After our trip in Robbers Roost Canyon, we headed to Escalante for another backpacking trip into one of my favorite canyons of all – Coyote Gulch in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It’s been about 12 years or so since I’ve been here, but I still remembered how awesome it was.
Last week we went back out to Utah for a couple backpacking trips – the first was a two nighter in Robbers Roost Canyon in the Robbers Roost country along the Dirty Devil River east of the town of Hanksville. This little known and seldom visited area is full of wonderful sandstone canyons reminiscent of the Escalante area further southwest.
After two months of being more or less glued to the computer, I was thrilled to head out into the desert and finally get outside again! Our destination: the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, south of Moab, Utah. Above you can see the La Sal Mountains towering over the canyons in the distance.
Walking to the glow, in the narrow slots of the Joint Trail.
We just got back home to Colorado after a quick road trip to San Diego to visit my relatives and friends. Instead of doing the drive in one grueling day like I used to do, we took our time and broke up the drive into three days each way, giving us the opportunity to see some of the sights in the desert along the way. Here are a few photos from the trip! Above is Cedar Breaks National Monument, where we camped the first night.
On our way back we drove through Zion National Park, stopping to hike up to Angels Landing. This was a questionable decision for a September Saturday, as the [paved!] trail was clogged with people and felt like a Disneyland attraction. But regardless of the crowds, it is always a spectacular hike with killer views of Zion canyon!
We continued to Capitol Reef National Park and the next day we did a wonderful hike down Chimney Rock Canyon, where sheer sandstone walls tower overhead.
On our way back from the Sawtooths, on Tuesday Claudia and I did a day hike up Mount Timpanogos, the most famous and beloved mountain in the Wasatch Range in Utah. We started from the Aspen Grove trailhead, and our leisurely tour took us 9 hours up and down.
Looking up at Timp – the summit shelter is just barely visible at top right.
I just posted a bunch of photos from my trip in Utah! Though I was only out there for two weeks total, it truly felt like a full month. It always amazes me how time slows down when I travel. I think that is the secret of living longer… to travel a lot! In that regard, I suppose it’s not all about how long you live, but how well you spend your time while you’re here. (I say that after having the last three days fly by while working on the computer again).
Anyhow, now I’m back home in Ouray, Colorado. It feels great to finally be back home. I’m really looking forward to summer.
My winter season in Jackson Hole has come to a close. Though it’s actually snowing again as I write this, I am packing my bags and am excited to spend 3-4 weeks wandering around in the deserts and canyons of Utah. Tomorrow I drive to Moab where I will put all my stuff in a storage unit, then the adventures begin! My rough plan is to do some hiking and backpacking in the San Rafael Swell, then Escalante (shown above from my last trip there way back in 2001), Bryce Canyon, and depending on my timing and the conditions, perhaps Zion and Cedar Breaks.
My blog will be pretty quiet while I’m gone, but when I’m back home in Ouray in early May I will surely bombard my website with a heap of [hopefully decent] desert photos!
Sunrise at the Great Goosenecks of the San Juan River, as seen from Goosenecks State Park overlook on the southern end of Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah, on the morning before my backpacking trip in the Grand Gulch this last weekend.
The San Juan River, which originates from the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, slowly flows through the 1000 foot deep canyon walls, forming one of the world’s best examples of entrenched river meanders. This is one river in the photo – it flows from left to right via three immense meandering curves. It is a very impressive sight to see, and to portray the full scene with all the different river bends, I needed to create a panoramic image.
I made this panoramic photo by stitching together 5 vertical photos in AutopanoPro. Each of those 5 photos were made with dual exposure blends, prepared manually in Photoshop, to control the dynamic range of the bright sky and darker canyon. So that was a total of 10 photos needed, which I shot as quickly as possible using manual focus and two manual exposure settings (one for the canyon and one for the skies), with preset white balance for all. Between the relatively long exposures and quickly changing sunrise light, I only had about 2 chances to get this right.