Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Utah

Utah. . . home of (as the sign outside the town of Kanab has it), the Greatest Earth on Show.  The Colorado Plateau made for some amazing landscapes.  Below are just a few samples, from A to Z, of course!

Arches National Park:
Landscape Arch

Off trail up in the rocks

Double O Arch.  Look closely for the second O down near the bottom of the page!

Bryce Canyon National Park:

Capitol Reef National Park:
Hickman Bridge

Coyote Buttes (The Wave is here, but we visited the less-visited Paw Hole area.  Buckskin Gulch is here, too.):

Starting out in an April snowstorm (Paw Hole)
Layer-cake rocks (Paw Hole)

Buckskin Gulch slot canyon

Goblin Valley State Park.  These are some of the most family-friendly photos I had:
Hoodoos left by interesting erosion
The Henry Mountains

Pariah River.  The southernmost stretch is famous, and we hiked it in 1995(before digital),but upstream is pretty, too.  We went there in 2006:
"River" is often a courtesy term out west.  Though I think this was a side-stream.
Definitely a side-stream, with clear, cool water.
This area had a mix of petroglyphs and "cowboy glyphs"--historical, rather than prehistorical, rock art.
The Toadstools (a dinky spot near Kanab, just to show that you can't move in Utah without tripping over something cool):

Differential erosion again, due to different hardnesses of the rocks

Zion National Park:
Zion Canyon from up on the rim (nearly 10,000')

The Virgin River from Angel's Landing--a hike not for the acrophobic.

Hiking the Virgin River Narrows, a beautiful canyon to be avoided in rainy seasons.

Amazing how cold this was at 6:30 a.m., and how refreshing three hours later when we returned!

It's an unmercifully huge collection of photos, and even so I've left out Canyonlands National Park, the San Rafael reef (much of which is unprotected, though in any other state it would be a park for sure), the Great Salt Lake, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area Lake Powell, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Kodachrome Basin, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, and the Uinta Mountains (ditto the La Sals, the Henry Mountains, and the Abajo Mountains, all sky islands--isolated mountain ranges that are ecological "islands"), etc., etc., etc.  "The Greatest Earth on Show," indeed.


  1. What a gorgeous photo essay! Love the shot of you wading. I can imagine that it was tough to pare down your photos for this post. I visited all those canyons, too, but I was just a wee sprout. Even so, those places made an impression on me and I would love to go back.Thanks for this marvelous armchair tour. :D

    ~Tui Snider~ Dropping by from the A to Z challenge! :D
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

    1. Hi Tui, thanks for dropping by! Wading that spot was a little better for me--that's Second Son there, and it was up to his waist, but a little less painful for us taller folks!

      It is very hard to select only a few pictures. But it's the key to being taken for a good photographer--don't share the 587 bad pictures! Editing after our trips is a huge job and I procrastinate way too much :D

  2. So amazing--I do envy you and your travels!

    1. We are so lucky to be able to do that. It's being on an academic schedule. We didn't hit all those spots on one trip, though. That would be a bit much!

  3. Holy wow. I knew Utah was beautiful but didn't know it was that beautiful. Thanks for the pics.

    1. I do dearly love the alpine and the high mountains. But the Colorado Plateau (the Utah/AZ canyon country) holds a place in my heart maybe equal it. I'm happiest if I get to both in any given year.


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