical obscurity, at least back then. As for other historical accounts written about Glen Canyon’s locality, most of these academic and private publications were found in libraries and universities.

In short, to corroborate the above remarks here was an undistinguished canyon that was never advertised outside relatively small circles formed by Glen Canyon aficionados who knew where the best backcountry icons waited for discovery. They all realized this other Glen Canyon in her time before the swamping was an imbued essence of tranquility personified to the Nth degree. Most assuredly here was one of those rare and remarkable places that people could not directly drive to the rim, then get out of the vehicle and take in the view (such as happens at the Grand Canyon). If you drove to this sector of southeast Utah, then you came out of your way to get here. But there was no modern bridge crossing the Colorado River above Lees Ferry. Neither was there a town or city (like Page). To the north, there was only primitive ferry service to cross the canyon. Any roads that penetrated this convoluted terrain were utterly secondary or tertiary. Hence, typical four-wheel-drive primitive routes.

Still, some people found a way to penetrate Glen Canyon's rugged geography. Once inside this all-sandstone frontier she also did most of the communicating. I mean, there was a sense of animism here; call it a spirit-being presence of some kind that was ineffable to explain, yet profoundly and decidedly personal. Thus a phenomenal connection that was grasped and understood at some arcane level. Being here also meant you got this place and she got you.

Now let me introduce you to the canyon lady most people never knew or experienced.

The Main Feature Subject Matter: The destination I've chosen to chronicle this nostalgic tour-de-force is the celebrated Cathedral In The Desert (not to be confused with Cathedral Canyon). This locale on the west side of the Colorado River is in the Escalante River neighborhood. Arguably, the Cathedral, as it is more popularly known, is considered Glen Canyon's most cherished exhibition. I think people who came to its capacious chancel honed in the Glen's sandstone domain would also agree with my choice.

         

(FYI: The Cathedral in the Desert is located inside Clear Creek Canyon, which is a tributary of the Escalante River. From the dam the lake mileage marker is buoy number 68. About 2.5 miles into Clear Creek’s fissure the trail comes to an end. With one exception (see Postscript remarks), since Lake Powell’s forming boaters launching from Bullfrog Marina could motor some 23 miles down lake and view the upper parapets of the Cathedral. Otherwise, and obviously, its foundation and opening was hundreds of feet below the surface. The GPS Lake Powell waypoints taken from the Mouth of Clear Creek Canyon are N 37º 18.050; W 110º 54.464 and the mouth of the Cathedral are N 37º 17.410’; W 110º 54.860’)

Here's a view of the starting point from the Colorado (headed into Clear Creek Canyon...when there was a river running through here:

And now that you know where this literary excursion is going, I want to take you on a virtual tour. So, for the time it takes to read this diary you are about to become a time traveler and experience (by words and description) the majesty of a canyon truly like no other.

Summoning A Literary Time Machine: To simulate an experience the Cathedral in the Desert (hereafter, “the Cathedral”) entails going back in time before that damn dam was built. Thus invoking a time machine effect to conjure the experience by way of visualization and imagery. Let's pretend (by way of a guided tour) we are in the present, though with the contradiction of also being in the 1950s. The Colorado is flowing its usual indolent pace through the canyon. About the only muscle it has is to stir up a few ripples here and there. Hence, there is no whitewater in this long stretch between two other whitewater canyons, the shorter and rougher Cataract and the longer Grand. But not here in the Glen. It's as though the canyon lady wants visitors to really notice her features by slowing down the current. (Besides, why do you think Major Powell dubbed this province Glen Canyon?)

Our sojourn starts from the Colorado, thence to the Escalante River, and finally we will enter into a fissure-hallway of rock (Clear Creek Canyon). Here the perpendicular walls rise high above our heads, the pathway slender and sinuous. Due to the closeness of the walls the frequent twists and turns are intricately interwoven in places, and in some sectors crisscrossed to the point paltry patches of skylight are nearly shut out. Utterly mesmerizing. Like so many other tributaries in this canyon estate, tendrils reaching toward the river devise a natural light trap made entirely out of towering sandstone walls. What the diffused effect does illuminate is caused by a ricochet effect of glancing sunlight reaching down hundreds of feet below the rim. Sometimes it's like being in prolonged twilight––passageways can be that dusky in places.

           

Each step builds anticipation partnered with elation. Both nouns describe the onset of exhilaration most people feel when entering Clear Creek's gateway. It’s quiet in this fissure; even sporadic and desultory bird notes cascading from the rim does not disturb the tranquility. You should also know the Cathedral’s reputation, as a quintessential masterpiece of weathering over millions of years, precedes its viewing for the first time. Thus the lure to its threshold.

Since this is a virtual tour I suggest forgetting the Buddhist exhortation Expect nothing! Besides, where you end up is nothing less than mind-blowing. All that you need to know at this time is how the Cathedral's environs are at the end of a lengthy serpentine makeshift corridor, a waiting surprise. In places, the route is partially lined with redbuds––a deciduous dark-barked tree with showy magenta flowers during its all too brief blooming. Like most other similar fissures making up the whole of the Glen, sectors of Clear Creek Canyon are riparian (relating to a stream or river). Redbuds also only flower in the spring marking the time of year for our tour.

Wherever water flows commonly seen desert-canyon verdure decorates the, otherwise, naked canyon walls and pavement: scouring rushes, lichen and mosses, scarlet monkey flowers, white or yellow columbine and the so-called sacred datura (otherwise known as jimsonweed). Toxic death camus and an assortment of cryptogamic plants also appear and shelter petite mushrooms (and obviously not to be eaten). If the light is just right (and depending on the time of the day), smooth-polished plunge-pools intermittently show up, each tending to fuse a sorrel or sepia pigmentation of the impinging walls. At times, standing or running water tends to mirror a cerulean streak beaming down hundreds of feet through a mere chink above your head. As a consequence, the monolithic walls open and close attenuated light from the outside world. Of course, this aisle carved into solid rock seldom sees direct sunlight.

Notice the lamination of the powdery walls is smoothly fluted from millions of years of flash flooding. All of the canyon’s fissures show similar signs of this master element of erosion: water. In case you’re wondering, Clear Creek's drainage is somewhat similar to other sectors, such as Dungeon or Mystery Canyon, yet no two places are ever the same. The terminus for the Cathedral's path verifies this claim, for soon you will witness another kind of cathedral that suggests both an ending and a beginning. (You will also understand the implication for this teasing paradox, and perhaps a koan to quiet the intellect.)

         

Eliot Porter’s previously mentioned tome comes to mind, where he wrote in the introduction words that have stayed with me all these years. He articulately describes a living canyon, and obviously in contrast with a dead canyon by way of Lake Powell’s entombment of Glen Canyon's lower features. His opening words (on page 9) I have committed to memory, sort of the way some people memorize verses from the Bible or illuminating lines from the Tibetan Book of the Dead or Tao Te Ching:

The architect, the life-giver, and the moderator of Glen Canyon is the Colorado River. It slips along serenely, riffled only in the few places where boulder-filled narrows confine it, for nearly two hundred miles. For all the serenity, the first canyon experience is too overwhelming to let you take in more than the broadest features and boldest strokes. The eye is numbed by vastness and magnificence, and passes over the fine details, ignoring them in a defense against surfeit. The big features, the massive walls and towers, the shimmering vistas, the enveloping light, are all hypnotizing, shutting out awareness of the particular.
    Later you begin to focus on the smaller, more familiar, more comprehensible objects which, when finally seen in the context of the whole, are endowed with a wonder no less than the total. It is from them that the greatest rewards come. Then you see for the first time the velvety lawns of young tamarisks sprouting on the wet sandbars just retreating flood, or notice how the swirling surface of the green, opaque river converts light reflected from rocks and trees and sky into a moire of interlacing lines and coils of color, or observe the festooned, evocative designs etched into the walls by water and lichens.
    It is an intimate canyon
. . . .

Keep his stirring description in mind as the tour continues, thus depicting Glen Canyon when she was only a canyon.

Of course, Porter got it right. So do hikers and rafters who write or speak about their experiences here. As previously mentioned, this canyon really could speak to you and you could speak to her. Well, I should say for those who commune with Nature this odd assertion is credible.

