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Category Archives: Landscape Photography

After leaving the Visitors Center we took the Scenic Drive through the Park. It was a beautiful day. As we drove through Fruita the fruit trees were in bloom.

Early the next morning we headed back to Capital Reef. Our goal was to hike the Hickman Bridge Trail. Even though it was early the parking lot was filling up. On of the things we learned on this trip is that if you want a place to park get their early. The trail was well marked and there were a fair number of people on it. Fortunately when we reached Hickman Bridge we had the place to ourselves for a while. However it wasn’t long before the selfie group turned up.

More photos from capital Reef can be found on my website.

As we drove past one of the orchards on the way to the trailhead we encountered a bunch of Wild Turkeys. We, along with a number of others, stopped to get some photos. It was mating season and the males were putting on quite a display. We also stopped for a few photos of the petroglyphs.

After Leaving Goblin Valley we headed toward Torrey, Utah where we would spend the night. It was late in the day when we reached Capital Reef and the light on the rocks was spectacular. We stopped many times for pictures. For some reason my wife and I had negative views of Capital Reef from an earlier trip but as it turned out we didn’t allow nearly enough time to enjoy the park.

When driving from Arches National Park to Capital Reef National Park Goblin Valley State Park offers a break in the trip and a chance to walk through some very strange rock formations. The day we were there the place was packed and we managed to get one of the last parking spots. The first photo provides an overview of the area. If you look closely you can find over 40 people in the photo. One of the games you can play with kids is to try and identify what the rock formations look like.

More photos from Goblin Valley can be found on my website.

Island in the Sky is an island in Canyonlands National Park. It is a mesa that sits over a 1,000 feet above the surrounding land. It has nice paved roads to the major overlook points. In the old days ranchers ran cattle on the land. It was easy because access to the Island is via a small neck of land only 20 feet wide. Put the cattle on the island and fence off the neck and they were in business. The views from Island in the Sky are spectacular.

More photos from Island in the Sky can be found on my website.

After our short hike to the top of Whale Rock we continued down the road to the Upheaval Dome trailhead. We managed to grab the last parking spot in the picnic area. This turned out to be a little more strenuous as hikes go but it had some great views and some challenges. At one point I got lost and headed out on what appeared to be the trail but as usual my wife was right I was going the wrong way. We seemed to be leapfrogging a tour group. They were on Whale Rock and they followed us up to Upheaval Dome.

We had planned more hiking in Island in the Sky but parking was an issue. When we left Upheaval Dome the picnic area was full as was the overflow parking lot and people were still pulling in. We found that all of the parking spots were taken at the trailheads. We drove around a bit but nothing freed up so we headed out to our next destination.

More photos from Island in the Sky can be found on my website.

After leaving Moab we drove over to the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. Our first hike of the day was to the top of Whale Rock. On some of the hiking books it showed folks walking up the rock holding on to a fixed line and we wondered it this might be a little too strenuous. As it turned out it was an easy hike offering some great views of the surrounding countryside.

More photos from Island in the Sky can be found on my website.

More photos from Arches National Park can be found on my website.

I can’t help but think this is the parks salute to our so called president.

This is one of of my favorite shots. Balanced Rock with a dark sky in the background.

A piece of wood found along the trail.

A view from the Primitive Trail overlooking the Park.

View from the trail to Pine Tree Arch.

Park Avenue is one of the first turnouts when entering the park.

Indian Paintbrush was one of the few flowers blooming in the park.

Fiery Furnace is one of the great hikes in the park. Unfortunately the park did not have staff available for tours.

View from the Broken Arch Trail.

This Raven was waiting for us at the car as we were preparing to leave the Park.

After the long Primitive Trail Hike the day before we decided to hike up to Delicate Arch in the morning. It was cooler and made even more so by a strong breeze. When we first drove into the parking lot I noticed someone carrying a wedding dress. The last time I was at Delicate Arch a wedding had taken place.

