Arizona's Grand Vortex

March 19, 2015  •  3 Comments

This is Grand Falls on the Little Colorado River.  Or as we like to call it around these parts, The Niagara Falls of the Southwest.

 

 

Pretty sweet, huh?  It's one of the classic  landscapes to shoot in Northern Arizona, so of course when I saw that water levels were high I had to go out and practice my cliche waterfall shots.

 

 

Slow shutter speed.

 

 

Fast shutter speed.

 

 

Slow shutter speed.

 

 

Fast shutter speed.

 

 

Details.

 

 

Long shots.

 

 

Yeehaw, I score the coveted double cliche rainbow/waterfall shot.  But there's more to this scene than shown above.  Like this.

 

 

Yep, thar be a Pot o' Trash under that rainbow.  If we zoom back on our initial offering we can see this is no little trash pile.

 

 

The giant gray peninsula at the base of the falls is composed of driftwood, styrofoam, plastic bottles and so much more. 

 

 

In addition to numerous tires, coolers and the like, I counted 50 basketballs under the falls. 

 

Click play below to trip out.  (Hit your browser "back" button if needed to return to the post.)

 

 

Not only does it undulate, but unlike the vortices in Sedona, this vortex actually spins without drugs.

 

 

That's about three minutes in real time as is the clip below.

 

 

Arizona Daily Sun photographer Jake Bacon showed up to join the fun.  He reported seeing a new piece of trash fall from above about every minute.  But why let that spoil family fun time at the beach?  Here he takes a break from his Pulitzer Prize search to snap some Spring Break at the Beach shots of his daughter.

 

 

What's not to love?

 

 

I camped out there to shoot sunset and sunrise and had trouble sleeping.  My mind was racing with calculations of how to clean up a football field's worth of trash, haul it up to the canyon rim and dispose of it properly.  Just when I was about to call Sheriff Joe to get some convict labor, I ran into a young woman already engaged in an effort to organize a clean up.  Here's a link to the Grand Falls Clean Up Facebook page This Sunday is Round One.

 

Picking up and bagging the trash is the easy part (assuming the shore is cleaned up first and the floating vortex cleaned up when the water drops to a trickle later in the year - right now there is quicksand and tricky hydraulics making the in-water clean up risky).  Hauling it to the rim of the canyon will be very time-consuming without a crane.  Disposing of it?  Anyone got some landfill space they want to donate to the the cause?  All help will be much appreciated. 

 

 

Let's make Grand Falls grand again.

 


Comments

3.Steve Powell(non-registered)
I read about this in the Sun. Good effort by you guys. Wished I could have helped, but I am in SoCal
2.Cameron Clark(non-registered)
Way to expose this situation! Way to get involved. Ya'll are inspiring!
1.Damian Gebert(non-registered)
I bet you a Mickeys' and a box of Whoppers that someone pulls a fixed carpet out of that mess! I cannot make it to Az, but I will pick up more than my normal this weekend. Nice shots btw.
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