The Escalante Route: The Unkar Delta Overlook
Grand Canyon National Park

March 29, 2006

full screen panorama: 1.2 MB

The Escalante Route was to be the high point of this hike, visiting the dramatic Unkar Delta Overlook, where a wall punges hundreds of feet directly to the Colorado River from your vantage point, and opens on the far shore to the delta of Unkar Creek, full of the footpaths of the Anasazi, who maintained settlements in the delta for centuries.

Wednesday, the day of the visit to the overlook, was rainy and unpromising. My camera stayed out of the rain in my pack for the two hours it took to reach the overlook, but just as I reached it the sun peeked out for just long enough to take this panorama, and I was grateful to the gods for their act of kindness. And amazingly, as the day progressed, even though the clouds and rain filled most of the day, each time I reached a dramatic panorama point the clouds would part and the sun would shine just long enough for me to capture a panorama. I felt that I was either amazingly lucky or amazingly blessed.

But the gods struck down my pride soon enough. The next day the microdrive disk in my camera, containing all the wonderful Escalante Route panoramas from the day before, crashed and died, and I feared the panoramas were lost. But immediately on my return to Austin, I scoured the net for flash drive image recovery software, and poked and prodded the drive for several days to yield up the images. Finally, after several attempts and purchase of two separate image recovery programs, I recovered nearly all the images from the drive and the panoramas were safe.

This panorama, taken at the overlook, is striking for the maroon color of the Hataki Shale, which forms the overlook, and the golden grass growing on its slopes. The temples and buttes of the North Rim, across the river, are still shrouded in the storm clouds of a squall that had just passed, while the Palisades of the Desert and Commanche Peak, at the foot of which I camped the night before at Tanner Rapids, are just appearing as the clouds break.

A fine moment indeed.