Monday, May 27, 2024



Following the paper trail of University of New Mexico Professor Karl E Karlstrom led me to some recent work that highlights the singular importance of the western Grand Canyon in wrestling with that most important of Grand Canyon chesnuts: How old is it? When did it take shape? Is it one big dig or a collection of ditches? 1964 saw elder geology statesman, E. McKee, take a lead in a significant symposium. Sixty years later, Dr. Karlstrom, an intimate and expert researcher and analyst of the Canyon, is leading the debate in marshaling the evidence for a young Canyon, and using, which is what interests me, data from the western end.

 The least-publicly known is the youngest geologically? Fascinating! There are several papers for the brave curious to search out. I have freely, but I hope not stupidly, cut and pasted pieces in order to focus in on the importance of the western end of the Grand Canyon as its youngest section and thus determiner of "how old" the Canyon is.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

A Grand Canyon Diamond Anniversary Is Approaching


January 3 1975. President Ford puts his signature on Public Law 93-620 and at a stroke doubles the Grand Canyon National Park, extending it to include the Grand Canyon's entire length from the Paria River junction through mile 277 to its western end at the Grand Wash Cliffs, marked by a Paiute Butte on the north, and a Hualapai on the south.

Simultaneously, that Law repatriated to the Havasupai, millenial residents of the Grand Canyon, 195,000 acres of its ancestral lands, while securing their traditional rights to 100,000 more such acres in the adjacent National Park.

Here is a representation of the official map of P.L. 93-620. It shows the Park being extended upstream to the Paria, and downstream from the 1932 Monument. On the south, in the center, the cross-hatching shows the Havasuapai lands, repatriated and traditional use.

This was a huge step toward the recognition of the Greater Grand Canyon that reached another climax in 2023 when President Biden proclaimed Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni National Monument in conjunction with the Associated Tribes of the Grand Canyon: Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, Southern Paiute, Navajo, Zuni, Yavapai-Apache.

This Diamond Anniversary pre-eminently deserves to be celebrated for righting the century-old Havasupai dispossession while educating the American nation to the rights, and a major, long grievous wrong done to one of the First Peoples of our continent.

During the 1972-75 legislative effort -- right up to the day of Ford's action--, the Havasupai struggle had to continue -- a struggle I have personal knowledge of and experience in. Over the decades since, the Havasupai have made clear (at least to me, a Park defender) the correctness of finally recognizing in national law their ancestral homeland as their permanent property.

Moreover, that 1975 action finalized a signficant turning point in our continuing great national environmental endeavor: to shift our views and actions about how to live on, not just the Greater Grand Canyon, but the entire Earth; -- this planet that even today we cannot bring ourselves whole-heartedly and whole-headedly (much less with our whole pocketbook) to protect from the ravages of human civilizing activities culminating in our times in the intensifying unpredictability and variation in the world-wide climate.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Exploring how the Grand Canyon ends


From the Westernmost High Point, the view sweeps down and out, over the Sanup Plateau, reaching its farther edge some seven miles west where it drops 3500' in 1 1/2 - 2 miles to the water surface (of the reservoir or river, depending). That drop is a geological lesson, as shown in this piece of the 1982 edition of the stupendous, irreplaceable map done in the 1970's by Peter Huntoon and George Billingsley. (For orientation, keep track of that triangular flat in the middle at the top.)

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Grand Canyon's West Exit Landmarks


There is general agreement to use River Mile 277 as the length of the Grand Canyon. The actual location for RM 277 has changed, and it is appropriate to determine landmarks near the Colorado River that make it easy, topographically and geologically, to recognize an end point, the exit from the Grand Canyon. 

(Note: The boundary of Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) in this western end includes lands that are not in the Canyon’s drainage, but flow further west into Lake Mead.) 

Fortunately, such landmarks do exist, and can be tied into the landforms that delineate the divides on the north and south sides of the river for the final drainages into the Canyon.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

HI and the Grand Canyon



My comments stimulated by J. Winterson’s essay (see down below) from 11/12/23 “Guardian” book section, essays on AI:

Should we not call this AI, not alternative, but inorganic-based or non-organic-based, intelligence: IBI, NOBI, …? The major point JW makes, with which I fully agree (and it is never more clear than during the present war horrors, is that our meat-based intelligence, grounded on our planet-wide male-dominance-developed world, is a failure. It is not a question of whether “we” will destroy ourselves, our world:— we DO, ARE, HAVE, destroy, destroying, destroyed. And even though we know what to do to avoid various complete destructions, we go on destroying it; making heating-up choices, for instance affecting the world’s weather systems, many of us glorying in our ability to sneer at predictions,, making up alternative fictions to allow us to continue doing just as we are, as we please. 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Exploring the Canyon's Far West: Photos of a Walk


Below is the piece of B.L.M.'s Arizona Strip map that shows the W.H.P. and surrounding territory -- what we walked through, and what we could see from the WHP, which has the red oval around it (it is in the Canyon and the Park). The red dot northwest of the WHP is Snap Point. It marks the Park boundary, but is not in the Canyon -- the green line marks the drainage divide for the local Canyon side canyons (Parashant, Whitmore, and east).

Monday, October 23, 2023

Exploring the Grand Canyon's West End

                                            EXPLORING THE /\ GRAND CANYON’S WEST END

Finally, after a number of tries, I was enabled by friends and favorable circumstances to travel to the Grand Canyon’s far west end and visit its Westernmost High Point (WHP).

The WHP is a thin,well-shaped projection (point, peninsula) that is the last piece of the Canyon’s upper rim plateaus. It is on the right here, marked WHP. Its high point is at the southern-pointing end, with the red arrow running down, and marked vividly by the red Hermit Formation below. Due west, and sitting on the big bend of the Colorado, River Mile 277 marks the defined and topographic end of the Grand Canyon. Here is a striking view of the southern piece of the WHP vividly set amidst the Hermit shale:

[The boundary of the Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) is another story, since at about R.M. 277 (see next map), it (pink) turns north to Pearce Canyon, and then goes east to Snap Point -- both of these features are north of the Grand Canyon.] 


The great plateaus around much of the 277-mile-long Canyon provide the viewing platforms for the overwhelming majority of visitors. Here is a regional view from the always-useful AAA Indian Country map. Our trip's starting point, Flagstaff, is off the map at the lower right. 

Driving north to go over upper Marble Gorge, then along the state line, then south from Utah on unpaved roads took us down across the Arizona Strip to the Canyon's Western High Point (X). It is about 3 miles south of Snap Point, which marks GCNP's legal boundary but is not itself in the Grand Canyon. 


As a point most remote to get to, the WHP is hardly one of the normal views. Seeing into the Canyon from it required, in addition to that day’s long drive, 2-3 miles of brushy, near-wild walk south from the road. This month, October 2023, the CIMR WHP exploration expedition achieved that goal, including the photos shown in part 2, the next blog entry.* 

*CIMR group comprised these I will be ever grateful to: Hazel Clark and Tom Martin, Missy Rigg.