Before The Drowning Of The Canyon Lady: Here is something else to keep in mind as we pace ourselves on the tour. All the finger-like fissures pointed toward the Colorado are indeed wholly distinct. By this, I mean each tendril has its own rapture of unprecedented fabrication, enhancement, and bucolic exhibition in store for those who wander and wonder into these sectors. For instance, Music Temple (buoy marker 55) in its time (dry and approachable) was so acoustically perfect a person could stand in the center of its chamber and hum a one-second note, then ten or eleven seconds later it would still be resonating. Although not an ideal setting to hear an opera recital, its gaping amphitheater was perfectly suited for yodeling and the like! The following picture is likely a colored-over print of this very setting made famous by John Wesley Powell's first expedition (in 1869), where the men tested the acoustics with their voices and singing:

The World's Greatest Showcase Of Geology: As an educator traipsing about the Colorado Plateau over many years, and mainly teaching geology, natural and human history, I relish such topics, though I readily admit to having rocks in my head. Glen Canyon’s geology is therefore due its credit and a brief explanation of what these multiple layers of varying geologic periods represent. In a word, the layered terrestrial and marine depositions are ancient, each environment formed from the Mesozoic Era’s Glen Canyon Group roughly laid down somewhere between 250 to 65 million years ago. There are four main formations making up the whole. From the oldest (stacked at the bottom) to the youngest are the Wingate, Moenave, Kayenta and Navajo. All the layers are sedimentary and mostly sandstone, which absorbs heat and tends to radiate high temperature. This is also arid desert terrain and it can get hot as a furnace for part of the year (but it's a dry heat and therefore more tolerable compared to humid climate). And here's a hiker's and rafter's windfall about this canyon: most of the deeply incised chasms criss-crossing the canyon's turf provide abundant shade and many have running water. In places, there are clear deep pools that must be gotten around, either by swimming, wading or climbing higher (if possible to go higher). Typically, most of the meandering routes abruptly end where a massive facade of rock suddenly rises at the end of the corridor, and always a delightful surprise and quixotic tease for hikers. There’s no way out except the way you came in.

Incidentally, the Colorado Plateau's myriad scenic icons validate the claim of this province's greatest showcase of geology. Bar none!

The Delights And Dangers Of Hiking Through Fissures: Commonly seen in these high-walled places are threads of shallow streams reflecting painted walls with a red or brown tincture, and sometimes a golden or bronze sheen depending on the light of day. In places where the walls open wider, an emerald green phalanx of cottonwoods and box-elder trees contrasts nicely with a window of blue sky. With the usual beige to buff-colored backdrop, the color scheme is typical and tantalizing to the senses. Many drainages average about one mile (the length measured from the river). But there are some that take many S-turning twists for four, five or more miles. Porter mentions one such place, Twilight Canyon (buoy marker 51) that he and his son had followed for fifty-seven turns without coming close to the end.

Like all narrow drainages, particularly slot canyons (significantly deeper than wide), these are the kind of places hikers must avoid when flash floods rip and roar through confining and potentially lethal traps. Indeed, there are natural warning signs to hikers, usually tree branches and similar debris lodged tightly into crevices. Fifteen to twenty feet above the pathway is common, thereby indicating high water marks.

Given the usual topographic layout of Glen Canyon’s fractal terrain, what evokes perception when hiking here is the aforementioned peculiarity of lighting. In a word, ethereal. Always the effect is alluring to the eye and gladdening to the soul. Again to quote Porter’s prose he writes––

In somber, rocky caverns of purple and ocher stone into which the sun rarely strikes, shallow pools glitter brassily from sunlit cliffs high overhead. Wherever there is a damp cleft, maidenhair fern and scarlet lobelia and white columbine grow. Their drooping leaves turn a dusky cyan-green in the blue shadows, creating a subdued, almost funeral atmosphere. (p. 10) That's a WOW passage to contemplate, don't you think?

Gathering Momentum To Advocate The Environment And Open Spaces: It is not without a purpose and a ploy how David Brower and the Sierra Club promoted and praised Porter’s entrancing photographic images. And it wasn’t so much a commercial fostering to hawk the printed portfolio to potential buyers. Instead, it was a pressing means to get people in that time to come together and form a larger coalition by standing up for the environment. But the main intent was to stop the Bureau of Reclamation from plundering another masterpiece of nature––that penultimate shrine of the ages: the Grand Canyon. In Brower’s eyes, and here using my own words, damming all three canyons in this Upper Colorado River region was scandalous and a sacrilege. (At the time Marble Canyon, which was the first targeted dam site, at Tiger Wash, was not yet part of Grand Canyon National Park.) Personally, the bureau’s ardor for dam building via partial canyon erasure, thus filling in the void, was like taking the Musée d'Orsay (my favorite museum in Paris’ assembly) and flooding the lower third of its edifice, thereby defacing all the art work and other treasure trove artifacts. Carrying over the analogy to canyons, damming these geologic estates, while leaving only the higher tiers, literally short-changed the optimum view. (On this note, I think Dominy’s astrological symbol must have been water, because he appeared to have a wonton distaste for canyons and desert terrain.)

Validating his abhorrence to the bureau's typical mindset in those days, David Brower writes an eloquent and evocative foreword in Porter’s oeuvre of exquisite photography. He begins his epistle of atonement with the sobering and somber words, Glen Canyon died in 1963 and I was partly responsible for its needless death. So were you. Neither you nor I, nor anyone else, knew it well enough to insist that at all costs it should endure. (p. 5)

Let’s ponder another passage from Eliot’s assembly of photographs that did in fact finally turn hearts and minds toward the conservationist’s stance, and therefore beget a changing attitude that was anathema to Dominy’s proposed damming of this region’s trinity of canyons (with one already inundated):

It is reflection that imparts magic to the waters of the Glen Canyon and its tributaries. Every pool and rill, every sheet of flowing water, every wet rock and seep––these mirror with enameled luster the world above. Small puddles, like shining eyes, fuse the colors of pink rocks and cerulean sky, and wet ripples of mud may do the same thing. In the changing light nothing remains the same from year to year or hour to hour. Flood and drouth, heat and cold, life and death alter the finer details incessantly, but they leave unchanged the grand plan with the enchanting quality of the Colorado’s masterwork. (p.11)

Unchanged! Of course, Porter knew everything the Glen had honed to perfection in view of describing the main features that would take all the prose and poetry ever written about this outback frontier, then strike out each word with bold strokes of water.

To continue the intended and vicarious excursion into the marrow of the Cathedral. . .

Taking The Trip To Bountiful. . .That Other Bountiful: One does not hurry on sojourns to nature’s immaculate conceptions born from sandstone and erosion (or one shouldn't). When going to the Cathedral, either by way of the river or the longer and more difficult approach coming down from the famed Hole-in-the-Rock road (though best left to mountaineering types), the destination does indeed define the journey. It’s a simulated Zen attitude that helps keep the mind still, even knowing the contradiction of one’s enlivened senses (i.e., the celebrated empty Zen state of mind) tends to corrupt Zen's purest tenor. Still, nothing in the world of space and time exists in such a rarefied state of consciousness except being right where you are from nanosecond to nanosecond. Thus the adage: Wherever I go, that’s where I am! Hiking in the Glen Canyon of the past had that kind of rousing influence silencing the usual chatty mind reports and commentary.

Now we are further into the Clear Creek Canyon's depths, yet the enclosure of its corridor doesn’t generate a feeling of being hemmed in, so much as one feels embraced. Traipsing toward the Cathedral’s doorway keeps you in a state of expectancy and euphoria until the final destination presents itself. The circumscribed path and crepuscular lighting also abets the imagination of a tantalizing childhood dreamscape, where no nightmares dare interrupt such reverie. Thus an ideal place and time to free the inner child from its usual restricted life as an adult.

               

Balmy scents of plants and flowers and random background sounds (mostly melodious bird notes) are part of the joyful experience (so I hope your mind conjures up such fragrance and sound). There is one audible report in particular that you will hear on today's tour: a canyon wren’s dulcet glissando of semiquavers. This speckled little bird with the big mouth usual territorial signature call is intended for other avians, even humans: descending minor third intervals, each trilling note in precise notation. Other avian species frequenting the inner canyon are swifts and swallows, either seen darting crazily through the heavens or else resting in honeycombed walls caused by weathering (mainly the wind). And there is my favorite bird, those raucous, comical and acrobatic ravens mated for life. For me, these aptly named trickster birds, as many Native American tribal people have dubbed their species, are like reincarnated beings from another time long ago, only now more superior. Ringtail cats (related to raccoons, only more cunning), kit and grey fox, bobcats and pumas, deer and a host of other mammals. . .they’re all here, as well.

In this sparsely lush habitat where we are, springtime’s orchestral arrangement is alive with inflected utterances. Indeed, spring and fall are ideal months to come and hike and lose one’s self in an overall maze-like setting (though no one really gets lost in that other sense due to the canyon's usual and straightforward trails). Sometimes it’s necessary to squeeze past boulder-sized chockstones (rocks tightly wedged between the walls) or negotiate chest-high water for short stretches, then continue the journey. Remember how most of these canyon tendrils leading into the interior abruptly end where an enormous flank of sheer rock cannot be climbed unless one totes the necessary gear (climbing ropes and related equipment). At the end of the corridor we're following (about 2.5 miles) the view is solid, linear and ascending.

