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  • Road Trip: Day 37

    Posted on October 4th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Yesterday I stayed-up way too late working on my photos and blog entry, so the day started with me sleeping all the way until 10am. Fortunately today I only planned four hours of driving.

    It wasn’t until noon before I finally made it out on the road… first stop Zion National Park!

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    As I approached Zion, I passed through the town of Virgin. I took a double-take as I passed a tree filled with shoes! I would have stopped, but I only brought one pair of shoes with me… and I don’t think going barefoot from here would be very smart.

    Zion is incredibly beautiful. The past few days I’ve been in areas with stunning geological features, and the colors and scale of Zion Canyon is second to none. There were even a few times I wanted to stop in town to take photos, but I forced myself to wait until I was inside the park. After driving through the main gate I found the perfect little place, just large enough for the G8, to pull-over… and set to work taking photos.

    Because it’s still the busy season I wasn’t able to travel Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (without parking back in town and taking a shuttle), so I proceeded through the park. The climb up into the Zion tunnel wasn’t “spirited”, due to the traffic, but I took the opportunity to take some more photos.

    I was a bit surprised to see that it was already 2:30pm as I made my way out of Zion, but since I got a late start it made sense. I stopped at a gift shop to pick-up a few postcards and kokopelli branded merchandize… I did resist the temptation to get a large stone statue though.

    Given it was late in the day I considered cutting my drive short, but decided to stay the course and drive to the Cedar Breaks National Monument. When I turned onto Highway 14 the wall of caution signs told me I made the right decision. The climb was full of sweepers at 50mph until I rounded a corner to see a pair of semi-trucks pulling onto the road. Normally this would have ended the fun, but not these trucks… now I was climbing and cornering at 60mph!

    When I reached Cedar Breaks I pulled over to take a breather (now at an elevation of 10,350 feet) and to take some photos.

    The descent from Cedar Breaks was a blast; filled with lots of coasting in neutral. It’s really a challenge to drive down steep grades without using the gas or brakes. It’s even more of a challenge to do it when the car in front of you is a Sheriff blasting radar! It was fun though… trying to catch-up to him without going over the speed limit (maintaining corner speeds) and/or “making-up ground” while out of line-of-sight.

    As I was approaching my hotel for the night I realized that I was close to Bryce Canyon, and the sun was just starting to get low in the sky. I didn’t plan on going into Bryce today, but I just couldn’t pass-up the perfect light.

    I made it to Sunset Point and grabbed my camera and wide angle lenses. The sun was low enough that much of the canyon was already in deep shadows, but parts were well lit… and the contrast was spectacular. I hiked around towards Sunrise Point, taking photos along the way. It was fun, but I really felt out of place around all the other “serious” photographers with their tripods.

    Despite not being properly equipped for this sort of shooting, I managed to walk away with a full memory card… and a couple decent images.

    Tomorrow I’m planning to be back in Bryce for sunrise; despite not having a tripod. I’m not normally someone to just watch the sunrise, as I’d rather be sleeping, but it should be a nice change of pace. I’m sure I’ll be able to get some good photos, but one of these days I’ll need to return to this area on a “Photo Trip”.

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