On a beautiful warm August afternoon we had been admiring the southern part of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Such a beautiful display of colors. It was a feast for the eyes and the imagination. Luckily the road was open, as the rains from the previous days had closed the road with car sized boulders being washed into the highway. The ability of water to move huge rocks is amazing. My the forces of mother nature are incredible. We were on the north side of the Grand Canyon and the crossings of the great canyon and the Colorado river are few.
Marble Canyon is one such crossing. There is a modern bridge for automotive traffic, and just to the north of that arch bridge is Navajo Bridge. Built in 1927-29 it spans over 800 feet and over 460 feet about the Colorado. An impressive feat at the time to be sure. Wide enough for a single car or wagon, it is now only user for foot traffic. The Navajo bridge was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1981. Later in 1998 the Navajo Bridge was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The location was indeed remote in 1927 and to consider the feat of getting all the parts to this location and get them assembled, well, it can boggle the mind. The view from the bridge gives vistas both up and down the canyon.
The river rafters glide slowly down the river tracing parts of Powell’s historic journey. I walked halfway across the bridge took lots of pictures and started back towards the car and the visitor center. I then received a call from my wife,. ‘Come over the bridge there are condors.’ she said excitedly. Well I turned around and went to the far side and there were three condors observing the tourists observing them. Some might not know that the Condor is a very curious bird that want to know about you as much as you want to know about him. The ranger stated that attempts to get the birds to move on have been unsuccessful, so to our benefit we were able to indulge in a close encounter of the 3 birds. The birds were marked and had radio tracking transmitters.
As the condor neared extinction, special programs have saved the species,at least for now. It is a jaw dropping event to get so close to the largest bird in North America and just be amazed. Our trip to the Vermilion Cliffs and marble Canyon was wonderful. Our day of the three condors was a very memorable experience. Now it is off to Flagstaff as the adventures continue.