We're here! Finally, and just after the last corner is turned, the floor of Clear Creek Canyon spreads out and the Cathedral’s antechamber is ahead. Beaming saffron-colored glare forms a puddle of light at your feet, marking the early afternoon tract of the sun. Now stand still! Keep quiet! Observe! Be! A soaring oxidized stained enclosure, the big backdrop, seem almost like a matte painting; certainly mythical. You begin to feel diminutive given such largeness of dimension. Indeed, you are absolutely vertically challenged by a colossal facade looming on all sides. There is also another feeling that overwhelms you; sort of like being a parishioner standing before a great altar of rock. That’s because it feels like you have just entered into a hallowed arena of time and erosion, a special place to venerate nature’s finest artistry.

And then it finally hits you––that striking moment where you wake from the dream, yet enter another state of mind. And so, which is more real––the waking or the dream?

Here's another view of the Glen's embellished canyon walls:

But still you linger and dare not enter into this globular foyer. For most visitors, the usual verbal response amounts to a curt and common vernacular

               Oh. . .my. . .God!

Another way to put it is sine qua non, for there can be no other place like it on the face of the Earth. Actually, a more appropriate mantra is called for, say, Om mani padme hum. . .denoting a Jewel-Lotus, only here comprised of lithified clastic particles of sand formed and compacted millions of years ago.

There is also something else peculiar about this even more peculiar relic of Nature: an awareness of a pervading abstruse presence, perhaps something akin to Immanuel Kant’s noumenon––that unknowable thing in itself. Rustic and rife in all respects, your mind reacts to scrutiny. The analysis is also natural. Go with it. You note how the Cathedral’s finely chiseled interior and plumb wall backdrop describes a tableau vivant the way any masterful painting depicts a subject and scene (though in this sense implying without people). Thus all the parts make up the whole, where some aspects (of the painting) are more outstanding in a quiet or dynamic way.  

Walk Softly In The Wilderness: Tapping into a collaborative effort of many other personal accounts, these recorded testimonies from the B.D. past (before the dam) reiterate similar musings mentioned throughout today's tour. Each has described analogous words that make a noble attempt to factually, poetically, and sometimes emotionally, help explain the sight and sensation of the Cathedral. Yet, and like Kant’s aforementioned thing in itself concept (in German, Das ding an sich), such an object remains independent of the mind as opposed to a phenomenon. I also think this metaphysical slant helps explain the totality of a part of Glen Canyon’s inner realm, her numerous tabernacles that Lake Powell has kept in cold storage for well over a half century. In short, words ultimately fail, even elegiac chronicles, that attempt to portray what erosion over time has patiently and meticulously fashioned. And here I will quote another famous photographer, the aforementioned Tad Nichols, who wrote about the Cathedral, You can’t do justice to that place by talking, even by pictures. You had to stand there and see it and feel it. I’m sorry most people couldn’t do that. (From his black and white opus of photographs and commentary, GLEN CANYON: Images of a Lost World.)

           

Walk softly in the wilderness, indeed!

Framing The Overall Picture––It’s All Navajo: The unit formation of Glen Canyon’s geology is part of what makes the Cathedral’s locale so engaging––the cross-bedded Navajo Sandstone. Formed by ancient sand dunes that were later petrified and congealed, wind erosion is the primary sculptor. Upon closer inspection the lamination seen in the curving walls represents a finer and grittier sandstone. Later came rushing water, mainly flash flooding over the eons. Water is therefore the secondary element of erosion responsible for the fluted and gnarled look and feel of this immensely thick deposition. Like frozen waves seemingly moving through graduating bands of sandstone, the tan, wan and pinkish-white color scheme creates an aesthetic and complimentary contrast. Enhancing the eloquence are florid patterns of patina highlighting some panels. Each stained surface is an astonishing tapestry of blue-black pinstriping created by plant life and oxidation. Some are wet and shiny, while others are dry and drab green striations painted on the walls. Hanging gardens in higher alcoves nourish birds and butterflies from fountain-like seeps that bleed through the porous walls.

A Chance Meeting: I purposely digress when I relate a brief meeting in the early 1970s with a man who was very familiar with Glen Canyon, both before and after the dam years. This celebrated photographer was besieged by a small crowd of people near the dam's visitor center and I stopped to eavesdrop on what he had to say to an obvious admiring public. After the gathering broke up I approached and asked about his Cathedral in the Desert hiking and photographic experience. (I had recently heard about its famed reputation and wanted to get a firsthand account.) At the time, I was also studying photography with Jim Milmoe, at the University of Colorado), who once studied under Ansel Adams. (I purposely did some name dropping, just because.) My out of the proverbial blue question instantly earned me a private audience. Apparently, the query triggered nostalgia. After a brief pause he told me it was like going to see the Wizard of Oz, only the wizard who lived in the Cathedral was Nature, Herself. He then related how its great vacuum was overwhelming in every aspect, particularly how the largeness of its design made him feel manifestly, small. We chatted briefly about other places, too, and how each facet of the canyon was not only distinctive, but also (he emphasized) a hologram made out of sandstone. I never quite understood what he meant by this remark, though I remember his closing words as though we spoke only yesterday. He said what Nature had orchestrated here over hundreds of millions of years mankind had destroyed in a mere few years after the dam was built.

To Oz indeed, sir! The unassuming photographer’s fantasy description was not the stuff of mawkish fantasy. He spoke, instead, of a rare gift of reality that sometimes meshes with the underside world of Elysium or some such. I also never forgot his reverence for the Glen, much less his brief and running narrative of a prose-like description about the Cathedral. His name was Philip Hyde, one of Glen Canyon's chroniclers by way of extraordinary black and white photography (and some of which have been liberated for all five diaries).

     

Describing The Seemingly Indescribable: Standing below the aperture of sky, we are almost dead center over the Cathedral's opening, where sharp shafts of sunlight spotlight a segment of the sandy floor. The beacon is stationary for as long as the sun centers its eye over this fissure. For most people, it is difficult to know just where to look at any time: up, down or sideways. But everywhere one sets his or her focus bliss tends to stimulate the lacrimal ducts. When gazing upward, the eyes (wet or dry) effortlessly follow a threshold of vaulting walls that form two symmetrical and overhanging parabolas, much like a canopy hemming in the far recesses below. The upright panorama is encompassing, though not crowding. I think most will agree this particular abbey in the rocks is not only awe-inspiring, but tends to unhinge one's mental works. Again to mention it, descriptive words are rendered useless. Instead, it's merely a taut silence that suggests conceded plaudits.

We now enter the chamber! Be prepared for an emotional and visual orgasm.

Pouring into this auditorium of exacting graving and finesse, there is a slim waterfall about sixty feet high that cascades its monotone, unwavering sound; a becalming white noise effect complimenting the stillness and quiet’s quiet. Its pellucid veil is about one-foot in diameter. Here also, and higher above, suspended green beards (a/k/a hanging gardens) flourish in scores of grottoes inscribed in the buff-colored balcony sector. Some of these recesses have grown huge over time, though each alcove has been finely chiseled into a greater context of the Cathedral’s much larger opening. Some of these notches take on the shape of etched, shallow bandshells, where intermittent songs of staccato and cryptic bird notes compose a lyrical fanfare, almost anticipatory in such a place as this. How fitting!

Where there is running water, there are sometimes standing pools. One such oasis is before you. Like this clear pool, these askew or round springs are like feigned mirrors reflecting dark light upward. The visual effect compliments integrated hues of the Cathedral's overall framework. Garnished by shadows and variegated mid-afternoon light (denoting the optimum time to see and experience this showcase), the aura is overwhelming. Such equanimity! As a reminder, visitors probing the Cathedral's innermost sanctuary tend to keep comments private. Ergo, purposely refraining from well-intended laurels for fear of intrusion with such a sanctified solitude. I venture to say the atmosphere is almost church-like, though, again, the reference is not intended in any theological sense. Indeed, this finely fashioned setting harbors only nature’s pleasantries and essentials, and not the stuff of human ego and pretense.

Realizing the truth of what Tad Nichols mentioned about not doing justice with any attempt to describe the Cathedral and its backdrop, still, one wants to make the attempt. Then again, doing so tends to limit the ambience and articulate portraiture so depicted, while resorting to mere cliches and hackneyed prose. Certainly my own. I also suppose such praise and testimony typically ends up being too prosaic given the dream-like impression of the Cathedral's environs.

A Microcosm Within The Macrocosm: A variety of plant life, such as those mentioned earlier in the tour, slightly alter the damp-smelling fragrance inside this intimate oval cavity. In the Cathedral's ostensible nature’s womb of sandstone, patches of flower bouquets and greenery adhere to weeping walls (otherwise known as perennial seeps). Above, a modest shower of waxing afternoon golden light highlights the organic patina overhead, each artistically stained surface exhibiting exhaustively animate details. What would Impressionists think if they came to study and paint here?

You could spend a lifetime in this place, steadily drawn into the Cathedral's boundless cosmos. But it’s time go. Remember: Leave only footprints, taking only your memories.

Before leaving, listen to the waterfall sliding against the slippery face of the polished furrow it has meticulously formed over millions of years. The sound is meditative and will help reinforce your cognitive memory about today's adventure. Next, reach into the pool below the waterfall and feel the small, rounded pebbles. The sense of touch augments a neurolinguistic technique to instant recall. Your visual senses are already overloaded.

