Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lee's Ferry and Lonely Dell Ranch

On our last trip south to Mesa, Arizona we made a second stop to stretch our legs and take in the beauty and history of the Southwest.  For some time we have watched the trucks and large machinery going in and out on the road to Lee's Ferry.  The road from 89A into Lee's Ferry has been completely redone and Glen wanted to check it out.  The new road is wonderful with pull outs for scenery viewing and hiking.  It is definitely worth the drive in as well as out for the beautiful views.

Lee's Ferry used to be the main and easiest crossing of the Colorado River.  Without the Navajo Bridge built to the south and Glen Canyon Dam  and bridge to the north, Lee's Ferry would continue to be the main crossing of the Colorado River.  The Colorado River creates a deep chasm known as the Grand Canyon as it travels southward and then west.

Some parts of the original buildings at the crossing still stand.

It is easy to tell from whence the building materials were found.

The Vermilion Cliffs have provided.

Glen framed by an old window frame.

Doorways were wide as well.

Scarce materials were used judiciously as in these roof timbers.

Mining also occurred at this out of the way place.

Equipment from the mining days of the early 1900's remains strewn about.

The mining for gold took place in 1914.

It is a lovely quiet place with a walking trail that takes one further upriver.

And upriver was the location of the ferry.

We felt fortunate that we were here near the end of day during that magic light time as the sun goes down.

It was easy to see why this place would be the easiest for crossing the river.

We walked back to the car . . .

as orange and pink turned to shadow.


We drove back out to the turn off to the Lonely Dell Ranch.

The cliffs to the south were not as tall and the magic light reappeared.

I can hardly imagine being so far from others with just the occasional traveler for company. Emma Lee, wife of John D. Lee of the Mountain Meadow Massacre fame, lived here with her family during the 1870's.

The ranch sits at the base of Paria Canyon next to the Paria River which empties into the Colorado.  Through the use of irrigation systems using the river they were able to survive.

Emma Lee was a brave woman.

Later quarters were built for guests and workers.

But the original shelters were humble.

The short walk in is worth the history and beauty.

As we traveled on the new road back to 89A, the sun cast its last rays on the Vermilion Cliffs.

It was the day's last hurrah, or almost last hurrah.  We also were rewarded a most colorful sky as we wound our way south across the Navajo Reservation.

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