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Fine art nature photograph of Havasu Falls silky water during daytime with blue water, in Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

Peace Like a River


Havasu Falls after a 10-mile backpack, I couldn’t believe my eyes. How could there be such a place on earth? I stood spellbound for several minutes as I gazed into the magnificent scene, forgetting I had a 55-lb pack on my back. Eventually, I set my pack down and sat, drinking in deeply from the scene. Refreshed, I slung my pack back on and headed down into the canyon to set up camp. I wanted an early start the next morning, so I could capture the falls during sunrise.


It wasn’t until weeks later after I had developed the film and had seen what I captured did I know the gift I had been given. I knew I had been given a little piece of heaven and had to share it with others. Havasu Falls, once a part of Grand Canyon National Park, is now under the rightful ownership of the Havasupai Tribe. This Eden-like oasis can be accessed by a 10-mile backpack through the harsh desert with the reward of a swim in the falls’ pool.


Havasu Creek is mainly fed by a spring from which area precipitation percolates through cracks in the area limestone. As the water flows over the limestone, above and below ground, it breaks down the limestone into tiny crystals which get suspended in the water.


Depending on the amount of sunlight and abundance of the tiny crystals in the water, they can reflect a fantastic blue or turquoise color. The tiny crystals are also responsible for the unusual rock formation, travertine, which redeposits itself on whatever is in its path, encrusting moss, ferns, and/or trees. As rock, travertine can appear pink, red, brown, or rust.

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