Now back out the corridor you go, passing seep flowers, small lawns where white watercress and emerald green moss grow. Black and dark green splotches of cryptogamic clumps appear here and there. Take note how each segment is a living part of a long and complex growth process that created these amazing colonies of life-sustaining environments. Please do not tread on their turf.

By this time, piercing shafts of golden light mark the shift toward late-afternoon. It’s also strange how the return always seems to go by much quicker than the coming. Then before you know it the muddy Escalante enters the equally muddy main channel. You are once again fully immersed in the space-time continuum. It’s time to get back in the boat and motor upstream. Still, there is no need to hurry. After all, you have just left Atlantis in a sandstone Eden. You also realize there is more of its open frontier to relish. It’s too bad you can’t go the other way to the end of Glen Canyon’s southwestern portal. So you think of other spellbinding places you would love to visit some other day: Hidden Passage (mile 55.5), Music Temple (mile 55), Anasazi (now named Mystery) Canyon (mile 52), Twilight Canyon (mile 51), Forbidding and Bridge canyons (mile 49), Little Arch Canyon (mile 45 Wetherill Canyon (mile 39.5), Grotto Canyon (mile 39), Dungeon Canyon (mile 38), West Canyon Creek (mile 28.5) . .and so many inviting others up and down the river. There are enough attractions here to spend a lifetime wandering and wondering through the Glen's labyrinthian hallways, her most intimate secrets of the interior.

And the worst of it is the fact part of you begin to realize how all of these paragons of erosional beauty beyond compare will one day be entombed by water before the 1960s are over. Unquestionably, yes. . .this Atlantis of canyons will mostly be hidden from the view. Finally, it hits you and you feel cheated by what happened here; you feel the worst mistake and environmental sin was made by erecting the dam and forcing this very river you’re motoring on to do its worst by creating the reprehensible coverup of the Glen’s most attributable assets––the Cathedral in the Desert and all the rest of similar icons denoting a lost world beneath deep water. Beauty lost, indeed!

This quote by one of Glen Canyon's most famous human mysteries says it all. This legendary young man spent a lot of time here, and died here:

Conclusion And A Hopeful Resurrection Some Day Soon: This diary’s rendition and admitted prolix may sound like too much opulence and hyperbole to some, but not for me. Perusing the Cathedral in the Desert, either reading about its magisterial environs or viewing photographs that I sometimes feel I could jump into and stay there is the usual panacea for boosting my spirits. It’s like falling in love all over again, and for a time it’s the gushing muse within that keeps me in touch with the Glen’s pulse and spirits. Although it’s difficult to say which sector is more comely or more engaging to the eye, which I have often been asked this question by students and clients (when I owned an ecotourism company), I have to say the Cathedral is my favorite.

Meanwhile, back to reality. This is about as close as anyone gets to the Cathedral since the lake's forming:

When the archetypal Glen Canyon was traded for an artificial basin, her habitat was sorely changed and a large roster of animal and avian life vanished: mammals, reptiles and insects that could not find a way out of the canyon’s depths were all drowned; other species, including avians, vacated their homeland territory and went elsewhere. Only the typical camp robbers remained (jays, sparrows and ravens). Whenever and wherever humans amass by the millions, all creatures great and small tend to keep their distance, preferring the quiet of their own routine and existence. A traffic of motorized craft and reveling people also tends to erase a quiescent atmosphere. Today's Glen Canyon is really a chimera compared to yesterday's reality.

Some years ago an elderly field institute student told me about her Glen Canyon travels as a much younger and fit lady, and of course she had visited the Cathedral many times. She thought its throne room (she described it that way) was holy and hushed, and whenever she hiked into its realm felt compelled to kneel down before the Cathedral’s reliquary. I was particularly intrigued when she told our gathering of fellow institute backpackers of an experience where a beguiling beam of light had singularly centered over her head, as though something or someone high above watched over her in that deadfall moment and silence. Wow! I thought to myself; I had a similar visceral experience on a Glen Canyon hiking venture. And she was right: visiting this sacrosanct tabernacle of the canyon lady is just that––holy and hushed.

Although the Cathedral in the Desert has long since become a catacomb on the canyon floor, it nonetheless remains a master template of creation, and some of us still feel the allure of Glen Canyon’s domain. From this approximate one-acre throne room the tremor of the canyon’s pulse is still felt today, at least for those sensitive enough to feel it.

These many years later I still remember all the aforementioned descriptive scenes so described: the winsome ambience and ambrosial or dank-smelling scents, a medley of bird calls, the quiet commotion of animals pursuing each other and following their natures. . .these and other tangibles stir my memories as though it was just yesterday or the day before when I had stopped by and immersed my spirit into that other Glen Canyon hardly anyone ever knew. Sadly, all of that expressive sculpturing was covered over and put to sleep by the blue sedative of Lake Powell. For the present, and likely into the near future, the only way to see the myriad marvels of Glen Canyon is to turn the pages of books published by authors and photographers. Verily, building this dam, and the basin that all too quickly had formed behind its walls, was no way to have treated this canyon lady, whose only fault was the fact the Glen never had the protection of a national park or national monument status.

Rich Holtzin
Albuquerque, NM
http://www.grandcanyon.org/...

Postscript: The previously mentioned exception was an inimitable and incredible happenstance in 2005 when Lake Powell’s drought had worsened and dropped an amazing 145 feet (msl). That stunning event happened in March. For the first time in some forty years, the Cathedral’s portal was opened to visitors. The low water lasted well into April and for about a few weeks and it was possible to float into this sector via the Escalante. From there, visitors could get out of the boat and stand on a solid and soggy pavement. Being there was like experiencing the rapture of a pilgrimage, only entirely dedicated to Nature. Nay, it was a break of a lifetime, a gift of time for the relative few who took advantage of this rare window of opportunity. With the water drained so low, from the vestibule to a high and narrow band of pale supernal light the cavernous amphitheater was still dripping wet, though nonetheless released from the heavy weight of its prisoner-basin. A shallow, green glint of a pool collected a thread of water that sliced through a tapered slot of sandstone, a sort of miniature waterfall. The backdrop flank of rock was a tritone tincture, starting with a broad reddish-brown swath at the bottom, an equally broad and bluish swath in the middle, and a variation of tan and brown veneer all the way to the rim.

Because the chamber was newly dried out, or nearly dry, there were no flowers or moss or lichen growth that once was the usual decorative plant life gracing the view. Dulcet bird notes were also manifestly absent in the quiet and moist stillness. Yet there it was––Glen Canyon’s Cathedral. In its commodious chamber, some visitors tested the acoustics in diverse modulated pitches and tones. Indeed, the utterance of a single word resonated for five or six seconds and lifted skyward. Even the cathedral at Notre Dame could not compete with such natural resonance.

For a time, the Cathedral would remain dry until the lake rose some fifty feet (by summer), though in increments of about two inches per day. The drought was not over but was only interrupted by an unusually wet winter and spring season that slaked the thirst of the parched Rockies. The vigor of spring runoff would thus inundate this part of the Glen once more, her aquatic captor covering up the evidence of Glen Canyon’s complete exposure. For some, it seemed as though Nature had planned and provided a preview of what would one day become a dry canyon environs, and perhaps a hopeful sign not too far into the near future. One also takes what one can get given such a gift of Nature for part of that early spring.

So, adieu fair canyon lady until your next appearance at low water. . .or when you are forever free of a basin camouflage.

Originally posted to richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:31 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (145+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueJessamine, ThatPoshGirl, Habitat Vic, ExStr8, Ree Zen, RumsfeldResign, ImpactAv, xaxnar, twigg, cskendrick, elkhunter, high uintas, puzzled, parakinesis, arizonablue, luckylizard, themank, bumbi, fiercefilms, marina, jwinIL14, Rosaura, ninkasi23, marleycat, truthhurtsaz, itzadryheat, akmk, Massconfusion, Mogolori, DrLori, PeterHug, Naniboujou, jcrit, Dave in AZ, Simplify, Aunt Pat, VTCC73, asterkitty, walkshills, elfling, dkmich, walkabout, Alma, Jay C, anodnhajo, mofembot, cosmic debris, flowerfarmer, Jim R, subtropolis, melfunction, willyr, spunhard, envwq, Joieau, pbearsailor, SeaTurtle, fromer, greengemini, princesspat, Pam from Calif, chira2, pvasileff, Assaf, DWG, shortgirl, where4art, dRefractor, notdarkyet, linkage, Mother Mags, Methinks They Lie, mslat27, Blue Bronc, savano66, carolanne, jeeugena, Mary Mike, Chaddiwicker, Alumbrados, BlueMississippi, Aaa T Tudeattack, drnatrl, RhodaA, Olkate, newpioneer, corncam, CA ridebalanced, TAH from SLC, Dr Arcadia, emmasnacker, oceanview, unclebucky, IreGyre, flash123, TomFromNJ, implicate order, JayDean, Sanuk, slowbutsure, OceanDiver, burnt out, belinda ridgewood, navajo, sea note, nomandates, psnyder, chimene, BenMac84, Don Enrique, tapestry, Neon Vincent, CalGal47, jlms qkw, eyesoars, erratic, begone, Eclectablog, Polly Syllabic, dansk47, John Ely, Magnifico, Regina in a Sears Kit House, earicicle, Prison4Bushco, Alfred E Newman, jbob, DuzT, copymark, semiot, justme, PHScott, the mom in the middle, rhutcheson, lineatus, Deward Hastings, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, lissablack, wbr, Fiona West, old wobbly, Ed in Montana, retLT, HeyMikey, Oh Mary Oh

    Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

    by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:31:51 AM PST

  •  Amazing places (27+ / 0-)

    and photos.

