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The View From My Office

by Bryan on March 17th, 2012

The Daily Wing returns today after my lovely hiatus backpacking in the Grand Canyon and birding in the Intermountain West region of Idaho. I report today, my birthday, from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, where I’m spending a week catching up on writing and office work. The view from my office reaches 1.8 billion year into the Precambrian, where the Colorado River cuts through dark Vishnu Schist and rosy Zoroaster Granite (just barely visible behind the butte and the platform at the lower left of this photo). Stacked above – in sedimentary layers of red, brown, ochre, almond and countless blends – is a portrait of the region’s hot and heavy history: the collision of tectonic plates, the advance and retreats of great oceans and deserts, volcanic eruptions. It’s a story expressed in the sediments left behind and later exposed by the Colorado River (among other great forces of nature) over the course of the last six million years or so.

My tent is perched atop the remains of an ancient ocean, the uppermost layer in the photo above, the 250-million-year-old, fossil-rich Kaibab Limestone here at the South Rim. It’s my home for the next six days. Each morning, in a forest of Ponderosa Pine, Pinyon Pine and Utah Juniper, frenetic Pygmy Nuthatches greet me with squeaky calls. Mountain Bluebirds counter with simple elegance. But you’re seeing the calm before the storm. One to two feet of snow is on its way. The epic begins tonight with high winds and driving rain turning to snow. I could awake to a foot. The saga of snow continues through Monday. It should be an interesting couple of days. But I’ve been waiting years to photograph a storm at the rim. And I’ve got the serious camera gear with me this trip. This is the first of three blog posts today on my whereabouts over the past month. The second, from Idaho, is below. Stay tuned for the third.

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