Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA by Wade Thorson

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Picture Story

I am lucky enough to be able to make the trek to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with a few days notice. The canyon has been plagued by various events including drought, wildfires, water pump failures, and a worldwide pandemic. Facilities and entrance stations have been shuttered, and access restricted. The lodge and campground remained closed, and reservations cancelled for the remainder of this short season. I’ve been pining to make images during the monsoon at Cape Royal for a number of years, and had all but given up hope for this year.

I had been watching the weather for weeks with nothing but blue skies in the forecast. Normally summer in Northern Arizona blesses us with seasonal moisture that flows up from the oceans around Mexico. After a near record driest August in history, there was finally hope for a couple of days of rain.

I left home around noon, anticipating to reach the canyon well before sunset. The skies were clear and there was no hint of rain. Typically the rains develop in the afternoon, so I wasn’t going to be deterred. As I approached the park, clouds began to gather. I steered my camper van through the entrance gate, keeping my eyes on the sky. It was still forty-five minutes to the rim. As soon as I had pulled into the parking lot the heavens opened up! The rain came like a vengeance, blowing sideways. The few people that were there were scurrying back to their cars. I threw on my rain coat, stashed my camera underneath, grabbed my tripod and dashed head first to the rim.

I set up my tripod and began making shots of Wotan’s Throne surrounded by the most amazing atmospherics I had ever witnessed from that location, continuing until well after sunset.


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