Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Zion National Park. 08.10.12

Zion National Park is our last stop before the Grand Canyon. With canyon walls 2000' above the snaking valley floor, it is often compared against Bryce - everyone had an opinion as to a winner.

In fact, the people we met all had a clear favourite out of the three parks - Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon. Interestingly, in our survey of the people we met there was no clear winner.

Which would you choose, on the basis of my very inadequate photographs?

We hiked to the top of Angels Landing, 1500' above the valley floor. Views from the top = stunning. Chance for vertigo = very high. Slips Sarah made on way down = none (unlike Mt Juneau).

'Look, there's the top, and I didn't slip once!"



Black and white photos are just like buses; you wait for one to come along and then two turn up.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Bryce Canyon. 30.09.12

In photography there is a method of enhancing an image called HDR (Editor; High Dynamic Range) whereby several images of the same view are combined to saturate or exaggerate the tones and colours.

I have never seen an HDR image of Bryce Canyon, and now I know why.



The whole area is already in HDR, like some technicolour movie on a cocktail of steroids and speed.

It is visually rather challenging, as well as being simply outstanding. To be honest I think all amateur photographers should have their cameras confiscated on entering the park to prevent them wasting their time. Including me. Perhaps especially me.

The pillars, called hoodoo's, are up to 200' tall. Being able to walk down and through them is qute mesmerising.

Bryce should be the Navaho word for 'bizarre', or 'outrageous distorted alien forms of our scarlet ancestors', but it isn't. In fact, for such an extraordinary place it was named for a very ordinary reason. The first man who homesteaded near the canyon (Editor: made a home and cultivated the land) was called Ebenezer Bryce.

Therfore it simply became known as 'Bryce's canyon'. His often quoted description of the canyon is - "It's a helluva place to lose a cow".

Presumably homesteading was a rather pragmatic occupation.

And the two of us, courtesy of a passer-by.

Escalante..!!!!!!! 28 & 29th September 2012

Escalante, a plein air art contest and both types of music - country and western....

With that on offer in the small town of Ecalante we decided to stay and see what was on offer.

The hit for us was a western singer called Mary Kaye (Knaphus). To my ears she had the voice of a star, and her songs were evocative and emotional, especially those based on true events or personal stories. We happened to sit next to her and her cowboy husband, Brad, at a cafe between her performances.

One fact of interest is that they have 10 children, roughly all 2 years apart. Yes, 10 as in ten.

She did say that in Utah such information does not rise any eyebrows. But when mentioned in California it is often met by mass apoplexy and hysteria.

Brad stated that he had no musical talent whatsoever. I told him he should take up the drums; with stats like that he sure can keep a beat.


Saturday, 6 October 2012

I no longer feel the need to visit another planet.

In fact, there are a few things which I no longer feel the need to experience. Going to Mongolia, for instance, as aspects of the Divide Basin fitted exactly my perception of Mongolia. Or seeing the Aurora Borealis, as one storm which so rapidly blew up (And consumed us) filled the sky with crimson gold light all around.

And now visiting Mars or Venus is off the list as well.

Well, to be honest, it wasn't in the 'Particularly Practical or Likely' section of my wish list, but if it was it would be removed now.

The reason? Riding from Natural Bridges Park through the Glen Canyon (National Recreation Area). Truly mind boggling sights, and probably Sarah's favourite riding of the whole trip. Possibly mine, too, if only I could compare it to anything else we had seen. But it is incomparable, standing out all on its own.

Natural Bridges; it does exactly what it says on the tin (Editor; a reference to a UK advert)

The scale of the monoliths meant that at every turn the land before you changed, seemingly expotnetially.

That night on Lake Powell a storm blew through. Aything not tied down simply blew away.

In the morning even the sky started to do weird things.

The weather even affected the cost of fuel on planet Mars.

The mighty Colorado river, damned to create Lake Powell.

Below is an image looking back at our camp sight the night before. It is difficult to see, but the little community of Hite is there.

And another rare shot of me; you can tell it is a different planet as the gravity is much less than earth's, meaning I have to hold my bike down to stop it from floating away.