Upload & Sell: On
Just in Utah last week for a bliz tour of parks in an area I'd never been. Four of my favorite places:
1) The La Verkin Overlook, down a dirt road off the main route (Rte. 9) between St. George and Zion. Curiosity drew me to turn off onto the road (against my wife's wishes) late in the day on the way back from Zion. Drove to a point where I climbed up a small hill (lot of shell casings on the road there, so someone's been out there doing the other kind of shooting). Wow. I'm from the East, so easily impressed by huge 360-deg views like this one. A thunderstorm was sweeping over the mountains in one direction, but that filled just a fraction of the sky. In another direction were gorgeous clouds and a rising moon. Something about the moodiness of the early evening and the vast and utterly silent landscape made me love the place. Shot it up with my EF 17-40 on a full-frame body and am trying to make something of it now.
2) The entire drive from Bryce Canyon to Moab, but especially the road from the Bryce tunnel to Escalante (vertiginous mesas, stunning views) and on through Boulder to Torrey and Hanksville and up to Rte. 70. Saw every sort of topography on this drive, including unexpectedly beautiful and massive red rock formations in Capitol Reef NP, mountain with vast carpets of aspens turning green to gold for miles (probably mostly gold by now), and a landscape that at some points was eerily lunar -- grey dust and huge escarpments that looked like the remnants of some ancient civilization. We said "wow" a lot, with no irony. If we hadn't been in a bit of a hurry (which got me a speeding ticket later on the way into Moab), I would have stopped a hundred times. Note to self: Go back and spend a month.
3) Arches NP outside Moab (never made it to Canyonlands, alas). In the hour before sunset, the sun on the red rocks at the Park Avenue trailhead was indescribably beautiful. Until someone yakking on a cellphone came up and stood next to me. Like having someone do that in the middle of St. Peter's. A pox on them.
4) Sitting on the rim of Bryce Canyon at 10 p.m., watching bright moon go in and out of the clouds, and gazing into the enormous dark emptiness of the canyon itself. Magical. I will offend Bryce partisans by saying that the canyon in daytime was a little disappointing after spending a few days at Grand Canyon a couple of years ago, though the Hoodoos are cool.
My MO obviously different from yours -- I was in a hurry to see as much as possible, as opposed to staying in one or two places for awhile to see and shoot. I had modest expectations for southern Utah and was just blown away.