Near the Vermilion Cliffs.
In 2004, in the autumn, I took a road trip in Arizona with my Jeep. The idea was to duplicate a trip I’d taken the year before in my little helcopter. On that trip, I’d flown around the Grand Canyon airspace (which is highly regulated) with stops at Page and Bar 10 Ranch. Mike was supposed to go with me, but there were some difficulties with the dog, who he insisted on bringing, so the two of them flew back to the Grand Canyon where he’d left his truck, leaving me to finish the trip alone.
On the second day of the trip, I left Page and headed out toward Marble Canyon on the Colorado River, just downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam. It was early morning and the sun was casting a golden light over the landscape. I saw this abandoned Navajo homestead on the west side of the road with the Vermilion Cliffs in the background. It was a really beautiful sight, one certainly worth a photograph.
But I didn’t stop to take the picture.
The rest of the trip, I thought about this scene and wished I’d taken the picture. Days later, after filling my Jeep with dust on the 60-mile dirt road between Fredonia and Toroweap and the 85-mile dirt road from Bar 10 Ranch to St. George, UT, I made my way back to Page where I spent the night again. This time, when I left early in the morning, I made a detour back to this spot and took the photo I wished I’d taken on day 2. It was worth it.
The Vermilion Cliffs, which were obviously named for their color, are on the far eastern end of the Grand Canyon. When you drive to the North Rim from Page, you drive along a road that runs near their base. When I flew at the Grand Canyon and did the eastern end tour, I’d often point out the cliffs to my passengers.
If you’re a pilot and want to explore the southwest with your airplane or helicopter, you can land at one of two airports not far from the road. My favorite is Marble Canyon because it’s right across the street from a motel and restaurant, making it an ideal place to stop for a meal or the night. In fact, when I made my helicopter trip in 2003, that’s where I spent the night after filling up with fuel at Page.
Arizona, Navajo, photo