…well into the second 5 year mission!

Archive for September, 2015

Autumn at Owl Creek Pass

South of Cimarron, CO, a movie was made.  John Wayne played the male lead who had True Grit.  In one scene, he rides toward 4 bad guys, not holding the reins, shooting two handed from the hip.  That scene was shot at Maddie’s Meadow at Owl Creek Pass.

01 Owl Creek Aspens 2015-09-23 wide_14

This high up, trees tend to be conifers.  The pointed trees with a background of pointed spires of rock, make for dramatic settings.

02 Owl Creek Pass 2015-09-23

Aspens grow in clusters up here.

03 Owl Creek Aspens 2015-09-23 trunks_0

When the aspens turn color in the fall, the blue sky, white bark and gold leaves are breathtaking.

04 Owl Creek Aspens 2015-09-23 trunks_11 05 Owl Creek Aspens 2015-09-23 tight_1 06 Owl Creek Aspens 2015-09-23 medium_16What say we go for a drive?
07 Owl Creek Aspens 2015-09-23 medium_8

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Dead Horse Point State Park

In southeastern Utah, near Moab, is the beginning of the vast canyon lands of the southwest.  Two national Parks, Arches and Canyonlands, are here.  Between them, a peninsula of high ground juts out over the lands eroded by the Colorado.  The peninsula necks down to a narrow point less than 100 feet wide, with 600 foot high cliffs bordering it, dropping away to the Colorado, 2000 feet below.  It is a spectacular setting.  It is Dead Horse Point State Park.

The name comes from a practice in which wild horses were driven onto the peninsula, and the narrow neck barricaded, so the horses could be captured.  With no way to escape, and with no water, delayed return of the cowboys meant horses that died of thirst.

The backstory is not pretty, but the setting is.

01 Dead Horse Point 2015-09-12_23

I have wanted to get here for years, but every time I came by, the campground was full.  Finally, this year, I managed to find a spot.

While I was here, Rain came through.  It was a fringe of the storm that so devastated southwesterly Utah.  After the rain passed, with no idea of the devastation being wrought elsewhere, I grabbed my camera and went to the overlook.  The air was spectacularly clear, the colors were deeper, and the clouds made contrasts of light below that drew me.

03 Dead Horse Point 2015-09-14_8

In the photo below, center image, that grey-ish promontory is Pinnacle overlook, 15 miles away.

02 Dead Horse Point 2015-09-14_5

A final sunset shot, and it is time to leave Dead Horse Point State Park for you to discover in your own way.

04 Dead Horse Point s 2015-09-12_29


Bridges vs Arches

It’s not just a word.  Arches, such as at Arches National Park, are formed primarily by wind and frost.  Bridges are formed by water eroding the base, cutting through a cliff.  Natural Bridges National Monument has some dramatic natural bridges.

Natural Bridges NM 2015-09-10_10

A river has cut a winding canyon in the area.  When it undercuts one of the cliffs, emerging on the far side, Sipapu Bridge was created.

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br 2015-09-09

A trail allows visitors to descend to the base of the bridge.  It tends to take one to a ledge for a short traverse.  The rock, striped with ages of weathering, overhangs many of the ledges.  Views of the bridge are frequent.

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_3

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_5

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_9

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_13

Between ledges, the trail descends steeply, sometimes with steps, and sometimes with more precipitous means.

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_30

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_26

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_15

If I hang out under a bridge, does that make me a troll?

Natural Bridges NM Sipapu Br trail 2015-09-09_24

Time to kick back and enjoy the end of the day.

Natural Bridges NM sunset 2015-09-09_6

Natural Bridges NM sunset 2015-09-09_0


How Dark Is Dark?

Natural Bridges National Monument is set in the middle of a large “dark skies” area, noted (and notable) for the low level of light pollution.  I was here in early 2010, but did not have what is needed to photograph the night skies.

Well, I now have better tools.  My camera can be pushed to an ISO setting of 7200.  My new lens is a fast f2.8. Combine those with a 13 second exposure, and the sky is revealed.

Natural Bridges NM Milky Way 2015-09-08_2

That faint red glow at the bottom is from Page, AZ, 95 miles away.  Yeah – that is a dark sky.


What a difference (2) days make

Over Labor Day weekend, I hung out in the Uinta Mountains northeast of Salt Lake City.  My campsite was at 8300 ‘ and the trailheads were all above 10,000 feet.  Just call me H. R. Huff n Puff…

I left there, slept in Price, UT, then drove a bit out of the way, going to Natural Bridges National Monument.  My route took me southeast, onto 95, to the northern tip of Lake Powell.  Shortly after leaving I-70, the scenery started.

Southern Utah Rt 95 2015-09-08_0

Colorful rock formations bordered my descent.

Southern Utah Rt 95 2015-09-08_1

Southern Utah Rt 95 2015-09-08_4

Southern Utah Rt 95 2015-09-08_5

Southern Utah Rt 95 2015-09-08_6

Finally, at the Lake Powell beginnings, the rocks were a fairly uniform rust color.

Southern Utah Rt 95 2015-09-08_7A real treat for the senses, and jarring in its contrast with the greenery I have been looking at for months…


Two Last Shots

This forum, for me, is usually about a number of pics that tell a story.  Well, the story this time is very few pics – two.  I just got a new fisheye lens and am learning it.  So, here is one of my first shots with it.

Tetons dusk 2015-09-01

The second is from last night.  I leave the Tetons today, so this is my last Teton photo of 2015.  It has been a very good summer for me.

Tetons goodnight 2015-09-02_10


Another Hill Climb

Amphitheater Lake is more than 3000 feet above the trailhead, and about 5 1/2 miles in. I made it 3 miles in and 1200 feet up, and still was quite pleased with myself.

Early on, it was a moderate walk in the woods with glimpses of the peaks above.

Lupine Meadows hike trail 2015-08-31_3

Lupine Meadows hike trail 2015-08-31_4 Then things got steeper.

04 Lupine Meadows hike trail 2015-08-31_9

03 Lupine Meadows hike trail 2015-08-31_7

As it got higher and the forest opened up, I got views of Bradley and Taggert Lakes to the south

05 Lupine Meadows hike trail 2015-08-31_11

06 Lupine Meadows hike Bradley and Taqggert Lake 2015-08-31

and Jenny and Jackson Lakes to the north.

07 Lupine Meadows hike Jenny and Jackson Lake 2015-08-31

The trail continued up, but I didn’t.

08 Lupine Meadows hike trail 2015-08-31_12

I guess I will have to be satisfied with these views. Ya think???

09 Lupine Meadows hike 2015-08-31

10 Lupine Meadows hike 2015-08-31_6