"Yavapai Point Eastern Panorama"
January 2010, Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Three successive massive winter storms had pummeled the Grand Canyon during the past 5 days. The record snowfall that they left in their wake had closed interstates 40 and 17, eliminating access to the park. I had snuck in just hours before the closure earlier in the week.
I awoke at dawn in my motel room at the south rim. I looked out the window and saw that the heavy overnight snowfall from storm #3 had finally begun to subside. My Xterra was unrecognizable, buried along with the 2 or 3 other cars in the motel's mostly deserted parking lot. I went to work clearing the snow off my vehicle and excitedly drove to the rim. The snow plows were already hard at work, clearing the roads for the few of us fortunate enough to be there.
I arrived at the enormous Yavapai Point parking lot, one of the few viewpoints the park service kept plowed. There were no cars there - none. I had seen Yavapai packed with hundreds of cars on numerous occasions. This was surreal. I got out of my Xterra, donned my heavy backpack and began the 1/4 mile hike out to the overlook. The parking lot may have been plowed, but the pathway to the overlook wasn't. A wicked coat of ice lay beneath the deep snow, so every step was carefully chosen. I finally arrived at the viewpoint after a surprisingly difficult 20 minute hike.
As I stood out on the overlook the wind took notice and showed its displeasure at my intrusion. It was bitterly cold, and the exposed vantage point upon which I stood could do nothing to abate the force of the wind. I set up my camera gear and waited for the right opportunity. I was in no hurry as I stared out over the astonishing landscape that lay before me. It was changing minute by minute as the wind pushed the clouds through the sky. Finally the wind relented, as though acknowledging defeat. It became perfectly quiet, and I began to shoot. After firing off several rounds I ceased from photography and took in the scene, spellbound by the experience. The silence was deafening.
About 45 minutes later I saw 2 people approaching up the walkway. I decided that it was getting too crowded so I headed back to my truck. Thus began January 23, 2010, one of the most memorable days of photography I would ever experience.
ArizonaGrand CanyonPanoramaSnowSouthwestern USAStormStorm CloudsStormy SkyWinterYavapai Point