October 7, 2014 – Day 3
A thin layer of clouds passes through the night and continues to build throughout the next day. We wake to a brilliant sunrise over the red cliffs.
After breakfast we take the power boat to the end of the canyon to look for the Navajo Steps.
Although we think we find the route to the steps, the water level is too low to get the boat into the channel and the way around the cliff face is just a touch too steep to easily contour the bank on foot.
Instead we walk along the cliff above the bay.
After lunch we explore Forbidding Canyon and the famed Rainbow Bridge. The day is decidedly overcast with a chance of rain. Forbidding Canyon is more stunning than any of us imagined it would be.
A narrow passageway between incredible rounded red cliffs that seem to flow into the deep channel waters. Cliffs are shorn off, rising several hundred vertical feet above the water and streaked with mineral leachings. The landscape looks as if it was purposely sculpted by the hand of an artist rather than being the haphazard work of forces of nature.
At the end of the passageway helpful signs mark the way. We find the floating dock that marks the entrance to the national park.
It’s an easy mile walk on a wide gentle trail to Rainbow Bridge. An impressive sight, it is the largest such bridge in the word. It’s classified as a bridge rather than an arch because bridges are formed by water while arches are formed by wind.
The area is sacred to the local Indians and they ask that you do not walk under the bridge.
Although a blanket of clouds makes it doubtful that we will be able to see the total of eclipse of the moon this night, sleeping on the upper deck we wake frequently to check the weather and the progress of the eclipse. Surprisingly as the hour draws near there is a break in the clouds and the moon magically appears. We observe the progression of the eclipse through a thin layer of clouds that blurs the moon but does not obscure our view. As the shadow of the earth blocks the light the moon turns a reddish color. Just as the moon falls completely in shadow the clouds move in and blocks our view. The moon remains in darkness for the rest of the night.