Southern Utah - 2UP - A photographic Journey
After a few weeks of planning this trip and with the help of a few knowledgeable inmates we were ready to go. www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=386102 I had researched all the locations I wanted to shoot through the internet and also took Hakatan’s great advise and purchased “Photographing the Southwest” by Laurent Martres. The temperatures were varied and the sky’s were clear and blue (unfortunately no photographic clouds.) We packed for cold and warm temps, hiking trails and fording rivers. We stayed in motels, partly due to cold nights, but mostly for ease of getting up early for the shot.
I left Monday, Oct. 13 from Boise to Salt Lake City where I met my wife at the airport. We stayed the night and started our journey south the next morning to Bryce Canyon Nat. Park. After sunset and sunrise shots we left the next day to Boulder, a short ride of only 82 miles, but I had planned a couple of hikes to get the photos I wanted (the hikes that day totaled 8 1/2 miles and took 6 hours.)
The Burr Trail was beautiful in the morning light as we rode down to Monument Valley for a sunset photo. The ferry crossing at Bullfrog was relaxing as we had over an hour to wait. We stayed in Kayenta, AZ and rode back to MV the next morning before sunrise to catch the first light of the Mittens. Then onward to Capitol Reef National Park for sunset photos at Panoramic Point with a side trip to Natural Bridges National Monument for another hike and various stops along the way.
We stayed in Torrey and returned to Capitol Reef for morning shots before heading back to Salt Lake City via the routes suggested by Ut Rider. The Nebo loop was great and although the aspen leaves had fallen at the Alpine altitude, I did come away with some very colorful photos on the back side toward the bottom.
My wife flew out the next morning as I rode back to Boise with a side trip to Golden Spike Nat. Monument and the back way into Idaho. We had a great time but little time for relaxation...we were up before sunrise and dinned after sunset then slept.
Here is a starter photo....I’ll post more tomorrow.
I can't wait to see some more! S. Utah is about my favorite place on earth (so far!). Beautiful. :thumb:thumb:thumb
Glad the book was useful to you. I can't believe we didn't see each other. We must have crossed paths several times last week.
:eek2 Speechless!! We need more....NOW! :D
DAY 1 - Boise to Salt Lake City
The morning was a brisk 38 degrees yet sunny so it didn’t feel too cold. I wore an REI undershirt, long sleeve pullover shirt, BMW RP2 suit with liner and long underwear. The bike was loaded with my wife’s riding gear and helmet (she took the sidecase inner bag with her.) I slabbed it to Hammett and took old highway 30 all the way to Declo, then 77 to Malta and 81 into Snowville, UT. Slab again to Salt Lake City.
Along the Snake River outside Hammett
It was cold enough to freeze the water as it sprinkled the pasture land. I made it just in time before it completed a full circle. Icicles were actually forming upright off the grass.
Another pasture being watered in the cool morning air along the Snake River close to Hagerman.
The snow covered hills outside Albion were nice as I gained altitude. I really like taking the back roads and I try to avoid the interstate whenever I can, even though it can take me miles out of my way.
The snow was starting to disappear as I approached Malta and the temps were coming up around 46 degrees.
I pulled over at the Utah border to make sure my wife got checked in ok at the Boise Airport. About 30 minutes later along the I-15 I felt my cell phone buzzing in my pocket and I thought maybe something was wrong, so I pulled over as far to the right on the interstate as I could without dropping off the shoulder. I stopped the engine, took off my gloves and placed my helmet over the left mirror.
I called back (no problems) and as I leaned a bit to the left to put my phone back in my pocket, a semi flew by and the tailwind forced the bike to lean to the right. By the time I could grab the bars, the bike was too far over and I just couldn't hold it and down we went. My helmet catapulted off the mirror and rolled down the embankment as I lay there on my side thinking, "don't you ever pull off the side of an interstate to make a phone call again!" I hate riding the slab!
I got up and retrieved my helmet (thankfully, no scratches on the shield) and noticed the part connecting the shield to the helmet was missing. After a couple minutes I found it and reattached the part and started to take some of the gear off the bike so I could upright the beast. It wasn't the first time I lifted a partially loaded bike so it was really no problem other than balancing the bike as I walked around to the left side to lower it on the stand. All the while, no one stopped to see if I was ok, just cars and trucks blasting by. I re-loaded, took a deep breath hoping this wasn't an omen, and continued on down I-15 to SLC.
