Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Quiet on the Rim

Bright Angel Point
It was nothing short of ridiculous to wedge this driving trip into an already busy April.  Then again, this was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  We were invited to visit a friend who’s a Ranger at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon before the park actually opened for the season on May 15.  See what I mean?

San Francisco Peaks framed by storm clouds
Imagine; we saw maybe 5 people during the couple of days we were there.  The deserted lodge felt post-apocalyptic.  The parking lot was empty.  We were alone on the trails.

Perhaps the best part, though, was the weather.  April is an odd time for storm light, but we got lucky.

The mobile office (Four Wheel Camper) on the edge of Marble Canyon
After a couple of days there, we dropped down to the Marble Canyon area for more solitude, more storm light, and warmer temps.  Nothing resets the chaos in my head like solitude and quiet.  Sometimes all I could hear was the swish of Ravens’ wings and the roar of the rapids on the Colorado River below.

Marble Canyon View
Maybe the images will bring you a little closer to a peaceful place.  There are more in the Grand Canyon Gallery on

Friday, April 3, 2015

Camper Addiction

The plan was to meet some photo friends for a new adventure near Winslow AZ (that’s the ‘Standing on the Corner’ place) on Monday.  I was having some serious camper withdrawal, so I decided to camp up there Sunday and Monday night.

Homolovi II Ruins
The first stop was Homolovi State Park, created in 1993 to protect some ancient Pueblo Indian sites.  Apparently people were digging into the ruins with a backhoe.  The largest pueblo contains 1200 rooms, though only a few have been excavated enough to appreciate.  I sat on the hill imagining life there 1000 years ago, above the Little Colorado River.  It’s a nice neighborhood.

That being said, the park is not so photographer-friendly.  The roads to the two ruin sites are open only from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  I wish there had been an opportunity to photograph there at dawn and dusk, as well as at night.

Mr Baird
Monday morning I met my friends at La Posada Hotel in Winslow and we drove an hour or so through open country south of town to the Rock Art Ranch.  Brantley Baird and his daughter do tours by reservation only on the Ranch.  The barn has been converted into a museum with everything from old tack to musical instruments.  Mr. Baird dug ancient pots on the property as a boy, and several of these as well as arrowheads and other artifacts are on display.  These days he has made arrangements with archeologists to properly study the area.

After the ranch tour, we drove overland in a caravan, stopping at a partially reconstructed demonstration village and a petroglyph site which features a map.  This last feature is apparently quite unusual, and seems to have been placed to direct travelers to a permanent source of water.

Chevelon Canyon and the picnic deck
Finally we reached the section of Chevelon canyon famous for the density and well-preserved state of its petroglyphs.  We spent several hours down in the canyon and had picnic lunches on the (somewhat incongruous) cantilevered covered deck.

Dense Petroglyphs
The plan had been to go back to the State Park for the night, but I was delighted that Mr. Baird gave me permission to camp there on the edge of the canyon.  There’s a certain presence to this place which I didn’t fully appreciate until everyone else had gone.  Many times while watching the afternoon light change on the rim of the canyon, I thought I heard voices below.  It could have been the wind, or perhaps it was something more mysterious.

Under the Milky Way
The moon went down at 3:30AM, so I was up at 4:00 shooting the stars in my jammies, marveling at my good fortune camping in this unparalleled place.

After I locked the gate on my way out and called Mr. Baird as he had asked to let him know I was OK, I was on the road and wondering which of my friends might enjoy a visit to this sacred site.  The problem with camper addiction, of course, is that it’s never satiated for long.