This was yesterday along the West Rim Trail a mile and a half past Angel’s Landing at about 6,500 feet. This elevation is at peak right now! Much of this trail is above 7,500 feet, and those colors are past, and most on the ground. In the valley floor, colors are just beginning to change. I would say at the Temple of Sinawava, maybe 20% of the leaves are now yellow, with a bit less further down the valley. The next few weeks should be great.
Looking into Behunin Canyon last night from near our campsite along the West Rim Trail. West Rim Trail was an awesome two day hike – more to come.
Seems I’m not home for very long these days – just a week and a half for this last stretch – but a great week and a half, Alaska can be so beautiful this time of year!
We are off today for a fun five week trip. Planning on doing more backpacking on this trip then usual – have reservations for Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, and hope to do the West Rim Trail and possibly East Rim in Zion if we can get the permits. Going to spend time in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada where I have two sold out works, and Arizona as well.
Last night at the Temple of Sinawava, Zion National Park, Utah.
A couple of hikers making their way up the Zion Narrows.
I have written this before – but hiking up a river while surrounded by 1,500 foot high cliffs is just an amazing, fun experience!
We have done this hike on a few different trips – hard to come here and not do it. But in the past it has always been in October – I was surprised at how many more people were up there in May as compared to October. I can’t begin to imagine what July must be like.
Yesterday afternoon we arrived at one of my favorite National Parks – Zion!
I usually don’t photograph from such common vantage points, but with out much time to scout, I thought what the heck, jumped on my bike and we road up to the “bridge” An older fall image from this same location has sold really well, so it doesn’t hurt to have a Spring version.
Here are more Zion National Park photos.
Throwing in a photo of the Escalante region of Utah doesn’t seem to fit with my recent Antarctica theme, but I can explain.
I first passed through the Escalante area more than 12 years ago and loved the region. I expected to be blown away by the Moab area, Zion and Bryce, places you hear so much about, but Escalante came as a surprise. It was immediately evident that the photo opportunities were endless. My intentions were to return for an extended visit to really explore the area. Lack of cell and internet access has kept us from making an extended visit – the disadvantage to being self employed, although I did spend a brief bit of time photographing the area in 2005, and more recently passed by to visit photographer friend Guy Tal, which reminded me again how I loved the area.
Fast forward to Antarctica. I found all the fellow staff members to be extremely knowledgeable, fascinating, and insightful. One of the staff members was Thomas Lowe Fleischner (Tom), who is a professor of natural history at Prescott College in Arizona. On the first day of our trip, Tom and I were paired together as part of a group hike into Tierra del Fuego National Park. On that hike I really enjoyed Tom’s insight, and his ability to explain things in such an interesting way. From then on I made a point of staying within earshot of Tom when I could, so that I might learn as much as possible.
Tom is also an author and it turns out that one of Tom’s books, Singing Stone, was about the natural history of the Escalante Canyon region (Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon NRA). I love natural history books, and have many shelves of them. But, most are guide book in style, with page after page of animal tracks, wildflowers or birds. Tom was kind enough to share his book with me which I recently finished.
What I loved about Tom’s book is the story telling nature that covers all those things you wonder about when visiting the area. I felt like I was hiking around the area with Tom as he explained things I asked about! Not just birds and geology, but the history, the plant life, effects of management decisions and more. It was fascinating – I wish there were similar books on other regions!
So what causes the dark streaks you see on the canyon walls? Which adult hummingbird builds the nest and raises the young? You will just have to read the book!
Sticking with the Winter in the Southwest theme – this was another one from the same trip as the Grand Canyon Post from yesterday.
We arrived at Bryce just ahead of a winter storm that brought almost a foot of fresh snow to the region. The snow closed the roads behind us, leaving us “trapped” in this wonderful park. We were the only ones in the campground when the roads were closed behind us. Fortunately we had a 4 wheel drive and could still get around on the un-plowed roads giving us the entire National Park completely to ourselves – what a treat!