Made it to the airport to pick up my wife. We stayed at a local airport hotel and prepared to start the real photo adventure tomorrow. Stayed tuned. Southern Utah is fantastic!
I'm planning a trip to this area in mid Nov. Very interested in how cold it's gonna get.
Rode Ogden/Snowville/Malad/Odgen today........
Day 2 - Salt Lake City to Bryce Canyon (Ruby's Inn)
We left Salt Lake City after sunup around 8:45 and headed down I-15 to Spanish Fork to connect up with Hwy 89 via Hwy 6. The temp was about 41 degrees. We were excited to be together and we were eager to see Southern Utah. We passed through Mount Pleasant, Ephraim, and Manti. As we approached Manti from a distance we could see this large structure but we couldn’t quite make it out. As we got closer we kept guessing what it was...a granary, a factory? Then when we finally got close enough it was obvious it was a Mormon Temple and a very impressive one at that. It looked like a European French building. It was finished in 1888 and is constructed of white limestone quarried from the site it sits on.
Perched atop a rising knoll, known as "Temple Hill," the magnificent Manti Utah Temple dominates the Sanpete Valley of central Utah. Located just off Highway 89, approaching travelers can glimpse the distinctive towers from miles and miles away.
We continued south through Salina and made the decision to take Hwy 62 and connect up with Hwy 22 through Antimony to come in directly to Ruby’s Inn. The country roads were great and the scenery was supposed to be better than Hwy 89. There was no traffic this route. We stopped at the Antimony Mercantile to get a bite to eat since we knew we wouldn’t eat dinner until after sunset.
We sat a the counter and the waitress recommended their homemade chili sprinkled with onions and cheese. We watched her prepare a couple of 1/2 burgers for a couple of guys in the dining area. She was the mercantile clerk, cook, dishwasher, server and cashier, as a matter of fact, she was the only worker there. We settled up and headed down the country road.
There were plenty of cows along the highway and this one just crossed as we came around the corner. I don’t take any chances, so I slow way down to 10-15 mph. I’ve read too many reports on motorcyclists going by thinking a cow or donkey will just stay put, but they can instantly jump in front of you.
We came upon this old granary nestled in the fall colored trees.
We arrived at the Best Western at Ruby’s Inn, checked into our room, changed and headed out to the canyon. We still had a couple hours of light left. We stopped at Sunset Point to take in the vista and hiked down switch-backs of the Navajo Trail. The light was pounding of the canyon walls as we descended through the narrow slit.
We followed the trail along the bottom of the canyon and came back up another set of switch-backs to Sunset Point. Then we walked a 1/2 mile over to Sunrise Point for more sunset shots. Both Points are great for sunrise and sunset shots.
The light was diminishing and we decided to wrap things up and head back to the hotel. We still had about 15 minutes before sunset so it was nice to get back at dusk. We changed and enjoyed a nice dinner at the Best Western. We were tired, so we went to bed....we had to get up before sunrise for photos of “Thor’s Hammer.”
This part of Utah is among the the most beautiful in which I've ever ridden...but the mornings this time of year are a bit brisk.
Ride report bump! Great photos :clap
Great photos, looking forward to more.
Day 3 - Bryce Canyon to Boulder
It’s always hard to get up early when it’s still dark, but it was necessary to get the morning light for the best photos. Sunrise was at 7:38 and we had to be in position at Thor’s Hammer at least 15 minutes before sunrise to set up the shot, so we awoke at 6:00am. We would have breakfast afterwards, so we layered up for a cold 18 degree morning ride back to Sunset Point and a short hike down Navajo Trail.
When we arrived at Sunset Point there were several guys waiting in the warmth of their car until the sun came up. They must have thought they better get out to the point before the sun came up so they all ran out while we were getting our gear ready. When we started toward the point, they came running back shivering seeking shelter in their warm car.
It was calm and cold as the sky slowly turned from darkness to a distant light beyond the horizon until like a clashing symbol the sun appeared and turned Bryce Canyon into a glowing fireball of orange light.
All around us the canyon lit up and everywhere my eyes focused was a great shot. You simply couldn’t take a bad shot. It lasted only about 20 minutes before the magic light was gone. As we hiked back up Navajo Trail we saw a photographer coming down with a brisk pace. We had seen her last night on the switch-backs and spoke a bit. She said she forgot her tripod and had to drive back to the hotel to get it. Oh well, she still had some good light left.
