DAYS 25-28 ......................................................................................................................................................... FROM LEES FERRY TO NEARLY TO CEDAR RIDGE

Friday, September 16, 2016

Times Square (Day 24)

"Geographically our 42nd and Broadway lies exactly in the center (the Colorado River Basin).  Like Times Square, it has its popular name, Lee's Ferry.  For nearly four centuries everybody has eventually showed up here at the confluence of the Colorado and the Paria."   Frank Waters 

September 25, 1884 - Badger Creek to Lee's Ferry
Day 24 of 44 - Week 4 (Day 5)
Badger Creek to Lee's Ferry = 10 Miles: Total Miles = 439
Total Trip Average Miles per Day = 18.3: Average Miles per Day - Week 4 = 13.6

Original Journal Entry (posted at right)
Thursday Sep. 25
Hitched up and drove to Lee's Ferry 10 miles Sandy half way - very many large Revines - arrived at the Big Colorado about 2 o'clock could not cross the river that night.  Paid $1.00 per span for lucern.

Final Journal Entry (Charles P Anderson Journal - p 6) Thursday Sept. 25.  Hitched up and drove to Lees Ferry 10 miles, sandy half way.  Arrived at the Big Colorado 2 o'clock.  Could not cross the (river) that night.  Paid $1.00 per span for feed.

On the five mile road to Lees Ferry

On September 25, 1884, like so many other pioneers who traveled to Arizona by wagon, the Anderson family also showed up at Lee's Ferry, which has been called the Grand Central Station of the southwest.  This was the only route for over 250 miles to cross the Colorado River and continue their journey in Arizona.

In Panguitch, Utah the Andersons had been told by Warren Johnson's wife not to worry they could cross at the lower ferry, but that was not to be.  In two days they would face the most difficult part of their journey over Lee's "backbone."

Just over three months earlier, June 12, 1884 the water level was seven feet higher than the ferryman had ever seen it, and it was still rising.  On June 18, 1884 the river peaked.  It almost reached the houses.  By July 7, the river had only receded two and one-half feet from its peak.  At that time, it was said it would be  later in  August before the lower site could be used.  Charles must have been grateful the river wasn't as bad as when William  Allen  had crossed.  No doubt William Allen had spoken of this when they they had arrived in Junction, Utah on September 14 (Day 13) and the Andersons had "received much information about the road." (C.P. Anderson Journal, Sep. 14). Apparently William's wife and children were so frightened of the precipitous road that they refused to ride in the wagon and got out and walked.  To make their distaste for the place complete, a strong wind heralding another storm, blew in as they crossed the river.  They did not feel safe until they landed on the right bank.  William Allen had been one of the original four captains of the 1876 migration and this was a representative climax to his trying Arizona adventure.  (Lee's Ferry by P.T. Riley P 99-100)  

Navajo Bridge
The original bridge was completed in 1929.  This new structure was completed in 1995. Click here for more information

The photo on the cover shows the still-under-construction Navajo Bridge which spans the Colorado River's Marble Canyon near Lees Ferry.  The bridge opened the following year.  A new Navajo Bridge opened in 1995, but the original bridge is still open to pedestrians.  The opening of this bridge signaled the end of an era.  Lee's Ferry was no longer needed.

Marble Canyon Trading Post and Dining Area

Road to Lee's Ferry

Enter the Lee's Ferry road by turning  off Hwy 89A (map above).  It is about a 5 miles drive to the Launch Ramp.  On your way you pass Cathedral Rock, Cathedral Wash (Canyon) and Balanced Rocks. The next blog will show the Launch Ramp, Lee's Ferry Historic District, Lonely Dell Ranch, and the surrounding area.
Entrance to the road for Lee's Ferry

Cathedral Rock, about one-half mile from Marble Canyon Lodge.
  Everyone who came to Lee's Ferry passed by this prominent rock
 - including Dominguez and Escalante.

Some interesting balanced rocks occur on the road to Lee's Ferry. The cliffs are being eroded by wind, frost and water.  The balanced rocks, called hoodoos, are formed by differential erosion -- the softer rock below erodes faster than the harder rock above.  The boulder on the pedestal is a roof protecting the soft rock underneath.  The water, wind, and sand abrasion will cut at the soft layer pedestal and eventually the boulder will fall.  The process will continue creating many more interesting rock structures until the hill is eroded away. (deseretusa.com)

Close up of  a balanced rock

Cathedral Wash Hikes

Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center

Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center

 Don't forget to visit the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Visitor's Center   

Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center

It was ten miles from Badger Creek to Lee's Ferry.  Once again  the journal and  google maps agree.  The routes taken by the pioneers and today must be very similar.  I can't see how a much different route could have been taken.

Tomorrow the Andersons will camp near the ferry.  The family with all the animals would not cross the Colorado River due to strong winds until
September 27, 1884.

But Charles was able to cross and see the "Backbone" that would become a challenge to them.  He would also go boat riding.  I have crossed the river several times to see the "Backbone."  Thanks to Tom Johnson, I have also been on a boat ride.  In the next blog we will "tour" the Lee's Ferry area, and see things the way they were, and also the way they are now.

Rowboats in the launch area.  The "Backbone is on the front cliff on
the right.  It is easy now to cross the river due to the Glen
Canyon Dam which releases water at controlled levels.

Crossing the river on the ferry.  Due to the wind the Andersons had to
wait another day to cross with the wagons and animals

The boat ride Tom Jensen, pictured here, took me on
was much different than what Charles went on in 1884.

This quote expresses my thoughts


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