…well into the second 5 year mission!

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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


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

Yo Mama

The weather began to clear midday today, so I grabbed my camera and headed for the Death Canyon trailhead.  I found it wall to wall parked cars.  It was WAY too busy for me, so I left, planning to drive up through the Park and relax – somewhere.

I wound up at String Lake.  I made my way to the lake shore and was relaxing on a rock in the woods.  Elk were on the far shore, a bit north of me.  I heard splashing, and noticed an elk moving into the lake.  Behind her, a calf tentatively began to follow.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_2

Then, it turned back, regained the west shore, and began bleating.  Mama continued across.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_4

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_6

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_7

Occasionally she would turn back and call her calf.  Damn kids never listen…

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_9

She continued across, reaching the east shore perhaps 150 feet north of me.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_10

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_14

Baby was still on the far shore.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_15

She then moved south through the woods near the lake edge, heading straight for me.  When she was perhaps 60 feet away, I decided I really needed to let her know I was there.  I began talking to her.  She kept coming, browsing on the way, looking at me occasionally.  I stood up when she was looking, to be more visible.  No deterrent – she kept coming, until she was perhaps 15 feet from me, as she passed me.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_16

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_17

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_19

Soon she was out of sight.  I settled down.

About 40 minutes after she entered the lake, the calf was really making noise, calling for Mama.  Mama began answering – north of me.  She had moved back north without me seeing or hearing a thing.  The two exchanged calls back and forth for about 5 minutes, then the baby finally started across.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_20

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_21

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_22

Reunited – after more than 3/4 of an hour apart.

First thing the calf did was to nurse – but only for a few seconds.  Seeking comfort and reassurance, I’m sure.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_24

They then moved up the bank into the woods.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_25

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_27

I never thought Mama would come close again, not with her baby, but she did.  The two came past about 25 feet from me.  Sorry, no pics of the calf – too much underbrush, but it was right behind Mama.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_28

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_32

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_33

After passing me, they continued south about 150 feet together, then recrossed the lake.

Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_34 Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_36 Tetons elk and calf 2015-08-09_38

Nice afternoon.

Blessings of an Old Man’s Bladder

I woke at 5:20 this morning, experiencing, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper described it, “Force Majeure”.  A few minutes later, heading back toward bed, I noticed the time, and the clear skies, and the full moon.  I had 45 minutes until sunrise, and String Lake was 45 minutes away.

I scrambled to get dressed, grabbed the camera stuff, and headed into the park.  Approaching my goal, the sun was already painting the peaks orange and the moon was about to drop out of sight.

Tetons full moon and dawn 2015-08-01_3

Five minutes later I was at String Lake.  The moon was now hidden, but the colors were still good.

Tetons dawn 2015-08-01

I’ve been wanting this shot all summer.  If only I had been five minutes sooner…

Critter day…

Today I focused (no pun intended) on critters.  First, I found park of the elk herd at String Lake.

Tetons elk herd 2015-07-17_2

Then, on Mormon Row, I found a young coyote hiding in the grass.

Tetons coyote camo 2015-07-17

Finally, I found the bison herd.

Tetons bison 2015-07-17_3Tetons bison 2015-07-17_10Tetons bison 2015-07-17_7

Tetons bison 2015-07-17_9

For so little effort on my part, it was a pretty cool afternoon.

When skies are grey…

… photographers turn to black and white.

This is the view that greeted me as I left the campground and headed toward the Park.

02 Tetons weather 2015-07-06_8

The southern part of the Range was dramatic but…

01 Tetons weather 2015-07-06_9

The skies at the Snake River overlook blew me away.

03 Tetons weather 2015-07-06_6


Jim and Gayle may be at Crested Butte, the wildflower capital of the world, but the Tetons area at this time of the year is no slouch.  First, here is a shot done from my driver’s seat as I was leaving the spot where I boondocked for a week.

01 Driggs wildflowers 2015-06-24Once I got to the east side, the valley was covered with flowers – yellow, purple, white…

02 Teton wildflowers 2015-06-26_4

Looking at a broad expanse is nice, but getting up close and personal is rewarding, as well.

03 Jenny Lake wildflowers 2015-06-26_3

05 Jenny Lake wildflowers 2015-06-26_33

06 Tetons String Lake Trail 2015-06-16_1

07 Tetons Wildflowers 2015-06-21_46 08 Tetons Wildflowers 2015-06-21_48

It’s not just the Tetons.  Craters Of The Moon, the most barren, desolate scene you could imagine, still treated visitors with life.

11 Craters Of The Moon 2015-06-04_610 Craters Of The Moon 2015-06-04_3

Let’s finish this wildflower extravaganza with a shot from the Sawtooths in Idaho.

09 Sawtooths 2015-06-02_0

My first post on my new blog site…

Welcome aboard.  After troubles with Google’s Blogspot modifying my photos without my consent, I decided it was time to say goodbye to them as hosts for my blog.  Hopefully, if I do this right, this will be my new blog.

If you are new to this blog, my old stuff, all the way back to 2008, can be viewed at These Are The Voyages…

Let’s start this first post with a hike around Jenny Lake.  (Well, part way around…)

The hike begins at the boat dock at South Jenny Lake in the Tetons.  Crossing the outflow on a footbridge, the trail winds through the forest.  Early on, we were given a nice scene of wildflowers in front of pines, in front of peaks.

Jenny Lake hike 2015-06-26_1

The trail led along the lake edge, a low route that was new to me, as previously I had been on a higher path.

02 Jenny Lake hike 2015-06-26_8

The hike comes with a reward for all that effort.  Hidden Falls is about 400 feet above the lake, and that was our destination.

03 Jenny Lake hike 2015-06-26_23

Discretion being the better part of valor, rather than walk back, we sat on a boat and were ferried across the lake to our starting point.

04 Jenny Lake hike 2015-06-26_32

Nice day!