The Humpback Chub is a bottom feeder fish that thrived in the warm waters of the Colorado River before Glen Canyon Dam was built and turned the Colorado River into a much colder river that it is today. It was declared endangered in 1967 and has one of its last strongholds in the Little Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. Since the Humpback Chub is protected from fishing, it has learned to recognize the bottoms of the river rafts coming down the Colorado River and gathers around them when they stop to camp near the Little Colorado River. This gives the unique and special opportunity to actually see numerous examples of this endangered fish in the wild:
The Little Colorado River is a breathtaking turquoise color due to the alkaline and minerals content of the water. In addition to creating the wonderful color of the Little Colorado River, the minerals settle in the Little Colorado River channel to create pools which the river cascades over on its way down the canyon:
The turquoise waters of the Little Colorado River cascading over these mineral deposit pools makes it look like you have left Grand Canyon National Park and been teleported to some tropical paradise on the other side of the world. With the Little Colorado River’s water being much warmer than the Colorado River’s temperature (about 70 degrees versus 50 degrees), you can comfortably sit in any of the hundreds of mineral pools which have been created to relax and cool off from the hot Grand Canyon sun — something that I took full advantage of.
We spent our second night in Grand Canyon National Park along the Colorado River at a campsite called Above Little Colorado River. As its name implies, the campsite was located just upriver from the Little Colorado River. The Little Colorado River has a high alkaline and mineral content which gives the river a beautiful turquoise hue. This can readily be seen at the confluence where the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River meet:
It was fascinating watching the color of the two rivers meet and blend together as the color line between the two constantly changed and moved.