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Tuesday, 01 January 2019

The Last Wild Miles of Glen Canyon - Page 2

Written by Jim Chamberlain
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A fly fisherman casts his line into the deep blue water as his boat lies beached nearby. He must have come up from Lees Ferry to fish this isolated section of the river. Trout fishing here is considered excellent. There are no houses, marinas, or other human habitation in Glen Canyon as it is part of The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. A few rough campsites exist that require a steep hike down the cliffs or a boat.

Native Americans lived on the cliff tops and took steep and winding trails to the river. There are no cliff dwellings here even though it would have been an excellent spot for them. There are Petroglyphs left by these ancestral Puebloan people on a low canyon wall are a short walk from Petroglyph Beach at Mile 5. Drawings of Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Geometric shapes and Man were etched into the red canyon wall. Their age is unknown but could be hundreds to thousands of years old.

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6 miles into my journey, I glimpse the beginning of the famous 180 degree loop in the river called Horseshoe Bend. I stare up the steep rocky cliff at the apex of the bend. I can see dozens of people at the top looking down on the raft. They are just dark stick figures on top of the 1,000 foot cliff. I was up there earlier in the day at sunrise to photograph that iconic Arizona location.

The canyon is silent and peaceful as the raft makes it way around each new bend. A movement on the shore grabs my attention and I glimpse several gray four legged members of the sheep family, Desert Bighorns. They gaze at the boat as it glides by without any alarm then continue to graze on the riverside grasses. The river continues to twist and turn as it meanders past the steep walls of this last remaining section of Glen Canyon. A long narrow section of one wall contains a hidden arch called “Finger Arch” for its opening near the top of it that looks like bent finger.

The end of Waterholes Canyon comes into view on the south side. This is a hanging canyon that stretches 15 miles back toward Page, Az. Parts of it are so narrow it is considered a slot canyon.

A large swath of sand is visible downstream at the base of steep mountain side. The river takes me around another bend close by this large pale sandy hill. Grazing on the sparse vegetation is a small herd of wild horses. A young colt is among handful of animals that slowly wander across the hillside.

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Last modified on Saturday, 15 December 2018

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