    Thank you.

    "the Devil made me buy this dress!" Flip Wilson as Geraldine Jones

    by BlueJessamine on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:40:50 AM PST

  •  one of the best diaries I have ever read (23+ / 0-)

    thank you

    PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

    by RumsfeldResign on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:14:15 AM PST

  •  Aren't you esconsed in Albuquerque? (10+ / 0-)

    I live in Los Chaves, just south of Los Lunas.
    Very well researched and informative.

    •  Thank you and. . . (8+ / 0-)

      yes, I am indeed ensconced in the Burqy (Old Town sector). Lucky you for living in that lovely southern neck of the woods, Los Chaves. Anyway, I am very tickled you find this missive well researched and informative. I sometimes think or feel some people might get turned off with so much verbosity, yet with this particular subject there really is a bigger story that seldom gets told, and so I wrote a series of, well, big diaries to share the real story behind the blue facade most people believe is somehow the real Glen Canyon. Not!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 10:53:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Andy Gra111 sez (0+ / 0-)

        Well, sometimes verbosity is a turnoff. But as fifty years of glorification are analyzed at 100 years of results, questions arise. Hoover (boulder) Dam is becoming silted-up. And fish cannot swim against huge barriers. And so, our trout population dwindles. And non-native brown trout. This means that water levels do not equal water reserves.
        Yes, I read a book about how Hoover was built. A lot of people died doing it.
        Oh! OK. here's my address (about a rifle shot south of the minimum security prison).
        4440 Hazel St., Los Lunas, NM,87031

  •  Sometimes .... (16+ / 0-)
    This diary’s rendition and admitted prolix may sound like too much opulence and hyperbole to some, but not for me.
    What might sound like hyperbole, is simply an accurate description.

    Thanks for this masterpiece of a Diary.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:43:11 AM PST

  •  Glen Canyon (12+ / 0-)

    Tears, sob....

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 10:14:48 AM PST

    •  And you are most welcome (7+ / 0-)

      parakinesis (nice label, by the way) and I really do appreciate all the support that I'm getting from you and other DKos community members. Initially, I didn't know how this series of missives might go over, but apparently I've reached a welcomed community of minds and hearts. Thank you, thank you, and thank all of you for this.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:00:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very well done. (6+ / 0-)

    I am one of those who would love to see Lake Powell tossed in the dustbin of history. So much additional beauty was lost to that monstrosity.

    •  How about let's. . . (6+ / 0-)

      flush the lake and break up the dam and toss its pieces into the dustbin? I like where you're coming from, truthhurtsaz. Alas, Dominy's 'jewel' will be with us for some time to come, simply because the folks in charge of this affair can't (or won't) make a decision one way or the other. You know, government business as usual! Anyway, thanks for your take and comment. Indeed, a monstrosity, yet look how this entire matter has garnered environmental support and created a niche collective consciousness we're now all part of. . .even those favoring the status quo of the lake. No worries. As the Native American philosophy is prone to saying, NOTHING LIVES FOREVER. . .NOT EVEN THE ROCKS (or dams)!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:14:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the end, I think that persistent drought (6+ / 0-)

        all over the Southwest will mean that the dam has very little point anyway - and perhaps then it will simply be removed.

        •  your comment. . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortgirl, oceanview

          PeterHug is correct. It's also a safe bet that Lake Powell's choking on silt may be the cause of its death, and of course, there would be nothing left to do other than drain the lake and dismantle the dam. Or as I just mentioned to another commentator, keeping the dam in place as a reminder to never, ever do such a thing again to any canyon, anywhere. It's bad enough what the dam builders since down to rivers, like the Delores, in Colorado, and the San Juan. Or the Salt River further south (just off the lip of the Colorado Plateau, fairly close to Phoenix. Dams simply are not the answer. Again, thank you for your comment about this touchy matter (to some folks it is).

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:59:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm, maybe a monkey wrench could fix it? (4+ / 0-)
        •  One of my rituals (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortgirl, oceanview

          upon first arriving on a beach in the Grand Canyon is to look upstream and ask the canyon gods if Hayduke still lives. I know he does. He calls himself Geologic Time.

          •  you are so funny. . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shortgirl, oceanview

            and spot on to mention this, savano66. Whenever I had a backpacking class near Phantom Ranch, even passing through, I always told the complete and unvarnished John Wesley Powell story by the river with the ten so students, and mentioned how we may have to quickly get out of the way if Hayduke manages to do the deed. FFF, indeed, right? Anyway, thanks for the fun comment. You must be a 'wrencher,' sounds like. And just how many people did that irascible curmudgeon, Abbey, baptize with his literary brand of radical environmentalism???

            Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

            by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:50:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I just replied to this. . . (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortgirl, oceanview, ozsea1

          to another commentator, truthhurtsaz. A monkey wrench fix, do you think? Did you know if that great big dam were to break, the cascade of such high volume water would not only blow out the Hoover Dam but every dam in the Colorado River's way, and all the way to the end of the line. I'm not even Abbey realized this in his time, though I know a personal friend of his who once told me Abbey was just 'having his fun' with his fanciful dreams, nothing more. So, the best approach, I think, is to drain the lake slowly but surely, and I am inclined to think along the lines of Bower and say let's keep the dam as a monument of stupidity (with, of course, a straight through route for the Colorado to continue on its way, unhampered. Besides, people today are looking for extreme sport activity, so someone will likely want to skateboard down the curving wall and pop a chute prior to the face plant. Do you think?

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:54:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Heartbreakingly beautiful. Thanks so much for (8+ / 0-)

    the extraordinary time and love put into this diary.

    •  akmk. . . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, oceanview, akmk, burnt out

      I thank you for your comment. Yes, a lot of time, but let me just say I need the escape and find this kind of writing and research (and sorry, but I have no time to edit this stuff). As for the love, I am glad you think and feel this way, too. Even when I was a houseboat captain on the lake, working as an instructor for Yavapai College (Prescott, AZ), and teaching geology, human and natural history. . .I didn't think I was betraying the Glen, so much as I was sharing a lot more about her features with those wonderful Elderhostel students taking those week-long lake cruises. Many a time was it that I had them bawling when I dug out photos and books and told stories about what was some 500 feet below the keel. Some of those fossil heads even got to the point of being pissed off about what happened. And that is when you know you have earned your pay for the week. At least, that's how I felt. So, thanks, again, for your lovely comment.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:46:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Former Coloradan now in Alaska and trying hard (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burnt out

        to keep big mistakes from happening here.  Even when some can see what is so beautiful and so valuable, bad stuff still happens...just like Glen Canyon.

        Remembering the discussions between Brower and Dominy in "Encounters with the Archdruid" and missing Hayduke.

        Rented one of those houseboats on Lake Powell once.

        Helped establish minimum streamflows in Colorado. Watched the last wild female sockeye get bonked on the head and her eggs stripped just as she was entering her beloved Redfish Lake in Idaho.

        And then, while visiting Alaska about twenty years ago, watched a wild grizz catch a wild salmon on Chilkoot River,  knew I'd found home.

      •  You taught at Yavapai? (0+ / 0-)

        I took maybe a half dozen geology classes there back in the late 70s-early 80s, but I do not remember your name. But then I am getting old and senile, my apologies. Maybe you were there after that.

        In 2007 I rafted through the Grand Canyon and our guides pointed out scars on the cliffs above the river where engineers back in the 1950s IIRC were trying to figure out where to place a dam INSIDE the Grand Canyon. Fortunately the plan was scrapped for whatever reason. We came very close to flooding the Grand Canyon also. I think the site was upstream of the confluence of the Little Colorado which would place it not that many miles below Glen Canyon Dam.

  •  I recall an interview with Barry Goldwater (10+ / 0-)

    late, late in life when he was asked what his greatest mistake was as a senator.  He said it was his advocacy of the damming of Glen Canyon.  Never have been able to find the clip, but it's very moving, and you can see the regret in Goldwater's eyes as he recalls how beautiful it was.

