Horseshoe Bend

Vertigo at Horseshoe Bend by Chris Dacus

My Vertigo Moment at Horseshoe Bend

Page, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near Page, Arizona. The edge of the cliff is 4,200 feet above sea level and the Colorado River is at 3,200 feet above sea level making it a breathtaking 1,000 foot drop. Keep in mind that there are no guardrails and no overlook. There were hundreds of people at the cliff’s edge at this sunset. You just casually walk on the giant plateau until suddenly the abyss opens up under your feet. You breath is taken away, and even the bravest of us feel dizzy and weak for a moment. To get this photograph, I mounted the camera on a tripod and extended the tripod over the cliff edge. I get a strong sense of vertigo and inspiration to jump whenever I am at a cliff....weird combination for sure.
Long ago, as the river meandered southward toward the sea, it always chose the steepest downward slope. This downward journey did not always occur in a straight line, and sometimes the river made wide circles and meanders. As the Colorado Plateau uplifted about 5 million years ago, the rivers that meandered across the ancient landscape were trapped in their beds. The rivers cut through the rock, deep and fast, seeking a new natural level. Here at Horseshoe Bend, the Colorado River did just that, and as the river cut down through the layers of sandstone, it created a 270° horseshoe-shaped bend in the canyon.

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