Monday, October 18, 2010

Canyonlands day 3

After doing all of the short trails, we decided to take the trail out into the Needles to Chesler Park. The trail is a 6 mile round trip over slickrock, through stream beds and generally going through a broad selection of them possible terrain in the area.

The trail starts at the base of Elephant hill and goes up a bit before leveling out for a while.

1 - Headed in

This is the view from the rock ledge where we ate lunch.

2 - Chesler park

It took a while to find a place where we could sit and eat. The problem was the cyanobiotic crust. Stepping on it damages the crust and it take decades to repair itself. You can see it at the bottom of the photo of the park area. It kinda looks like a blackish crust.

3 - Chesler Park view

Still, the hike was well worth it. The view once you cross into the park is of a green oasis in the middle of the red sand desert.

After we spent about an hour eating and walking bout we headed back. This is the last part of the climb out of Elephant creek. It is a steep ascent, but not overly difficult. Although I would recommend a hiking staff to help with balance and bracing.

4 - trail section

The next section was what is called the Wedge. It's a narrow crack in the ridge about 3' at the narrowist and maybe 20-30' high. It was really easy to pass through and was actually one of the most fun places on the trail. For me.

One of the things that made this hike so interesting was that you got views like this after passing through the ridges. A new ridge meant a new and different view.

5 - Needles

There was one other spot where the trail narrowed. The trail passed through a short narrow spot in a rock. It was so narrow I had to turn sideways to fit through.

7 - narrow spot

The next two are examples of the scenery along the trail.

8 - Sandy area

9 - Balancing rock

And finally, our last evening. I've already showed out the view from our campsite to the west. Here is the view to the east and a fond fair well, at least until the next trip :)

10 - Needles Outpost sunset

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 2 Needles Unit

Both Sal and I can't believe that it took us so long to visit here. I can guarantee that we won't wait so long for a return trip. If you want to know more about Canyonlands I suggest that you try to site at as a starting point.

Now, first there are a couple of warnings. First, it's a desert folks. There is NO water. Bring lots and Drink it! Second, the best stuff in the park requires the desert...where it is rocky...and there is NO water, or cell phone coverage either. So come prepared.

So after stopping at the visitor center and asking the nice folks there about the park, we decided to start by taking all of the short hikes. In the Needles there are four. I'll describe them in the order in which we did them.

First was roadside ruin. It's probably the shortest and easiest of the hikes. The map said it was about .3 of a mile. But it seemed shorter. It's a good introduction to the area and you get a chance to see local plants (helpfully labeled in many cases) and some of the wildlife.


The trail takes you into a shallow wash and to a small ruin. The ruin is Puebloan and is a granary. It's also pretty much the only ruin that you can see without a long hike.

Puebloan granary

The second hike was Cave spring. The hike is .6 of a mile. Here you get to see an actual cowboy line camp. For you non-westerners, a line camp was a semi permanent camp or cabin that was used when the hands were out on the far edges of a ranch and needed a place to base camp while dealing with the cattle. In this case the line camp was placed under an overhang of rock near a small spring. From what I recall from the sign, the camp was in use from the 1890's until the 1960's.

Line camp

The next thing that you get to see is a series of petroglyphs. There was no information on them. But here they are.


The rest of the loop continues up and out of the canyon onto the slickrock and then back into the canyon.

After lunch we took the longest of the 4 trails. Slickrock is a 2.4 mile loop. The recommended time is 2 hours. It will take that long. Hiking on the slickrock is like hiking on lava. It looks smooth from a distance but isn't. For those taking the hike, keep an eye out for Desert bighorn sheep as they are known to frequent his area. Although your chances to see one are slim at best.

This shot should give you an small idea of what the slickrock is like. And this is a smooth stretch :)

Slickrock trail

The final short trail is Pothole point. The trail is .6 of a mile. The best part of this isn't the views...

Pothole trail

But the chance to see things like the Fairy shrimp.

Fairy shrimp and snails

Fairy shrimp are a species that lives breeds and dies during the rainy season. They live in vernal ponds (or in this case potholes in the rock). It was pretty cool getting to see one and to see the other small red shrimp and the snails.

The last place that we stopped was Newspaper rock. Its not in the park but on BLM land on the road leading to the park. I'll just let the photo show you one small part.

Newspaper rock

And on a final note, here is what the sunset looked like from our campsite.


And a look at the stars as well :)

Day 1

Today is a travel day. It's about 13 hours (without stops). So, of couse we had to stop. The only major stop was Monument valley. Its definitely a must stop and see on any trip through this area.

Monument Valley

We even met a little friend while eating lunch in the parking lot of the visitors center.

Local dog

We finally arrived in Canyonlands late in the afternoon. Only to find out that the campground was full. Fortunately there are a fair amount of options available. We decided to stay at Needles Outpost campground. If you can't get in the park this is the place to stay. it's 1 1/2 miles from the park entrance and right next to the park boundary. There are 20 sites with showers ($3 for campers, $7 for others) and a small store. The owners are good folks. Our campsite had an incredible view to the west and was up against a huge red bluff.

(insert site photo)

Thus endeth the first day :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Canyonlands National Park

So, on my way to Canyonlands. This is my first trip to this particular park. Its a 13 hour trip. We're going to stop for the night in Phoenix and head in tomorrow. We expect to explore the southern unit, the Needles. The campgrounds are on a first come basis.

Canyonlands NP

I don't know how often I'll be able to post since I don't expect to get much of a signal. We'll see :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 44

So, I'm finally caught up. (there is no day 45 shot)

Last night I went down to the Pt. Loma Sport Fishing Docks for dinner with friends. We sat out at the rail at the Hudson Bay Seafood restaurant. The food was good. I like the crabcakes :)

While we sat there I played with the camera and was adjusting for exposure using the brow. The Auo exposure had this shot as bright as daylight. So I stopped the speed down until I got an exposure I liked.

Day 44

There are 2 elements that I really like about this one. The subtle colors and shadows. And the pattern.

Now, I could crop to better accentuate the pattern. And I think that I'll try that. Just to see what happens. But not tonight :)

Day 43

I really don't like this photo. The only reason it's here is so the folks in it can download it if they want to. I really botched this one.

Day 42

Well, somewhere in here I lost about 25 photos. For the life of me I can't figure out what the hell I did with them. If I find them I'll fill in the missing days. This is days 37 to 41. Oh well.

So on to day 42.

There are 2 photos today. We were in Torrey Pines State park. I caugt a picture of the Cliffside buckwheat.

Day 42 #1

I like this one for 2 reasons. The color of the ripening head is brighter than the other buckwheat I shot. And I didn't even realize that there was a species that grew only within a few feet of the cliffs edge overlooking the ocean. So I though I'd share.

The second shot was of new growth on a Coastal Prickly Pear (Opuntia littoralis).

Day 42 #2

I like the combination of the colors, composition (it just looks right to me), and detail (the silk strand).