Today I turned 31, which means I’m officially in my 30s. Aside from just being old, that means I’m wiser too right? Fret not dear reader, I assure you that isn’t the case. I am however becoming way more “granola kid” as a friend of mine puts it. In my growing years I’ve taken up hiking a lot more than I ever did as a kid. Of course, as a kid I was mostly terrified of everything, so the thought of wandering off into the wilderness seemed like just about the worst idea ever. Nowadays, I’ve spent enough time around other human beings that on most days I can’t wait to just flee into the mountains and be rid of them all.
That rambling introduction leads to the meat of this post (which I promise is coming) which was a short trip to Moab I’d taken last week. A few weeks back a few friends of mine and I were out shooting some astro at the Spiral Jetty when we hatched the plan to go down to arches for a couple days and get some of those classic portfolio shots from there. Sadly one of my friends had to work, but my buddy Collin was down to roll, so we left Thursday afternoon hell bent on getting some sweet shots.
We arrived in Moab at about 5:30 and got into Arches right before six. After driving through the park towards the campground which happened to be full, we opted to take a short hike and figure out the gameplan for the evening from there. That short hike turned into about 4 hours and us parking it on top of a rock outcropping to get some shots of the sunset. Here’s a few of the shots from that hike:
I love how both of those shots ended up coming out. What I loved even more is that while we were on the trail leading from the first image out to another random arch, we were stopped by a curious and fairly lazy lizard. We thought it’d be cool to see if we could get a quick photo, but it turns out the little guy was in no hurry to move along and so it ended up being part of a twenty minute photo shoot. I ended up getting some really nice close ups by getting down low on his level and sticking the camera near him.
Once we finished up with all our sunset shots and debating the merits of stealing a camping spot from a no-show, we decided to not risk it and hit up one of the free sites outside the park. Sadly, due to a freakish incoming thunderstorm we were unable to get any night shots on Thursday. While being a total bummer, we figured tomorrow would be a better day and we could try again.
We ended up driving a short ways out of the park and with seeing no signage for the campsite (turns out it was a few more miles down the road) we pull off into a flat area assuming we’re there and set the tent up. I didn’t sleep at all. Sadly (for me anyways) I’m a very light sleeper, which stems from having a child who got up ALL THE TIME in the middle of the night until she was about three and a half years old. So now, of course, any noise or light or anything really will wake me up. Our campsite happened to be the noisiest place on earth that evening and I fumbled about until it was time to get up and shoot some sunrise shots. On the bright side (yuck yuck) I did get a couple I was pretty happy with and may try to put up on a stock agency:
We then proceeded to break camp and grab some breakfast. Once that was done we opted to explore what was around the outside of the park and take a detour down the Colorado River way. We found a sweet free campsite so we pitched the tent up there and then headed out to find a way down to the river itself for a swim. I don’t have any photos of that, but I assure it was brown and cold and exactly what I needed. Once we dried off, it was off to find another hike, which we did called Negro Bill Canyon. The sign had clearly been vandalized a lot with the word negro being scratched, painted, and scribbled all over from various other tourists. The hike was long but enjoyable, with a pleasant stream running aside us the whole way. I got some shots of a cool set of cliffs that supposedly were occupied many centuries ago.
The payoff for that hike was pretty sweet too. A 243 foot-long land bridge connects the rocks on either side of the valley. It made a really nice alcove with a small natural spring. There are apparently hikes you can take that put you on top of the bridge instead of underneath it letting you rappel off the side. While I didn’t get to do that, I opted to live vicariously through the terrified children who were going. Here’s a shot of one of them:
We finished that hike around 3 and decided to head back to the campsite and catch a short nap so we could be ready fro another sunset hike and to get some night shots out at the delicate arch. Like any true sad tale, the clouds rolled in again (after being a perfectly clear day) which wrecked any chances of the star shots happening. However we did get a few more sweet sunset photos after climbing on top of a different rock outcropping.
We had originally planned on camping out that night as well and coming back in the early morning, but I started to feel sick from exhaustion having hiked about 13 miles in two days and having not slept at all the night before. Even the nap I took only lasted about 30-40 minutes due to heat and ants. All in all the trip was a blast and while it stinks I didn’t get any of the shots I was wanting, I got a ton of great ones of other stuff. Sorry for the long rambly post this time. Hopefully I’ll have another one up soon. Till next time, thanks for reading!
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