Utah Adventures – Part 2, Bryce Canyon National Park

On a very cold Black Friday morning, Dave and I rose very early and met with our photo guides for the Day, David and Eric of Action Photo Tours out of Kanab, Utah.  Our mission, instead of shopping, was to capture Bryce Canyon at Sunrise.  And capture it we did.  The picture above was taken on the hike down into the Amphitheater.  Note the scale of the canyon walls when compared to members of our photo tour.  The sweeping majesty of this National Park is awe-inspiring.

bryce-canyon-ampitheater

We arrived at the Amphitheater just at sunrise that morning.  And it was a very cold morning at about 9 degrees F.  I didn’t even notice the cold (I was bundled up pretty well in layers of appropriate clothing) when I spied the view with the sun just coming up over the southeastern rim.  But in the picture I took below, you can sense the cold.

cold-morning-in-bryce

Once we took some sunrise pictures of the top of the Amphitheater, we took the Navajo Trail loop down into the Amphitheater and was treated to a better view of the iconic Thor’s Hammer.

bryce-thors-hammer

And here is a picture I took of my husband Dave shooting while getting instruction and tips from Eric.

bryce-sunrise-photo-class

David and Eric of Action Photo Tours were wonderful.  Their insight, suggestions, instruction were spot on for both of us and I would highly recommend taking a photography tour with them.  It was an unforgettable visit to Bryce Canyon.

sunrise-bryce-canyon

And sunrise in Bryce Canyon is not to be missed.

Monument Valley

Continuing with our November trip, while we had our base in Page, AZ, we took a drive out to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, through the Navajo Nation which covers most of the top Eastern Corner of Arizona and extends up into Utah.  Monument Valley itself is actually in Utah.  This is a place that should not be missed.  The picture above was taken while on the scenic drive through the park. The scenic drive is 17 miles in total. The road is dirt and extremely rutted in some spots so a high seated vehicle is needed, otherwise I would be worried of bottoming out.

Back to the picture – you can see a snow squall coming in from the distance.  This was November and there are areas of the desert and surrounding areas that do see snowfall in the late fall and winter months.

the-long-road-navajo-nation

This picture was taken on our way back to Page while in the Navajo Nation.  Forrest Gump could have been running on this very road.

Back to Monument Valley.  Below are two of the most iconic sites in Monument Valley, The Mittens.  Buttes that look like hands, or hands in mittens.

The visitors center at Monument Valley is located at the entrance and includes a gift shop, restaurant and hotel.  We stopped in for lunch at the restaurant and had traditional Fry Bread (mine actually was a Navajo Taco).  Delicious.

navajo-lunch

As a few of the scenic stops along the drive in Monument Valley, local artisans sell their handmade crafts.  I’m sure during the summer months these stalls are full and even though it was November there were a few individuals still plying their trade.

monument-valley-shopping

Finally, here is a picture of the photographer who took most of these pictures, my husband Dave.

dave-at-monument-valley

 

 

Utah Adventures – Part 1 – Angels Landing, Zion National Park

Our Thanksgiving week adventure started in Las Vegas where we spent a couple of days relaxing before our real adventure began.  We traveled from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah, where we spent the next three evenings and used it as our base to explore Zion National Park.  Our first stop was to the parks Visitor Center.  We had planned on scoping the park out the first day, maybe take a short hike to warm up the muscles, but that wasn’t what was in store for us.  It was Tuesday morning and the Park Ranger indicated that if we really wanted to hike Angel’s Landing (one of the more strenuous hikes in the park) that we should do it that day, as starting on Wednesday the park and that particular trail would get much more busy with the Thanksgiving Holiday.

I was a little apprehensive, as I am not in the best of shape, and sheer drops of +1000 ft are a little scary.  However, my Husband, Dave, was determined to do this hike all the way to the summit.  I turned to Dave right then and there and said let’s do it.  When we got to the parking area for the hike (during the summer months and holidays the park runs shuttle buses to help ease the traffic), we noticed that a lot of other people had the same idea of hiking Angels Landing that day.  Not to worry, we parked about 1/4 mile away from the trailhead and started our trek up.

angels-landings-switchbacks

The first part of the hike is many, and I mean a lot, of switchbacks up the mountain.  About 2 miles of I believe 3 sets of switchbacks (may have been 4 sets – I stopped counting after the first set).  Yes, I had a pretty heavy backpack on as well (my camera was inside as I was concentrating on just making it up the 2 miles).  I had hiking poles, which I found came in very handy.

After two miles we reached Scouts Lookout.  I found this nice website Hikespeak.com that provides a really nice write-up about Angels Landing hike and Scouts Lookout.  This is where I stopped and let Dave go the rest of the way up to Angels Landing.

From Scouts Lookout to the top of Angels Landing is about a half mile.  The park has put up some chain links in certain areas to help with the climb, but my husband said that it was still a very difficult hike/rock scramble up to the summit.  Dave made it up to the top and said that he was in such awe as to the view and scenery he didn’t concentrate on picture-taking.  I still think he took some pretty awesome pictures.

dave-angels-landing

Dave was up on the summit for about 3 hours.  I was very happy to see him coming down the rocky trail and that he didn’t fall off the edge of the summit.  The final challenge was working our way back down the switchbacks for the 2 miles back.

angels-landing-hike-down

After making it to the summit and back we both felt exhilarated and tired.  The next day we took a leisurely hike to the Emerald Pools, lower and middle, and then had lunch in the lodge.

More of our Thanksgiving adventures to come……

 

Intrepid Photographer

Dave and I just returned from an amazing vacation to Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  We took so many pictures, that it will take a bit to process all of them.  In the meantime I decided to post a couple of my pictures of what I call “The Intrepid Photographer” (or pictures of the Husband).

The first one above is a picture of the “Crazy” Photographer.  During our trip my husband was continually looking for that shot down the road, so I snapped one of him taking one of those shots.  You can see a little snow and even ice on the roadway.  This picture was taken in Arizona on the way to Monument Valley.  Looking forward to seeing what shots Dave got while kneeling out in the middle of a road where the posted speed limit was 70 miles an hour.

photographer-at-red-rock-canyon

We started the trip by flying into Las Vegas.  We spend a couple of days there before setting off for Utah.  Here is a picture of Dave at Red Rock Canyon.  Behind the Visitor’s Center they have a platform where you can get a 360 degree view of the entire park.

We went from Las Vegas to St. George, which became our home base for a few days as we explored Zion (will post pictures of our Angels Landing adventure soon).  After Zion we moved to Kanab ( on Thanksgiving) to explore Bryce.  Below are a few “Photographer” pictures I took in Bryce at and near sunrise.

Kanab is known as the Little Hollywood of the West.  As we were leaving Kanab on our way to Page, we stopped at a few landmarks along the way, including the old Gunsmoke set.

photographer-at-gunsmoke-set

While in Page we visited both Glen Canyon and Monument Valley before heading back to Las Vegas and our flight home.

intrepid-photographers-dirty-hiking-boots

Stay tuned for more on our November adventures.