Sunday, August 12, 2018
Had to do some hiking before checking in, though, since I arrived before check-in time. I decided to hike the Alpine Pond trail, which I had done before, but not on my trip, the previous month. It may not be until the Colorado Columbines over the red amphitheater rocks that any of the shots are actually from the Alpine Loop trail. Also, the sunflower field was from a large meadow that's east of the trail. I walked back from the Alpine Pond trailhead to the Point Supreme Trailhead via the road, because I wanted to be on the correct side (for lighting purposes) for those sunflowers.
I went through my shots and organized by flower type, so the order is lost and I can't tell you for sure on which of the three short trails I walked that I saw each of these flowers. The exception would be the large meadow of sunflowers, which was just west of the main road that passes through the monument.
the previous month, was is to be expected. The week was there this time was supposed to be their "Wildflower Festival," which presumably is scheduled for just such a consideration (though, admittedly, I did not hike the Alpine Loop trail, last time. Still, it seemed like the flower variety was pretty limited on the parts I could see, including the large meadow. The most prominent flower that time was the Aspen bell, which does not stand out like the sunflowers, to be sure.
It's a nice little campground, though it looks like some construction is underway. I didn't ask anyone what it was about.
The sites are sufficiently spaced, though I think there's only one flush toilet and shower per gender. It was pretty empty the night I was there, so that wasn't an issue. If the place is fully booked, that might be an issue.
A nice engineered feature of the campsites here is that you pitch your tent on worn river pebbles, so any water that does fall on your tent drains down rather than potentially running between your tent and the ground, so that helps keep you dry if it rains, which it did, heavily, while I was there.
I had bought a new tent about a month previous, since I had ambitions for perhaps a few more camping trips this year than last year, and my old tent, purchased from Sears, in the late 1980s, was showing its age. I had serious doubts as to how it would hold up in the rain.
There's nothing revolutionary about that, but it was a step above what I had. Much easier for one person to pitch the tent, that way.
Lots of breathing space between the fly and the tent, so I think this would breath decently. Nice long reach of the fly, to keep the water off the tent body. I also bought the fitted "footprint," to keep the tent floor off the dirt.
I was completely dry inside, after a multiple hour deluge of monsoonal moisture.
Instead, I used the time to hike the Campground and Sunset trails. Actually, I think there are two Campground trails, because one is paved and presumably ADA compliant, while the other is single-track, and has steeper grades. The single track also takes you further from the road, so that's nice. The nice view of what I assume are common yarrow were from that hike. There was also a large boulder, with hollows on the top that filled with water. A bird was bathing in it. It was a pretty sight, but my photographs did not do it justice.
I did get to chat with several interesting individuals who also watched for sunset. I learned some about various cameras, as well. That was a nice plus to the trip.
Of course, I knew I was racing the sunrise, so I didn't bother with trying a lot of different lenses. I basically just shot at ISO 1600 and f/2.8. Don't remember if 20 or 30 seconds. And even with that, after three or four shots, clearly, the horizon was getting brighter.
It was still only about 4:30am, local time. But I was awake, so I decided to break camp in the dark. Hopefully, I did not disturb my neighbors.
Despite not getting a chance to do any astronomy outreach, I thought this trip was a good one. I got some interesting shots in Zion, the night before. I got to stay at the Point Supreme campground, to see how I liked it (I liked it a lot). And I got to do some new hikes, short though they were. Got some nice conversations along the way, too.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
There had been some pretty serious downpours around Zion earlier in the week and as I drove through the Gateway town of Springdale, there was plenty of evidence of dirt having been pushed off the road. I also saw that parking in town was no longer free. I pulled into one lot just to check the price: Flat $20 for the lot nearest the entrance. I don't know if the other lots or along the street have different prices, but $20 seemed kind of steep. If it costs almost as much to park as to enter, I figure more people will try to enter and find parking in the limited area between the gate and Canyon Junction. In any event, my arrival this day was late enough that it wasn't an issue. Only a few cars in front of me, and I had a campground, and the guaranteed parking spot that came with it.
As with my Arch Rock hike of the previous month, I got to where I though I might take some shots then pulled out my phone and launched my planetarium software, to see where the Milky Way would be, later that night. Of course, this was pretty speculative, since, at the time, it was pretty cloudy, and getting cloudier.
Sunday, July 29, 2018
this meadow in mid-July 2010, I knew this was a relatively dry and warm winter, so I figured the bloom would be earlier. Similarly, I had also been here in late June one year, and even then, the bloom was not as thick as my first visit. So I know there's a lot of variability, depending, I assume on the precipitation, how cold the winter was, how quickly the summer heats up and so forth.
The hike there is not particular steep or interesting. It's mostly flat. But there are several meadows with plenty of mariposa lilies. This is probably the most reliable place I've been to for finding this flower. As you can see, some look more purple-tinged than others.
previous hikes in the area, but still plentiful.
It's an easy two miles or so to the summit. From there, there's the possibility of continuing on, to Mount Abel (or other destinations, but that's the one I'd been to, in the past). However, I needed to get back reasonably early, for family purposes. So I spent only about fifteen minutes around the overlook, snapping pictures and enjoying the rest bit, then returned the way I came.
Saturday, July 28, 2018
This bit of "public art" has been standing since May 2016. Originally intended to be displayed for two years, its stay has been extended through the end of 2018, and may stay longer.
But I suppose if you're going to do a bright, random pile of rocks, sure, why not? It's a big desert, and if I want to ignore them, I can drive on by, looking the other way.
On this Friday, I had gotten a reasonably early start, so traffic wasn't an issue. Also, the winds were whipping, so folks weren't staying too long. Well, sure, you still have plenty of people trying to get selfie and expressive poses in front of the rocks, but it wasn't obnoxiously crowded, as I had seen, in the past.
the website says no tripods are allowed onsite, so that wouldn't be possible, anyway). As it was, I just snapped some cell phone shots, stretched my lets for about fifteen minutes, then continued on my way.
Anyway, I'm several hiking events behind in my posts, so I figured I'd get this one up, today. More to follow soon, hopefully!
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
The trailhead for Arch Rock is within White Tanks campground. It's a small, 15-site campsite, with vault toilets but no running water, and no ability to make advanced reservations. Well since I couldn't guarantee myself a spot there, I had to reserve a motel room. The Motel 6 in Twentynine Palms was my choice, as it's relatively cheap, and quite close to the North Entrance.
At the arch, I took a few cell phone shots from both sides of the arch, then launched my planetarium app (Sky Safari 5 Premium) so I could see where the Milky Way would be later that night. I determined that, yes, I could manage a shot of some interest later that night.
I wore a cheap headlamp to light the way during my walk, and the red light function of the headlamp, handheld, to quickly "paint" the arch for foreground illumination in some of the pictures.
Friday, July 6, 2018
I've had a few other hikes since last I posted. Will need to work on getting those blogged and illustrated.