The shape of the white colored rock inspired my wife to title this photo, “Bryce’s Pieta” because it reminded her of Michalangelo’s “Pieta”.
We stopped at the entrance sign to get a photo of us and the bike; a short stop at the visitors center and then back the the Best Western for a simple breakfast. We packed up and checked out and although we only had 78 miles to go to Boulder today, we would end up in Boulder in darkness.
They say that Hwy 12 is one of the best in the nation and I had to ride it to believe it. Around every corner I wanted to stop for a photo and we still had some good light as we approached mid-morning. I think you could spend all day on this highway.
Some pictures require you to travel a bit further up the road because there is no turnout, then you have to walk back to get your shot.
Our first destination along Hwy 12 was Escalante Natural Bridge. The 2 1/2 mile hike started just after the highway bridge over the Escalante River. I knew in advance that we would have to ford the river several time so we brought water shoes. The trail starts right off with the first crossing and I must admit it took a bit of persuasion by my wife to get me in. “If you came all this way for photos, you better get in and do it!” So off came the hiking shoes and socks and we rolled our pants up above our calves and slid down the short embankment into the freezing water. I had brought a couple of REI multi-towels to dry our feet each time we crossed. Then we’d put our socks and shoes back on and continue up the trail along side the Escalante River. The crossings were 15-25 feet wide and about 8” to 18” deep (had to watch for the deeper spots though.) Turns out we crossed the river four times before reaching the natural bridge.....and crossed four times again on the way back.
It was nearing mid-day and the light was harsh. I had to hold my hat far out in front of the lens to prevent lens flare. I composed without sky because the photo would have been washed out.
We met two other female solo hikers who had hiked this trail before. They just waded right through the river with their shoes on. I don’t think I could stand the squish squish and wet feet for 2 1/2 miles (but I’m sure they were pro’s :) It took more time to take our shoes off, dry our feet, and put shoes back on, but it was worth the feeling warm dry feet, and it was actually refreshing.
It had warmed up to 76 degrees by the time we returned to the bike and we were out of water. One of the hikers we met was still at the parking lot and offered to fill our water bottles. We changed into our riding gear and headed off to our next destination....Calf Creek Falls.
Just a short 5 miles up the rode we turned into Calf Creek Campground. We wondered if we should really do this hike knowing it was 6 miles round trip and would take at least 3 hours. It was already 3:00pm and I wanted to make it to Boulder before dark.
We decided to do it! Go get the picture! I grabbed a trail guide and we headed off. The trail guide had 15 points of interest where you would stop at numbered markers, then read about the area. During the first 30 minutes into the hike we kept seeing hikers coming out....I hope we get out before dark! The hike seemed to go on and on around distant bends, each bend seemed like it would be the last before the falls, but the trail just kept going and going. The scenery along the trail was beautiful yet I didn’t stop for any pictures....we wanted to keep our pace up.
Finally around another bend we could hear and see part of the falls and a 100 yards further it came into full view. We stood there in awe as we took a deep breath of accomplishment. It was beautiful and I think it was the highlight of the trip. I evaluated the area for my composition and set up the tripod, set my exposure and started clicking away. The mist from the water was cool and the canyon was getting well shaded by the immense surrounding cliffs. The temperature was starting its way down.
We talked to a few people there and after they left we were all alone at the falls. It was peaceful and mind relaxing. We snapped a few pics of ourselves, ate peanuts and jerkey, drank juice, then packed up and put ourselves in a state of mind to hike back. One more amazing look at the falls before we head out. We were determined to get back to the bike before dark and we didn’t stop once! My wife lead the entire way in and out!
The sun set just as we returned to the bike and we quickly changed out of our hiking clothes and into our riding gear. We headed up Hwy 12 and the instrument lights automatically came on. By the time we reached the narrow section of S-curves, it was too dark to photograph and we continued on into Boulder where I had planned to stay at Pole’s Place.
The temp. was dropping fast and by the time we made Boulder, just 15 miles from Calf Creek, the temp was 45 degrees. As we checked into our room the moon came up. We changed and drove back to the Boulder Mesa Cafe for a nice friendly dinner with the locals.
What a day...our feet were sore and my hips were tight from carrying my camera hip pack, but it was well worth it. With no distinct photos to take the next morning we decided to sleep in the next morning before heading out on the Burr Trail.
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