2010 Utah Trip

Tuesday, October 5


Grand View SunriseWe returned to Grand View for sunrise and had the entire overlook to ourselves. We drove by Mesa Arch on the way to Grand View. It was obvious Mesa Arch was the "in" place for sunrise today. We already have the classic shot from Mesa Arch, so we were glad to have Grand View to ourselves.

We got there just before sunrise, so we could watch the sun slowly light the canyons below us. The light was good, and we had lots of choices for the foreground. The challenge was that we had to shoot slightly back toward the sun. I kept working my way back along the cliff, but I could only go so far before I ran out of ridge. The bottom line is that the main subject of nearly every shot is the butte that was lit by the sunrise. The only difference was the trees, rocks, or potholes in the foreground. Grand View is definitely better as a sunset shot.

Green River OverlookAfter Grand View Point, we drove to Green River Overlook where we could look right down into the canyon and see the Green River. Most of the other overlooks in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands have views of the river blocked by the buttes or fins that seem to crisscross the canyon in every direction. I cannot imagine trying to hike or ride across this area. You would have to travel 20 miles to get a single mile across the canyon.

Today was a moving day. Our original plan was to drive to Goblin State Park and use it for our base of operations for two days. With all the thunderstorms and crazy weather, we decided to return to Moab instead of going to Goblin. That turned out to be a good choice because the ranger said it was pouring rain when we called to cancel our Goblin campsite reservation. The main canyon containing the hoodoos would be one giant mud hole in the rain.

We returned to Moab Valley RV, and they even gave us the same campsite. We got everything set up and then drove back up to Arches. With all the rain, we figured there should be water in the potholes in front of The Organ. I've seen several photos of the features in that area reflected in potholes, so we decided to do some scouting. The main wash that feeds Courthouse Wash had potholes filled with water all over. It took us awhile to find the potholes that were large enough and aligned for the sunrise shot, but once we found the right area, we discovered lots of choices. I marked the main area in my GPS and we returned to the Explorer. We drove up to the Windows area and looked for the same type of reflections in the potholes on the Spectacles side of the Windows formation. We finally found an area of slickrock with potholes, but they were pretty small and weren't aligned right. It looks like we'll be limited to the Courthouse area for reflection images.

Tonight was fine dining. We had chili I made before we left followed by Cherry Garcia ice cream. Then we relaxed and listened to it rain all night. How can you beat that?