    Thanks so much for the diary.  Such a worthy topic.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:20:25 AM PST

    •  Mogolori, thanks. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, oceanview, Mogolori

      for sharing your thoughts about Barry. I think I can find that article in my archives. Let me look and get back to you. In fact, send me an email (via my prologue) and that way I will be sure to get 'er done. I remember his thoughts on this matter, and, yes, he did think and feel he made a huge mistake. Then again, look at the crowd of Senators and Representatives he hung with, like Wayne Aspinall, Mo Udall, and some few others that more or less loved damming canyons. I truly think Barry was repentant for his collusion in the deal. His co-partner, Carl, you know, never was (repentant). He was another damn canyon slayer who, like Dominy, loved to play in the water. And such. So, thanks for your comments on the matter and I will see what I can do about Barry's mea culpa admission. I wonder if it might, by now, even be on YouTube?

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This diary is a beautiful labor of love! tu. eom (5+ / 0-)

    "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

    by Naniboujou on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:35:45 AM PST

    •  many thanks. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Naniboujou, shortgirl, oceanview

      for the compliment, Naniboujou. Really. As I mentioned in another commentary, writing about Glen Canyon is a catharsis for me, and for the time spent on the writing I tend to be there in the moment, in that moment when the Glen was her full self, meaning, no damn lake. From where I sit or stand, all of you who have commented in such a way (as you) are also in touch with the beauty of Nature. What would any of us without the open spaces and places such as we have here throughout the Colorado Plateau, or in the setting where you and others live, which is still Nature's beauty? So, thanks for sharing your thoughts and praise of this final diary on Glen Canyon. I'll dig something else out of my pile of manuscripts and share similar thoughts on other places. Maybe even a diary about my other office, the Grand Canyon.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:35:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks nt (4+ / 0-)

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:47:41 AM PST

  •  All of the desert southwest contains (9+ / 0-)

    many beautiful places that most people have never visited. You could spend a lifetime taking in all the wonders.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:48:25 AM PST

    •  you are so right. . . (7+ / 0-)

      about many beautiful places that most people have never visited. I've been haunting the Colorado Plateau turf for over forty years, thousands and thousands of backpacking miles, and I seem never to get enough of this singular beauty of its myriad and iconic scenic places. Even my troubling knees these years is worth the discomfort. Better to wear out than rust out, right? Thanks for your comment, elfling.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 12:00:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a Sonoran desert dweller (10+ / 0-)

    I really appreciate this work and the gorgeous photos. I don't get up North as often as I'd like. There are many spectacular areas down here too I need to explore.

    I first learned about Glen Canyon from Edward Abbey before I had ever been to the SW. I think your writing is in keeping with his fine tradition. You paint these places with your words.

    “Democracy is not just the right to vote, it is the right to live in dignity.”  ― Naomi Klein

    by cosmic debris on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 12:17:39 PM PST

    •  oh my. . . (6+ / 0-)

      your plaudits, cosmic debris. . .now I really am feeling strange for your remarks, though nonetheless pleased. Well, the thing is whenever I write about nature I tend to get inside myself and feel as though it's really the muse within doing all this. It may surprise you to know I have never had the confidence in my writing to the point I sharer any of these numerous manuscripts. After the reception and kindness of you and the rest of the DKos community I guess I better rethink my position on the matter. Anyway, I just told a friend that it was Abbey's peerless DESERT SOLITAIRE that served as my eco Bible and he turned me to a whole new way of thinking and being. I also think I wanted to do almost everything he did, and I nearly did. I'm not sure how much hiking he did in the Glen, but I'm thinking he racked up many more miles than me. Incidentally, he floated through here the same George Steck did, only a month or so later (1959). I think it was also his first rafting excursion through the canyon. So, anyway, thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Get up to the north country more often and see more of the Colorado Plateau's splendor.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:28:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Somewhere he's out wanderin loose, (6+ / 0-)

    whatever happened to  Everett Ruess?

    Rich, thanks for this addendum to your Glen Canyon diaries.

    I've had the good fortune to have been able to explore on foot, and once by kayak, the lower Escalante river and many of its side drainages, including Clear Creek, Davis Gulch, Fiftymile Creek, Willow Gulch, among others. Not, of course Cathedral in the Desert.

    These are amazing places---of incredible beauty and fragility.

    I came to find them, in part, because of Everett Ruess, who as you noted disappeared there in 1934. Having read Bud Rusho's Vagabond for Beauty
     and then Everett's own Wilderness Journals of Everett Ruess, I used the excuse of looking for him as a way to explore one of the many areas of the desert southwest that he loved, and that he's inspired us to love through his writing and his art.

    Exactly what happened to him, perhaps we'll never know. Being in Davis Gulch, I felt a very close connection to him , though.

    Perhaps what happened to him isn't as important as what happens to us when we are in the Glen Canyon and its canyons.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 12:18:50 PM PST

    •  willyr. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, shortgirl, oceanview

      oh you know me, too well; I mean, these same places that I, like you, have explored. I love the Escalante sector the best. From the Kaiparowits Plateau to Capitol Reef. . .and FiftyMile, and Paria, and Buckskin, and Goyote. . .and Davis. . .if you've been to these places, these great gulches, and the myriad slot canyons in this sector. . .you have indeed led a good life. Why not post some of your pictures by email and I can share them with the DKos community. What I have left in my photography collection are just pictures; I don't have a scanner to turn them into jpeg files. Not yet. I have a story about Ruess, now you mention his name, and maybe I can alter it into a shorter diary. It's a novel, of course, and I'm somewhere lost in Glen Canyon, but the year is not mentioned, and I happened to be found by a stranger, who eventually got me turned around again. And guess who that stranger is in this story? Hey, I love your last comment about what's more important: knowing what happened to Everett or what happens to us when we are in the Glen. Very nice, that. Thanks for your engaging commentary, as always.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:20:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Would love to read your Everett novel (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortgirl, oceanview

        wherever you publish it. I've only written multiple limerick-style verses about him, starting "Whatever happened to Everett Ruess..." and had the habit of requiring new canyon country exploring companions to add verses as we hiked.

        I think quite a lot of us have fantasies we'd run into him out there, and have written novels, poems, movies about it.

        I have lots of pics from my Escalante explorings, but all either in slide or print film---haven't gotten them digitized. I should do that.

        Cheers.

        Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

        by willyr on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:39:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful diary (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you

    It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. ~ Helen Keller

    by Pam from Calif on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 12:58:09 PM PST

    •  Pam from Calif. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, Pam from Calif, oceanview

      you are most welcomed. It is very pleasing to know this particular piece touched so many in a personal way. I will say it again. . .I am humbled by all of these meaningful responses. It also takes a lot to get me to blush but my cheeks are presently not a rouge color for nothing, I suppose.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:13:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the feast of beauty (5+ / 0-)

    I needed that.

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:53:25 PM PST

  •  Some remember and keep watch (7+ / 0-)

    pictograph

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:08:58 PM PST

    •  this glyph. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, oceanview

      did I see this before in Iceberg Canyon (Glen Canyon near the Rincon, on the east side of the river)? Or maybe somewhere in the San Rafael Swell? This figure is highly unusual given the elongate form, and knowing how cryptic rock art can be, the enigma of whatever is spewing from the form, the right arm, is truly intriguing. So you tell me what you know, high uintas. You have my full attention.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:10:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the Swell. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oceanview, willyr, ozsea1

        And like you I'm intrigued by what is being said here. I wish I knew what was being told to us. There are a number of them in the Swell with that elongated form and it seems to me that they become more and more mystical the further south you go into the swell.

        If you start viewing panels from Nine Mile down thru the northern part of the Swell and then South across I 70 it feels like they are telling a story that is less and less about this world and more about the spiritual.

        I wish I was a font of wisdom. It's just I feel like they are telling us something if only we understood.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:10:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I thought as much. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas

          your mythical and mystical glyph picture that you sent, high uintas. I have combed and curried all the glyph sites throughout the Colorado Plateau, including the Basin and Range Province, and I do recall coming across the iconic figure you sent; just couldn't remember where. But you just confirmed it: the Rafael Swell. Isn't that an extraordinary setting? In my tome, "Famous Landmarks: Exploring Scenic Icons of the American Southwest" (still unpublished) I cover all the major and minor national parks, monuments and state parks, and of course, the 'Swell' and 'Nine Mile' are included. What's happening especially to Nine Mile, given all that mining and drilling is an abomination, the same as what's happening throughout the Moab, Utah region. That Uncompahgre Uplift terrain (the so-called "Ancestral Rockies") is replete with the kind of geology fossil fuel industries wantonly desire, and will do anything to the environment just to get their hands and drills on such terrain. That's also what's happening in the Nine Mile district. The destruction of its myriad glyphs is heart-breaking, and so far there is no big rallying effort by citizens to stop what's going on. The Swell is also targeted for similar destruction. Mr. Obama blew it when he had a chance to slap a national monument designate on that lovely sector of Utah, but didn't. Contact me via my profile email account and I'll share the rest of the story with you, if you like. The fact is, we're not dealing with the X Files motif: the truth is not out there. It's here and there is something all of us can do to try and curb the destruction of this planet's atmosphere, whose direct cause is, and has been, and will be traced to fossil fuel industries that are simply out of control.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:25:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Rich (0+ / 0-)

            I will contact you for more discussion. Right now my best friend and I have to deal with a Beagle and a torn ligament.

