2010 Utah Trip

Sunday, October 3


I'm sitting at the table processing images and watching the light show across the plateau. It has been lightening for over an hour and putting on quite a display. We're in Dead Horse State Park, which is 30 miles west of Moab. It is high on a plateau that overlooks the Colorado River. When people talk about "in the middle of nowhere," they're talking about Dead Horse. But here we are in our motorhome, checking the football scores on the Internet using our MiFi card, processing images on our two computers, and eating tacos. Camping has certainly changed.

We got up early for sunrise this morning to shoot in the Windows section of Arches. But as we were reaching the main plateau where the main features of Arches are found, we saw that we were running a little late and the sunrise was going to be special. We changed our destination to the La Sal Mountains OverlookGoogle Earth View and started shooting immediately. We shot the sunrise until the sun was completely up, and then shifted to the Courthouse formations in the valley below. We shot the area every way we could think of to take advantage of the warm light.

La Sal Mountains Overlook Sheephead Rock

Double Arch The Windows section was our second stop. We had never timed the lighting right for Double Arch,Google Earth View but today would be the exception. The arches were lit well, and we had the area to ourselves. From Double Arch, we drove to the South Window area, which was our original destination for sunrise. On the "back" side of South Window and North Window is The Spectacles. The two windows make up the lenses of the glasses and there appears to be a bridge between the windows to give the appearance of a pair of glasses. We had shot sunrise here a number of years ago and gotten some very nice shots. Then, as we were hiking back to the car, we discovered a herd of bighorn sheep. Since there are only 50 bighorn in the park, we felt very fortunate. We weren't as lucky today. The light was flat by the time we made it to The Spectacles, and there were no bighorn sheep to be seen. We also had to really hustle because checkout time for the campground was 11:00. It was 10:00, when we got back to the car and started back for Moab.

We set a new record for tearing down a campsite. It only took us 40 minutes to dump our tanks, get everything ready in the motorhome, and hook up the Explorer. Everything went very smoothly, and we were on our way to Dead Horse State Park. We arrived around 12:30 and decided we were ready for a mellow day. We had a late lunch and then noticed that the cumulonimbus clouds that we saw on the way to Dead Horse were consolidating and beginning to look like a brewing storm. We gathered up our photo gear and drove out to Dead Horse Point to photograph the approaching storm. The storm skirted us to the west and moved at the exact speed as the sun. Instead of a once-in-a-lifetime sunset over Dead Horse Point, we were reduced to trying to catch the lightening in the distance. Three hours and we didn't get any decent images. We've been very lucky in the past on trips. This time, we struck out.

When we got back to the motorhome, I checked the Internet and celebrated Texas losing to Oklahoma in football, Texas losing to Nebraska in volleyball, and the Chargers winning. The Padres lost, but I think their late surge got them into the playoffs.

Our light show has added sound effects with thunder punctuating the biggest displays. We're going to have a very interesting evening.