one day at a time…
Monday, 06 June 2004

Pix Of The Day: Echo Notch On The Kaibito Plateau
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Page-Flagstaff road, Arizona, USA. WHAT: extreme road engineering.
MAP: Kaibito Plateau [PDF format]. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Echo Notch © Ian Scott ParkerThe physical geography of the Colorado Plateaus presents an enormous challenge to travellers. The mighty Colorado River has been a barrier from the time of the first Euroamerican exploration of the Plateaus in 1776, by a party of ten led by two Spanish Franciscan priests, Francisco Atanasio Dominguez & Silvestre Velez Escalante. In 1929 the Navajo Bridge was opened, and in 1959 the Glen Canyon Bridge was completed, to allow building of the new town of Page, and the Glen Canyon Dam. The rivers, and their entrenched canyons, are not the only obstructions that have to be overcome in the plateaus region: transitions between plateau levels are often delineated by lines of high cliffs.

The road from Page, where the Colorado River crosses the Utah border southwards into Arizona, must step down from the Kaibito Plateau, through the Echo Cliffs to the level of the Painted Desert above the Colorado River and Little Colorado River. These are Navajo Nation and Hopi Nation ancestral lands [large 1.5Mb web page].

Today's picture, taken from the road east of Marble Canyon and the Navajo Bridge, shows the notch used by the highway engineers to navigate that route. The notch has been deepened by blasting, and is now about twice its original size. From there the road then descends steeply to the right, across the face of the cliffs. The color of the rocks changes from milk chocolate brown under the noon sun, to a deeper color in the late afternoon. This caused early Euroamerican explorers to name the escarpment on the opposite bank of the Colorado River the Vermilion Cliffs. Unable to find the correct name, we have called this place the Echo Notch on the Kaibito Plateau.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)