About MeI live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I explore the deeper reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while also trying to raise awareness about light pollution and the importance of dark skies through photography and video.
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Monthly Archives: April 2010
During the course of my trip, I had plenty of time to myself which, looking back in hindsight, isn’t something I’m particularly used to. In most of my earlier life I yearned for the company of others. Before moving to Jackson Hole I was living with my girlfriend at the time. Currently, even if it’s just a few, I interact with people on a daily basis. Even if I’m working at the computer, I still occasionally connect with other people via email, Twitter and Facebook. While it’s great to have camaraderie among friends and family, whether in person or digitally, we’re still inundated with other peoples’ thoughts, even if we share our own opinion of them in agreement of disagreement.
On my recent road trip, spending roughly two weeks by myself in the southern Utah desert, I noticed that I seemed to have a better flow of thoughts, ideas or personal revelations that I was greatly inspired to write down.
Another site on my trip I was anxious to get back to and get some new, updated shots was Zion National Park in southern Utah. I was trying to get there before a big cold front was coming there and upon driving south on Highway 89 to get there, I discovered I didn’t quite beat the cold front. From out of nowhere it began snowing just as hard as anything I’ve seen here in Jackson Hole. Given that it was snowing all the way in, I was excited to get into the park and get some shots of it covered in snow, something I had yet to see and had always wanted to see. By the time I reached the entrance station however, the biggest part of the storm had passed and the snow was melting fast!
I actually can’t say enough great things about this state park! I had passed by it before a few times not thinking much of it and finally on my way back on this trip decided to stop in and see what it was all about. Kodachrome Basin State Park lies in southern Utah just off of Highway 12 about ten miles down a paved road starting from Cannonville, Utah. The state park branches off and heads north while the main road continues on and becomes a rough dirt road called Cottonwood Canyon Road bringing you through some impressive scenery of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The park itself features all kinds of uniquely eroded sandstone formations and is believed to have once been a Yellowstone-like area with geysers and hot-spots that have filled in.
After getting a bit of a late start from Phoenix, I realized that despite visiting the Grand Canyon over a dozen times, I somehow don’t have many good shots from there. Since it’s only a four hour drive from there, I decided to make that my first destination on my way back to Jackson Hole with the specific intent to get some sunset, sunrise and even a few night shots. Sunset left a little to be desired and I’m still debating the moonlit shots, however sunrise definitely didn’t disappoint and was a great show! The canyon walls lit up nicely shortly after the sun came up and watching them glow in the sunlight was especially nice to see.
On one of my last nights out on the trip, I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom while camping in Capital Reef National Park and on the way back to my tent, I looked up and saw the brightest Milky Way display I have ever seen with my own eyes. It was right there shooting up from the mountains and reaching up into a completely dark night sky. I all of a sudden realized that this was the reason I never could get the night shots I had always been wanting to get. I had always been taking shots relatively too quickly after the sun had gone down and thus not allowing the skies to become dark enough to really see how bright a completely dark sky really could be.
I didn’t have many plans or destination on my road trip, but one thing I was determined to do was backpack into Coyote Gulch, even if only for a night. I had seen a few photos and knew I had to get back there. On my way down to Phoenix, I missed my opportunity due to a big storm that had come through and threw off my chance to get there at that time. On my way back, yet another storm had come through, but I had luckily gotten trapped in the area because of that very weather system. The next day I headed out there after checking with the Visitor’s Center in Escalante, Utah about the road conditions.
One way into Coyote Gulch is to backpack in from the Hurricane Wash Trailhead in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.