Each year our ward has a campout in early May. We usually go down a day or two early to make the trip worthwhile. I think that going to Moab on a Friday and coming home on Saturday isn’t the most effective trip…although, I have been known to do it. This year we didn’t leave as early as we had hoped, but we did manage to get down there on Thursday in time to setup camp at Dead Horse Point and get back to Canyonlands – Island in the Sky for late afternoon/evening light. We hung out at the traditional sunset spot in Island of the Sky…The Green River Overlook. It is a location that screams panorama, so I took a number of panoramas. They aren’t fantastic, but they are nice.
Holly exploring a tent for the first time.
Holly quickly decided the tent was boring and found the sand.
Milo loves sleeping and more importantly playing in the tent.
Medium sized version
The Green River Overlook in the late afternoon. This is the version using my telephoto lens.
Medium sized version
Here is another Green River Overlook panorama using a wide angle lens.
The plan was to get up bright and early to photograph Mesa Arch one last time. I really love Mesa Arch at sunrise. It is something everyone should see at least once in their life. I love watching the underside of the arch light up, but the pain of photographing it can be quite high. Since it is so spectacular, there is usually a reasonably large group of photographers hanging out in a very small space. I thought it would be nice to scout the area the night before just to make sure I had an idea of how things would work in the morning. Milo and I hiked out to the arch. We had a nice time.
We successfully woke up early and got everyone into the car and to Mesa Arch in time for me to claim a decent spot in the line of photographers. I still wish I could do a better job exposing the arch, but the photos are nice.
Here is one image that is pretty typical of what you can get out of the camera as the sun rises. The arch lights up more brilliant right at sunrise, but it is much easier to photograph 15-30 minutes after the sun comes up. You can still see the glow, but it isn’t as strong.
Here is a photo that I have played with a bit in Lightroom. This is closer to what you see with your eyes. Amazing stuff.
Medium sized verison
Here is a panoramic image of the entire arch a few minutes after sunrise.
Just as I was packing up to leave the family came to see what I was doing. I guess Milo was getting restless, so Monica agreed to take a trip out to the arch. Most of the photographers were close to being done by this point in time, so we grabbed a quick family photo.
Milo and I went to scout a hike in Canyonlands that I was supposed to lead the next day. It is a hike that isn’t officially on the NPS maps, so I wanted to make sure the trail was in good condition, etc. During that hike, Milo informed me that he wanted to go see some arches. I had wanted to go check out the ghost town of Cisco, but Milo’s idea also seemed fine. We finished the scouting trip, tore down camp, and headed off to Arches NP.
We thought that Milo might enjoy the windows area, so we started there first. We hiked around to see Turret Arch and the North and South Windows. Milo busted out his camera and took a number of photos. Holly just wanted to play in the dirt. Mom and Dad simply tried to keep them from injuring themselves or others.
We gave Milo the choice of taking the “primitive” trail around the back of the windows or returning to the car. He chose to keep hiking. We stopped about half way through the hike to have a snack because Milo was tired. Holly also used the stop to grab a bite. The only problem was she wanted to eat rocks. Not so good…
Holly and Scott walking down the trail.
Milo stopping to eat trail mix.
Holly feasting on about the largest chunk of sandstone she could carry around.
Holly wanted to keep going, but that silly brother of hers was still eating.
We finished the primitive loop and headed down the road to the Sandstone Arch area which is a nice place for kids to play. On the way, Holly fell asleep. Monica quickly volunteered to stay in the car and read with the sleeping Holly. Milo and Dad took off to investigate Sandstone Arch. Milo wasn’t too impressed with the arch or the sand (that may have been because the wind was blowing the sand all over), but he did enjoy a slot like section beyond the trail. He also became obsessed with removing the sand from a smallish hole in the rock.
Milo exploring his “slot” canyon.
The triumphant explorer returns.
Milo cleaning the sand out of this small hole in the rock.
We finished off the day with a short hike out to Landscape Arch. Milo was pretty tired by the return trip and whined so much that Dad actually put him on his shoulders for the last few hundred yards. We setup our tent and went into town for pizza at Zax. No trip to Moab is really complete without a trip to Zax. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos from the remainder of the trip. The most eventful part was Milo’s lizard count on Saturday’s hike. He managed to count twelve lizards. It was a nice way to keep him occupied on the hike out. He is a good hiker but was a bit tired because of the long hours he had kept the previous couple of days. Holly even slept well both nights we spent in the tent. All in all a great trip.