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Posts Tagged ‘Kaibab National Forest’

 

The Vermilion Cliffs -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Vermilion Cliffs — Photo by Pat Bean

“When in doubt, wear red.” Bill Blass

            “Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” – Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Red, Black and Green

If you’re driving north from Flagstaff to Zion National Park’s east entrance, you have a choice of two routes, Highway 89 or Highway 89A. Both are scenic. The first will take you up past Lake Powell and the second past the Vermilion Cliffs and the Kaibab National Forest.

Just red for miles and miles. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Just red for miles and miles. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve driven both many times, but since I was going to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, my only choice was to take 89A, which is where I passed over the Colorado River via Navajo Bridge.

Red is the dominant color of the scenery as you pass by the Vermilion Cliffs, which are the second step-up in the five-step Grand Staircase of the Colorado Plateau. These red-rock escarpments dominate the landscape for miles in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.

I cannot pass by them without looking up toward the blue sky, however. The Vermilion Cliffs was one of the release sights for returning California condors to the wild, The population of these nearly 10-foot wing-span giants dwindled to a population of only 22 birds in 1987, all of which were in zoos or sanctuaries. By the end of 2014, thanks to efforts to save this endangered species by we humans, California condors numbered over 400, of which half had been released back to the wild.

One of the condors soaring once again in the wild. Note the attached number on its wings.  -- Wikimedia photo

One of the condors soaring once again in the wild. Note the attached number on its wings. — Wikimedia photo

I didn’t see one soaring high in the sky this day, but several years ago, I saw two flying overhead in nearby Zion National Park. Since I had followed the first condor born in captivity in 1983, when I had placed the story and a photo of the hatchling on the front page of the newspaper I was working for at the time, it was a triumphant moment for this birdwatcher, as well as a monument to the efforts of the human race for saving a species from extinction, whose cause of near death had been the pesticide DDT.

I was still reflecting on this momentous achievement, when the red of the landscape turned to green. In the last few miles, the highway had left the red cliffs to zigzag up in elevation until I found myself surrounded on both sides by the green of pines, spruces, oaks and firs that thrive in the Kaibab National Forest .

But I would have to climb higher, still, to find the golden aspens I sought. … To be continued. 

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Winter Syntax http://tinyurl.com/q6wb5ct As a writer and nature lover, I found this blog’s poetry appealing.

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