            The Swell problem goes back further, while Clinton was Pres. the people of Emery County put together a use plan. It was a compromise plan, not perfect but one that the local people were invested in. The Southern Wilderness Alliance hated it and it died. Then Bush.

            They have a new Plan they are working on, well as new as 2011. The people there know that they have something of value and it's important to keep them invested, IMO.

            As for Nine Mile, The Nine Mile Canyon Coalition is doing a lot of good work but Gawd Damn money rules. Always.

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:25:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Another masterpiece diary, Rich. (6+ / 0-)

    I know the region and its history fairly well, but it's moving to read (and see) Glen Canyon described so admiringly.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:16:28 PM PST

    •  Mother Mags. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, oceanview, Mother Mags

      thank you for your kind words. I'm not sure, but aren't you expert on John McPhee? Anyway, I may be a trained philosopher by way of degrees, but I real calling should have been Southwest history. I just gave a good friend a highly recommend book that I also recommend to you, if you haven't already read it: NAVAJO TRADER, by Gladwell Richardson. It is a turn-of-the-century highlighting the start of trading posts here in the Four Corners region. I may write a diary on this epic work some day, because I think the DKos community will enjoy hearing this story. Anyway, I am so happy the community is receptive to the Glen's story. . .truly one of those rare Heaven-on-Earth habits.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:07:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, not an expert on McPhee, but I use him in (0+ / 0-)

        class. I think Archdruids came up in an earlier thread. Thanks for the book reference.

        stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

        by Mother Mags on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:05:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm thinking. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mother Mags

          of writing more tomes on a similar theme, only with a focus on my 'other' office, la belle Grand Canyon. That being said, you can bet I'll have more to say about McPhee's other life, as a geologist, particularly his theories on the Grand Canyon's evolution. On that note, may I highly recommend a fellow Grand Canyon Field Institute instructor's work, by Wayne Raney, entitled "Canyon Carving" ??? His opus entails all the great theories of this mother canyon, and, of course, John's. Wayne's book is also one of those "must read" epistles, but he doesn't have near the sense of humor that I do. (You can write and tell him that if you want, because I always do!) By the way, love your Gary Snyder quote, Mother Mags.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:13:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike, shortgirl

    for such a beautiful, heartfelt diary.

    •  carolanne. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      carolanne, shortgirl

      thank you for saying this. Heartfelt is exactly the way I intended to finish these lengthy tomes. And I thank you all the rest of the community for being so patient with me; I often write too much about anything. Then again, I've always been nuts about the Glen, so I have to foolishly admit to you and others I sometimes think I'm writing about or to my lover. And, yes, I can be daft like this, at times.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:02:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're welcome. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortgirl

        I really appreciated the writing, the love that went into it, and the things that I learned.

        Have to admit a certain second-hand guilt: my brother and his family live in CO. Vacations on Lake Powell became a summer tradition with them. My family and I were supposed to join them a couple of times, but it never worked out. I didn't know its history at the time, and I probably would have loved it.

        I don't think you're daft at all :)

  •  I saw Rainbow Bridge as a kid before the dam (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willyr, shortgirl, navajo, ozsea1

    The watershed around the bridge was an enchanted oasis. The dam took away the magic.

    Nature has a way of getting even, however. Increasing aridity driven by human caused climate change is drying up the Colorado.

    Beautiful diary. T&R.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:53:56 PM PST

    •  You are spot on. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl

      with your commentary, FishOutof Water. It may not be the case of getting even or mad or anything, I mean Mother Nature, so much as we've not been nice to the Mother Earth and now we have to, once again, learn the hard way. The entire global warming issue has changed to the defensive since the early 1990s, meaning there is no offensive any more. What's happening is another kind of Armageddon, this battle waged by the Earth Mother. Even politicians have recently realized such a fate, these discussions, sometimes heated, about how to "save" national monuments, there in D.C. Will wonders never cease? Well, we can't. The polar meltdown at both caps, the rising seas, the warming Gulf Stream that likely will soon stall. . .not good. Anyway, I thank you for your compliments on this personal diary. And here I thought the writing was too personal and the DKos community would find it a turn off. Then again, I've always been my worst critic when it comes to my writings. Thanks, too, for helping me see things another way. All of you in the audience.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:00:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a geologist/geochemist. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortgirl, ozsea1

        Early trips to the southwest from California inspired me as did Surtsey volcano in Iceland.

        It's great to have you here.

        This diary is a refuge. I hope more people see the beauty in it.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:13:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And thank you, again. . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortgirl, FishOutofWater

          FishOutof Water, for your thoughts. I would love hiking with you in the canyon country, because I'm guessing you are knowledgeable about shale and such, a petrol geologist type I once heard it called, and of course being a geochemist. . .you'd have to be. Anyway, the Colorado Plateau's geology is straightforward and amounts to uplift, downcutting, and erosion over time. We have some of the best looking geologic features here, besides. Write to me via the profile email and tell me more about your experiences in the Southwest. Meanwhile, I got to see Iceland quite a bit when I was doing the SOSUS network stuff (in the 1960s) and that was also my first experience as an amateur volcanologist. I never saw Surtsey being born, not in person, but I remember watching the event. What an amazing show of fire and cold water, eh? So, thanks, again, for your comment, and it's lovely being here in this DKos community. I am still blown away by such fellowship and erudite minds I hear from, like you.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:06:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this labor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortgirl

    of love.

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:13:28 PM PST

    •  and you're so welcome. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emmasnacker

      emmasnacker. . .but really, there was no labor involved. It was all love and I think the Glen Canyon Lady did all the talking through me; I just did the typing.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:11:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulation, Rich! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortgirl, FishOutofWater, willyr

    Another great diary, and one that came pouring out from your heart.

    I am proud and honored to know you. We are lucky to have you working for us.

    I am so happy that you found this great DKos community. The people of DKos rocks, even with the current pie fight going on!

    Reuse and commonality are the keys to a robust and profitable space program.

    by The NM STAR Group on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:18:27 PM PST

    •  and to you, Joe. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl

      my thanks and appreciation for being so instrumental in getting me to part with some of my writings, starting with this piece on the Glen. If you think I prodded you along in developing the most innovative aerospace concept, you did the same for me by turning me onto this exceptional community. What I would have missed had you not pointed the way.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:10:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I finally had time to read this entire (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, willyr

    labor of love. I so wish I could have seen it before the dam.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your knowledge and love of the canyon.

    "I came for the politics and stayed for the community" - h/t the fabulous earicicle

    by shortgirl on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:46:58 PM PST

    •  and to you and other. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, burnt out

      DKos community members, I do apologize for aging all of you with my longer than usual missives. It's just the fact I can't quite find the least words to express the most of this peerless canyon now lost to all of us, at least most of us. But thank you, shortgirl, for your endearing thoughts, as comments. And thank you for taking time out to peruse this diary. I am very happy you and others enjoyed this trip back in time when the Glen was a virgin turf and a living canyon in all her splendor.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:08:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your series has awakened lovely memories (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burnt out, shortgirl, willyr

    Post-dam, I was there in the early 70s, so these pictures and your descriptions are of a canyon I never knew, but what I did see has stayed with me these many decades later. Spent 3 weeks hiking and kayaking as a college orientation (Prescott College) up where the river flattens into the lake. We went up a number of side canyons. I remember Dark Canyon's curves and pools, the incredible colors and patterns in the rock. Sharp lines, soft eroded rock...many sensual memories. Thank you for the tour and the history. Your passion brings it to life.

    •  ah, Prescott College. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, OceanDiver

      I was a tutor for this exceptionally great college and program, but I best not get into that here and now. Please, please tell me about you Dark Canyon escapades, as it is one of my favorite locales to hike, and I am thinking you already know why. Nevertheless, your account of such an environs is noteworthy, and I have included this "gulch" canyon locale in one of my tomes I hope to one day publish for others, and remarkably how ironic that I get the impetus to do this from your comments, and all other commentaries I have thus far received. Oh, and I love your remark about "many sensual memories" of such places. I was reticent to make such a reference in diary missives, though you have just bolstered my courage to admit something similar. So, thank you for the memories you just instilled about Dark Canyon. Contact me via my profile email and let me share with you one of the most memorable hiking trips of that wondrous sector of the Colorado Plateau and how a seemingly mere coyote brought me closer to the mind of, well, others call it God, but I call it nameless.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:37:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What an amazing diary. Standing ovation from here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortgirl

    in Missouri. I've never seen your  canyon but your beautiful description of it is almost like being there.  And your love and passion for it is obvious. I do understand how much it means to you because I have that same sense of wonder about a small river here in Missouri. It has been my go to place for over thirty years whenever I find myself needing to refresh my soul or needing a refuge or just some solitude.  As the years take their toll I'm not able to spend as much time floating her as I once did but I still get down there as often as I can and she never fails to  lift me out of whatever mental muck I've allowed myself to be sucked into and she makes me whole again.

