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Derek von Briesen | profile | all galleries >> Into the Grand: 12 Days on the River - April, 2008 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Into the Grand: 12 Days on the River - April, 2008





Twelve incredible days on the Colorado River, floating in the grandest of canyons. Twelve days on the river . . . so much to shoot, physical demanding, overwhelming the senses, almost too much beauty, and never enough time.

First part of our trip took us thru Marble Canyon, with its towering Supai red rock sandstone and Redwall limestone walls glowing red, brilliantly juxtaposed against the emerald green Colorado. Legendary North Canyon, the Nankoweap Granaries and River Vista Trail, Redwall Cavern, Vasey's Paradise, the confluence with the LIttle Colorado: all treats that come in this most beautiful length of river miles in the entire canyon.

After the incredibly beautiful but cold (30s at night w/ wind!) journey thru the Marble Canyon icebox, we passed the spring thaw-rich Little Colorado and our emerald green Colorado turned a muddy tan. With the westerly turn of the river, the days warmed and we entered the inner gorge, a passageway of incredible geological wonders like 1.7 billion year old Vishnu Schist and dozens of full thrill, E ticket rapids like Hance, Sockdolager, the Gems, Crystal and such!! As they say on the river, you're either hot & dry or wet & cold, no matter that it's creeping toward the 90s midday!! Our early April bounty also included hillsides festooned with bright yellow brittlebush in absolutely perfect bloom that went on for a hundred river miles. The recent Glen Canyon Dam flood release meant beautiful, fresh soft sand on all the camping beaches.

The photo opps on this stretch aren't as frequent or as stunning; they probably are but both times I've been on the river, this stretch is run quickly, making miles, enjoying the thrills and spills, getting into the rhythm of loading and unloading, camping, teamwork, skies at night, big horn sheep in incredible places, running the river.

From a purely photographic standpoint, the last third of a Grand Canyon river trip is the richest. Here we came to the land of the amazing side canyons. Five days straight we hiked up incredibly beautiful, sculpted sandstone canyons with waterfalls, reflections and extraordinary light bounced from the towering cliffs above. Places like Elves Chasm, Blacktail Canyon, Deer Creek, Matkatamiba Canyon, Havasu Creek and National Canyon become indelibly imprinted on the brain and in your heart. Quite simply a feast for the soul.

Enjoy . . .