On the eve before my tenth rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, I am typing this column in advance to meet my April 15th deadline. After checking the calendar, I was excited to see that I will be enjoying one of my favorite destinations in the park on the day this article gets posted. The spot I’m referring to is the magical junction where the milky-blue, spring-fed waters of the Little Colorado River merge with the frigid, dam-fed waters of the Colorado River.
I have been to the so called “Confluence” many times by boat and boot, as it can also be accessed by the rugged Tanner and Beamer Trails. The beauty and significance of this place always renders me speechless. The Confluence is sacred to many regional tribes, a favorite among river runners, and the entrance to what John Wesley Powell, leader of the first Grand Canyon river trip in 1869, named the Grand Canyon. This is a place where the cliffs seemingly soar to the heavens, and the canyon’s signature way of making one feel insignificant is magnified.
I’m sure in the midst of the relaxation and camaraderie, my fellow travelers and I will all feel the specter of plans by the Navajo Nation’s tribal government and private investors to build a tram from the rim down to this sacred place; a project named the Escalade. I will be taking plenty of photographs during my precious few hours at the Confluence, and sharing them in a future post. My hope now, and then, will be that these photographs show the world what stands to be lost if this project comes to fruition.
Read more about the Escalade plans on the Grand Canyon Trust site.