    Thank you so much for putting those same feelings into words for me.

    Just give me some truth. John Lennon--- OWS------Too Big To Fail

    by burnt out on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:04:47 PM PST

    •  dear "burnt out" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl

      you are not burnt out. . not with respect to the impassioned commentary you just left me to think about. You see, it is people like you that have such passion for anything  entailing the open spaces, your "small river" there in Missouri, that special "place where you have gone for over thirty years," this is the very reason why I wrote about my special place and attraction to a larger river, even though the Colorado doesn't even make the top 50 list in the classification of the most mentionable rivers in the world. Still, you must have sensed something of an impetus to continue your State's interest and intrigue about that small river. . .so I gather my missives on the beguiled Colorado River can serve as a sewage to that special "little river" you defend. Please. . . let me know if I can help in any way. And bear in mind, your supportive comments, among all the others, bolsters my ardor to continue standing up and speaking for what Brower, and so many others, have championed: protecting the environment simply by speaking our minds. And thank you, "burnt out," for speaking yours. I am truly humbled by your commentary. Please believe this retort.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:27:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rich, another great diary!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortgirl, FishOutofWater

    You deserve this top billing. Your previous diaries on the topic have been wonderful. I hope you keep posting these.  

    I have to confess that I skimmed your first couple of diaries on the Glen Canyon. I was too focused on the lovely pictures and did not read enough. Having now read your last two, I am going back to really read the first three. I know they will be as informative as this one and yesterday's (?). I am pretty sure I know where I will come down on the issues now!  It is also nice to read the many comments in this diary and see the great responses and your replies. Your diary links are going in our resource folder for our trip to the Southwest this summer.    

    •  I am flaberbasted. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, shortgirl, Don Enrique

      by your retort, Don Enrigue. Truly, flabbergasted. (Is this word even vogue in today's jargon?) I think my network is well connected in this sector of environmentalism, so if there is any way I can help you with your endeavors, please. . .let me know and I will do whatever I can to promote such environmental awareness. In the near future, I think we are going to be a united community focused on such a theme, despite our individual opinions. Even some Lake Powell enthusiasts have intimated similar pro environmental retorts. How strange and wonderful is that, I wonder! And thank you, and so many others, for being supportive of what maintains all life forms on this Earthly plane: Mother Nature. I swear to you and all others that my seeming campaign invested in this series of missive-diaries has been guided, at least influenced, by something wholly other. . .but I cannot name the source, for no one really can.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:48:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic! Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortgirl

    I love nature, science and my dogs.

    by Polly Syllabic on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:52:16 PM PST

    •  Well then, Polly Syllabic, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, Polly Syllabic

      given your "Like" designate, I'd say you are missing nothing in your life. Thank you for the comment and compliment. I take it my missive's narrative on the eloquence of nature, in this case "Beauty Lost" (Glen Canyon's dunking) is what's behind your commentary. By the way, I love all three of your choices, as well, but I have to say I am absolutely potty about cats, and my feline angel, "Millie the Kid," aptly named, rules my life with an iron. . .paw.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:08:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you so much! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater

    This brings back some rather dim memories I have of camping in Glen Canyon when I was about ten or so.  It also reminds me of another such tragedy, this one in Brazil.  When they built the gigantic Itaipú Dam on the Paraná, the water drowned what had been, in terms of flow volume, the largest and most powerful waterfall in the world.  There were 18 cataracts with a total drop of 118 meters (387 feet) at a flow rate of more than twice Niagara's or 1,750,000 cu. ft. per second, a rate that would fill the US capitol dome in 3/5 of a second!  I was lucky enough to see it in 1977 before it disappeared in 1984.  You could hear the falls over 10 miles away.  Absolutely extraordinary.  

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 05:04:06 AM PST

    •  GulfExpat, (0+ / 0-)

      thank you for your comments and the news about this immense dam. I think it is either the first or second largest in the world and I remember stories about it being build and the tremendous effort it took to construct the dam, as well as its role in killing the world's largest waterfall (by volume), the Guaira by name. Still, I think this dam works is the main supplier of electricity for Brazil (or is it for both Brazil and Paraguay?). Anyway, you at least got to see those stunning falls and hearing the roar from 10 miles away. . .now that's loud. I wonder what the silt aggradation problem is behind the dam wall! Anyway, if you have some pre-dam Glen Canyon camping experience to share, please do. I collect that stuff like some people save old National Geographic's. Just send to my email via my profile. Anything that has to do with Glen Canyon before her deluge is right up or down my street. Thanks, again, for your comments and the intrigue of this stunning dam, even if one doesn't normally appreciate such structures. This dam, however, is truly epic.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:02:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you so much for this piece, (0+ / 0-)

    and, indeed, for the entire Tetrology.  A remarkable series.

    •  AND I THANK YOU. . . (1+ / 0-)

      for your thanks, Its the Supreme Court Stupid (must be something interesting behind your handle, eh?). In the future, I will choose other topics that won't take so much time and space to explain; the Glen Canyon diatribe, however, does take time. I am happy you found the material worth your time and aging while reading it.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:00:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gems Lost (0+ / 0-)

    Excellent article and stunning photos.  Reading this brought back the deep sadness I felt last summer when visiting Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite.  Thanks for sharing!

    •  Thank you. . . (0+ / 0-)

      Godspeed448 for your nice compliments. As for the Hetch Hetchy, yep, another great valley setting flooded; destroyed by damming. . .yada, yada. I believe Reisner touched on this subject, too, in his "Cadillac Desert." Then again, look how those water thieves throughout the LA Basin went to work on divvying up the water, starting with Mulholland. And, yes, deep sadness, indeed, given the usual tract and thinking of damming and the damage goods sold under necessary water management. Blah!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:04:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

    for sharing this diary with us...absolutely gorgeous!

    ...inspiration moves me brightly

    by wbr on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:11:06 AM PST

    •  and I thank you. . . (0+ / 0-)

      for your comment5, wbr. It has been an honor sharing these diaries with you and all the rest of the Daily Kos community. I never anticipated such a gracious reception. Guess there are many others out there who also love the environment and have a distaste for ruing one landscape feature by feigning another. In this case, the lake setting inside Glen Canyon that should have never happened.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:34:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, Joe Bob, Mimikatz, Alfred E Newman, Alma, Mogolori, samizdat, copymark, Roger Lamb, PeterHug, tommurphy, Pescadero Bill, Jay C, mslat27, willyr, elfling, RumsfeldResign, justme, cskendrick, CalNM, themank, cosmic debris, oceanview, corncam, navajo, high uintas, emmasnacker, Boppy, HeyMikey, lcrp, walkshills, ybruti, JayDean, Deward Hastings, jcrit, Emmy, xxdr zombiexx, ExStr8, marina, subtropolis, Independent Musings, elkhunter, Simplify, terrypinder, Laurence Lewis, Pam from Calif, where4art, jeeugena, Prison4Bushco, wbr, LivesInAShoe, turdraker, whirledpeas, Blue Bronc, xaxnar, Jim R, begone, Mother Mags, martini, Sanuk, Ranchita, PianoGuy, cookseytalbott, fromer, Magnifico, Naniboujou, erratic, Rosaura, tapestry, Fox Ringo, unclebucky, middleagedhousewife, BlueMississippi, sea note, Aaa T Tudeattack, BentLiberal, old wobbly, Habitat Vic, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, newpioneer, SeaTurtle, Assaf, jwinIL14, revm3up, flowerfarmer, greenalley, chakadog, lineatus, lavorare, TomFromNJ, envwq, mofembot, luckylizard, auctor ignotus, Uncle Bob, rhutcheson, shortgirl, lissablack, jlms qkw, robbinsdale radical, savano66, Rhysling, Neon Vincent, greengemini, John Ely, Don Enrique, tari, Methinks They Lie, Zotz, earicicle, sfarkash, Leftcandid, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, Polly Syllabic, Man from Wasichustan, melfunction, Oh Mary Oh, fiercefilms, Onomastic, the mom in the middle, Hayduke Lives, ozsea1, slowbutsure, implicate order, BlueJessamine, Eclectablog, asterkitty, princesspat, marleycat, akmk, essjay, ImpactAv, chira2, VTCC73, disconnect the dots, Regina in a Sears Kit House, truthhurtsaz, RhodaA, anodnhajo, DrLori, Dave in AZ, CA ridebalanced, carolanne, Olkate, burnt out, notdarkyet, lollol, arizonablue, wasatch, Windowpane, nomandates, jbob, PHScott, Ree Zen, The NM STAR Group, OceanDiver, Laura G, drnatrl, emileen

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site