Back to the White Rim Overlook in Canyonlands National Park this morning. I goofed up setting my alarm clock and overslept by an hour. Because of that, I barely made it to the overlook in time to catch sunrise, but I did and I’m sure glad I made it. The haze is still hanging around, but we got some color in the sky this morning. With just a brief window that the light provided this morning, I’m really happy with what I brought back!
Another great day! Started the day with sunrise from the classic view of Turret Arch from North Window Arch, then headed to Island in the Sky for the rest of the day in Canyonlands National Park. Arches and Canyonlands are just a dozen or so miles apart, but feel distinctly different.
We took in the panoramas from Grandview Point and then made the short hike to the White Rim Overlook, which provides an amazing view of Monument Basin. The sandstone there is covered in grape sized “warts” that could be some type of iron and/or calcite concretions. Maybe someone can help me out here?
The main objective of the day was to make it to False Kiva, a circular Puebloan ruin in a hidden alcove tucked below Island in the Sky. False Kiva is not on any maps and the trail is unmarked, so it still enjoys a somewhat secretive existance. It was an amazing spot to behold. I really can’t put it into words.
After returning from False Kiva, we took the short drive to Green River Overlook to watch the sunset – one of my new favorite places, and highly recommended!
Our second day was awesome! I started the day out with the usual case of the grumpies. Waking up at 4:00-oh-why-am-I-doing-this-clock in the morning. Driving through the middle of nowhere and hiking in the dark with nothing but the things that go bump in the night for company. Then, seeing the Milky Way arching across the sky over Mesa Arch. Soon other photographers would begin trickling in to this popular scenic, but for now it was all mine. I made a few night photos, working an idea I’ve had, but was cut short by the rising sun.
The sun cracked the horizon and the underside of Mesa Arch lit up. Moab has been hazy the past few days and the haze further accentuated the crepuscular rays (or God Beams) shooting through the Washer Woman and Monster Tower below. One the light began to fade, I composed a shot, and with the help of a voice activated shutter release (that’s lingo for a helpful bystander) captured a self-portrait on top of the arch. If you ever try this, do NOT trip! It’s roughly the width of a sidewalk, and when is the last time you fell off a sidewalk, but it’s also about 1,000ft down if you do. Now I’m awake!
After that it was time to head back to camp, but I scored one more shot from The Neck, a section of the road leading to Island in the Sky where you cross a narrow bridge of rock with amazing drop offs and views on both sides. Once again, the haze was creating a great layering effect of the mesas leading into the distance. Ok, back in the car and time to pick up Lana and have some coffee.
We spent the rest of the day hiking Arches and visited Park Avenue, North and South Window Arch, Turret Arch, Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Landscape Arch – the world’s longest arch!
In the last light of the day I shot a panorama of the Windows and Garden of Eden region of the park with the La Sal Mountains as a backdrop, as well as one last panorama of the Petrified Dunes and La Sal Mountains before heading to town for dinner.
After a snowy drive we arrived in Moab at 4pm – just enough time to find a campsite and head to Delicate Arch for sunset. On the way to the arch is a short side trail that leads to a nice panel of Ute rock art. The stylized horses, riders, and bighorn sheep were probably carved between 1650 and 1850 AD.
As usual, there were many photographers and hikers gathered at the arch to watch the sunset, but I was the only large format shooter. My camera attracts a lot of attention and questions where ever I take it, but I don’t mind.
The sky was mostly clear, so we didn’t have any dramatic clouds, but it was a nice sunset with the beautiful orange glow on Delicate Arch and a blue-violet sky.
After returning to camp, the moon was so bright it made it hard to sleep. The way it was illuminating the canyon and reflecting off the Colorado River was so intense I had to make one more photo before climbing in my sleeping bag.
We’ve been out in Moab the past few days camped along the Colorado River. I made this shot the first night under a nearly full moon.
I’ve never really felt at home in the desert. To paraphrase Raoul Duke:
My blood is to thick for [the desert]. I’ve never been able to properly explain myself in this climate.
Lately, however, the desert has been growing on me. It may be hot and dry and dirty, but it holds many amazing places.
- Required Reading: Anything and everything by Edward Abbey.
- Tunes: Moab’s radio station, 97.1 FM KYCN, plays both kinds of music – country and western.
- Coffee: Wake ‘n Bake Cafe, right next to Eddie McStiff’s. The breakfast burritos are killer, also.
- Brews: Eddie McStiff’s or the Moab Brewery. Also, try a bottle of Wasath Brewery’s Polygamy Porter, available at McStiffs or Zax.
- Don’t Forget: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Watch out for cows in the road, scorpions under rocks, and cryptobiotic soil off the trail.
I was headed south out of Boulder recently and was awestruck by the dramatic clouds blowing through Eldorado Canyon. It was spitting rain and the frigid wind was howling, kicking up all kinds of sand and debris along with it. I was able to hunker down with my camera for just long enough to get this shot!
Also, I’ve installed a new plugin that should allow you to click on the photo for a larger version.