one day at a time…
Thursday, 10 June 2004

Little Colorado River Crossings
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Cameron, Arizona, USA. WHAT: crossing the Little Colorado River.
MAP: Cameron. Thumbnail clicks [1][2][3] pop-up larger images.
Cameron Bridge 1 © Ian Scott ParkerCameron Bridge 2 © Ian Scott ParkerCameron Bridge 3 © Ian Scott Parker
As the LDS (Mormon) church, under its president Brigham Young, worked to enlarge occupation of what is now the southwest of the USA, scouts were despatched to find new areas that might be settled. Reports were made that the Little Colorado River Basin was suitable, and members of the church were 'called' as missionaries. One man in the first full party to make the journey gave his name to the crossing of the Little Colorado River, and to many other locations in the region.

The ford at Tanners Crossing has been superseded by a suspension bridge just downstream, opened in 1911. A trading post beside the bridge, founded by brothers Hubert & C.D. Richardson, was named Cameron, in honor of the last territorial delegate to Congress from the last territory to join the union, Ralph Henry Cameron, who was a completely different sort of person from Seth Benjamin Tanner.

The suspension bridge was unable to carry heavy vehicles, so an 'excessive weight' bridge of traditional construction was sited nearby. The latest bridge, sited between the two older versions, has two lanes capable of carrying heavy vehicles. The redundant suspension bridge is now used to carry a gas pipeline. All three bridges may be seen in an aerial picture from TerraServer web site: today's thumbnail strip has pictures from ground level.

The bed of the Little Colorado is frequently dry, as it was when the pictures were taken. The trees growing in the riparian strip are not a native species, but an exotic incomer named salt cedar or tamarisk trees (genus Tamarix, not to be confused with the tropical evergreen Tamarindus indica or tamarind tree). A Mediterranean native, the plant was introduced to the southwest by railroad companies. Familiarly known as 'tammies', they were used to stabilize embankments, and for flood control, but have since become an invasive pest along many rivers, including the Little Colorado. Autumnal color changes make the trees much less obvious in the desert.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)