Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Marble Canyon

with 25 comments


On September 8th we followed Tokkum Creek through Marble Canyon* in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park. The photograph above captures the way we first saw the canyon.

The middle picture shows how high above the creek the trail takes visitors in several places. Notice that some leaves were already changing color.

The last photograph, taken at 1/800 of a second, gives you a view of the waterfall at the upstream end of the canyon. In the upper right you see some of the smoky haze that stayed with us for most of our trip (and that was thicker along the highway we took to get to Marble Canyon).

–  –  –  –  –  –

* Coincidentally, Marble Canyon is the name given to a stretch of the Colorado River in Arizona. A couple of pictures from that area appeared here a year ago.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 24, 2017 at 5:01 AM

25 Responses

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  1. Quite beautiful. I see that trees are growing in the burned areas. It will be rich again for animal habitat.


    December 24, 2017 at 5:54 AM

    • From Glacier National Park in Montana through Jasper National Park in Alberta, we saw plenty of places where a forest had burned, along with plenty where a forest had regenerated. It’s a normal cycle in that part of the world.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2017 at 7:16 AM

  2. After all those years the rocks are still rough and jagged. It takes a long time to wear them down. Nice views.

    Jim R

    December 24, 2017 at 6:20 AM

    • In contrast, with all our running around for three weeks, it wouldn’t have taken much more to wear us down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2017 at 7:40 AM

  3. Beautiful images, Steve – British Columbia is still on my wish list as a place to visit.


    December 24, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    • In 2000 we’d been to what is probably the best-known part of British Columbia, the area that includes Vancouver and Victoria and the Pacific Ocean. Only in preparing for this trip did I realize that the eastern edge of the province includes a slice of the Rocky Mountains. When you do eventually visit British Columbia, see if you can make it to both sides.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2017 at 8:06 AM

  4. Amen to that, Steve~I’ve been making some longish drives and have some more ahead of me, and it wears me down too! I’m so glad you and Eve made this trip though. You’ve come home with visual treasures, such as these images. Landscapes like this seem almost mythical to me now, living here in flatland. You and I have talked about that before.


    December 24, 2017 at 8:05 AM

    • Yes, we have. One good thing about majestic places is that the excitement of experiencing them imparts energy. And, as you said, mountain landscapes are even more exciting to those who live in flat places. May you soon reclaim your mythical West.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2017 at 9:57 AM

      • Now that I’m out from under the studio lease, I can go back to saving assiduously for it. I gambled and lost on that one but I’m still glad I did it. In the meantime I can savor your photos.


        December 25, 2017 at 8:02 AM

        • Let’s hope it won’t be long before you see the real thing. As you noted, that area sure gave me a lot of photographs.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 25, 2017 at 8:45 AM

          • It is very rich indeed. Do you and Eve have travel plans for this coming year?


            December 26, 2017 at 10:21 AM

            • After five trips in a year and a half, we don’t have anything planned for 2018… yet.

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 26, 2017 at 11:57 AM

              • I can understand the desire to rest for a bit. Stay-at-home-me has decided to drive to Florida in a few weeks to visit a friend who moved there. I’m hoping for kayaking and owl spotting.


                December 27, 2017 at 8:24 AM

  5. I especially like the last photo, and was intrigued by the rocks in the lower left. I wondered about the geology of the area, went looking, and discovered this post. It not only provides information about the general geology of the area, it also chronicles the discovery of some extraordinarily significant fossils not far from where you hiked along Tokkum Creek.

    At the time of the discovery, the exact location of the site was kept secret, and I suspect it still may be. But it can’t have been far from where you were, since even the interpretive sign for the trail is included in the Royal Ontario Musum’s post. Did you happen to visit any of the public fossil sites at the Burgess Shale, or take any of the hikes?

    “Burgess Shale” is so familiar, and I’m not sure why. I did a quick search for entries on oil exploration there, as it seems to me there were discussions about — and conflict over — drilling in the area, but I haven’t found anything yet. I’ll look again next year — since next year’s only a week away.


    December 24, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    • That was a productive search you undertook. The trail we walked to see Marble Canyon keeps close to Tokkum Creek and extends only a mile or so. None of the signs I saw mentioned the recent finds, so you’re probably right that the location still hasn’t been made public. Even when people are eventually allowed to go there, I expect it will be on supervised hikes only, to protect the fossils. That’s the way it is with the famous Burgess Shale, which I wanted to visit when we were in the area. I’d found the Parks Canada page at


      where I saw, unfortunately, that even the shortest visit would take hours and hours and would involve some heavy-duty hiking. Given our limited time and the many other scenic attractions that wouldn’t require such a commitment of time and energy, I decided we’d be better served by going to other places. We did visit several places around Drumheller that had produced lots of fossils, along with the Royall Tyrrell Museum, which displays many of those fossils. We also spent part of a day at Dinosaur Provincial Park, beginning with those strange cloud shadows in the sky.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2017 at 11:03 AM

  6. It’s a beautiful area, and the young trees look very healthy and nice.
    That fossil they’ve found there, Sidneyia inexpectans, is actually kind of a cute little creature, scuttling around, and the name reminds me of that old movie with Bette Davis, from a Kaufmann/Hart play — “The Man Who Came to Dinner” – – the unexpected Sidney.

    Robert Parker

    December 24, 2017 at 12:47 PM

    • Turner Classic Movies has been showing Christmas films. I haven’t noticed whether “The Man Who Came to Dinner” has been among them, but I assume it has, given that the movie takes places at this time of year. Your connection of that film to Sidneyia inexpectans certainly qualifies as unexpected in its own right.

      At http://burgess-shale.rom.on.ca/en/fossil-gallery/view-species.php?id=115 I watched the imagined scuttling of the ancient arthropod. You and it have reminded me of appropriate lines from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”: “I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” Perhaps your subconscious had that in mind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2017 at 1:58 PM

  7. Looks like a special place Steve … that high view from the trail would give me very shaky knees


    December 27, 2017 at 12:19 PM

    • You’d have multiple chances at shaky knees, given that small bridges carry the trail back and forth over the canyon in several places.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 27, 2017 at 1:36 PM

  8. I’ve been absent here too long, obviously! These are beautiful. I hope to get up there one of these days.


    December 30, 2017 at 1:28 PM

    • I know you’ve got plenty of nature to keep you busy close to home. That said, the Canadian Rockies are a wonderful place for you to visit when you get the chance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 30, 2017 at 2:23 PM

  9. Beautiful. Isn’t it the minerals in the water which makes it the grey-blue color?


    January 8, 2018 at 7:15 AM

    • Yes, that’s what I’ve read. The color was much more pronounced in some of the other bodies of water we saw.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2018 at 8:53 AM

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