More photos from Arches National Park can be found on my website.

Our first stop was the Wolfe Ranch where we stopped for a few photos before heading on to Delicate Arch. I think the HGTV crowd would consider it a gut job although it probably would bring several hundred thousand in the California real estate market.

The first part of the trail was well marked and relatively flat.

Even early in the morning there were quite a few people making the hike and the parking lot was almost full when we arrived.

Lots of cairns marking the trail although since there was a sign at the spot they really weren’t needed.

The last part of the trail looked to me like a freeway but my wife was sticking close to the inside of the trail.

The morning is not the best time to photograph Delicate Arch but we were more interested in the hike than the photography. It is almost impossible to photograph the Arch without getting people in the photograph.

As we neared end of the hike I noticed the bride changing into her wedding dress. She not only carried the dress up but a changing tent. The wind was really blowing and my wife was concerned that the dress would act like a sail and she would blow off of the mountain. The bridegroom was no where to be found and I found that the bride was just up at the arch for pictures.

In the late afternoon there is a great view of Delicate Arch from this small arch along the trail. Notice my wife is still hugging the inside on the way down. I got the impression she doesn’t hike heights.

A little later in the morning and there was a steady stream of people going to and from the Arch. When we stopped to take the photo we ran into a hike we had met on the Primitive Trail the day before. He helped me down a steep stretch of trail. I carried my tripod with the camera mounted the entire hike and I needed both hands free to get down one section. His son had been sick and was still sick so he was hiking alone. We were encounter him one more time on our trip. We were driving over to Bryce National Park a couple of days later and had stopped at a pull off to take some photos. He happened to be at the same pull off.

 

We stopped along the trail to photograph some rock art.

Once we were back in the car we drove about another mile along the road and hiked up to a couple of viewpoints with some good morning views of the Arch with the sun in the background. On the last shot I use my pocket camera with it’s 720mm lens to get a closeup of the Arch. There were now a ton of people at the Arch.

 

 

 

 

 

The last time I visited Arches National Park I hiked the Primitive Trail and I wanted to do it again this trip along with my wife. She had never hiked the trail and I had forgotten what it was like. The last time I did it I was alone and met almost no one else on the trail. Things have changed. This trip there were lots of people on the trail and it was difficult to get shots without getting someone in the photo. At almost every arch someone was posing under the arch. It required great patience on my part not to say anything to them.

More photos from Arches National Park can be found on my website.

The trail starts at Landscape Arch.

Just past Landscape Arch the trail follows a gap in the rocks and is quite steep. The first photo was taken looking up the trail toward the top of the ridge and the second photo was taken back toward Landscape Arch.

The trail is well marked with cairns.

There were some very interesting patterns in the rocks at Navajo Arch.

This well placed cairn marked the trail to Partition Arch.

From Partition Arch to Double O Arches you are at the high point of the trail with some stunning views of the Park.

At Double O Arches we took a side trail over to Dark Angel and had some spectacular views of the Salt Valley.

 

We stopped along the Dark Angel trail and had a bite to eat. We soon had a visitor who was determined to have a snack with us.

We rejoined the main Primitive Trail and followed the trail down off of the ridge. This section of the trail was not marked as well as earlier sections. Quite a few people turn back and retrace their steps from Double O Arches because the trail is more difficult from this point on. We took another short side hike to Private Arch. Just beyond Private Arch there were some nice views. Earlier in the hike we could see hikers way down below by Private Arch.

This section of the trail was probably the most difficult. It was very steep and if you slipped you would probably fall about twenty feet. It became a bottleneck and everyone was helping others get through this section. I can’t imagine how I got through this section alone. In my mountain climbing one of the sayings was “When in doubt lean out”. In other words don’t lean in and push yourself off of the hold. I mentioned this to my wife and she said “I am leaning out!!!” Actually she was plastered to the rock face.

Once we were down out of the rocks the trail was much easier and provided some nice views of the La Sal Mountains.