Friday, October 5, 2018
This was on a Saturday. I unexpectedly managed to get a campsite at Watchman just a few days in advanced, so it was somewhat spur of the moment. BTW, this stay was in the C-loop. Tents only. What I discovered there is that seemingly everyone in the tent area wants to burn a campfire so I was annoyingly over-smoked the night before. Also, everyone in a tent needs to use the restrooms, so those are almost always occupied. On my previous stay, I was in the A-loop, which permits both tents and campers/rvs. For an extra ten dollars, you get an electrical outlet (which I didn't really need, but which you might want to use to charge your phone or laptop) and a restroom that was little-used, because all the camper and RV people use their own restroom. I've decided it's probably worth the extra ten bucks to camp there.
This trail starts out steep, because you need to climb out of Zion Canyon. It's basically one switchback after another. You look up and seek these sheer red-washed rock cliffs, above you. I.'d estimate a mile or so of that, before you level off into a side slot canyon. Because you're heading up the east side of the Canyon, you'll be in shade in the morning, the whole way up.
Finally, you level off, and it's a largely-flat, 3/4 of a mile or so. Again, outstanding, wide open views over the main Canyon, and also to the East, in spots. If you didn't already know, you'll discover yourself way above Angel's Landing, further down canyon.
Made it back fine, and drove on down to the Las Vegas area. Easy 2 1/2 hours or so. Still, I'm looking forward to the scheduled opening of a couple of more truck stops between Saint George and the Mesquite area. As it is, if I take a restroom break in St. George, it's still a little long to drive all the way to Las Vegas without another stop. So I usually stop either at one of the casinos or at the kind-of-rundown-looking gas station near one of the easily-accessible casinos. I prefer the regular truck stops (Pilot and Flying J, in particular).
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Too early for fall color, and mostly way too late for wildflowers, although there are still some blooming. Lots of sunflowers, near the entrance. I took lots of shots, but nothing special resulted, so I posted none, here.
Monday, September 24, 2018
We had read of the birth of Pallas Cat kittens back in early spring, and made some abstract plans to go see them. But, the fact is, it's a pretty long drive to Salt Lake City, so making this a weekend road trip can be pretty exhausting, even if it's a three day weekend.
the total solar eclipse. I never really managed a proper write up of that trip, though.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
This is a short, 1 mile roundtrip hike. I first hiked this almost 20 years ago, and intended to come back here later this night to photograph the night sky. But I forgot a tripod part, so the night hike got scrubbed. Took night shots at Canyon Junction, instead, which worked out mostly better.
The trailhead is right at the east entrance to the tunnel on the Zion-Mt. Carmel highway. If you're coming from Canyon Junction, there's a small parking lot on the right, immediately after exiting the tunnel. If you miss that, or you're not driving a compact car, there is limited on-the-side-of-the-road parking, mostly on the north side of the road. If you're coming from the east and you don't park soon enough, you're forced to drive through the entire tunnel before you'll find a place to turn around, so don't do that!
according to the Park Service, was built between 1927 and 1930, and was not intended for oversized vehicles, so if you're a large camper or RV, you'll have to pay an extra fee and schedule your passage through. If you're a commercial vehicle, you'll have to go some other way.
But that means everyone who drives may need to wait for a convoy including an oversized vehicle passes one way or the other. I was waiting in just such a queue when I snapped the first shot of this post with my phone camera. Yes, I was stopped.
Right after passing the overhang above, I ran across a small herd of desert bighorn. They were still in the area when I walked back, maybe an hour later. Even without trying, they were no more than twenty yards from me as I passed.
Friday, September 14, 2018
Just took two hikes, neither of which I've posted, yet.
During the overnight, I drove up to Canyon Junction for some Milky Way shots.
Hopefully, next time will be more successful.
Not sure when I'll have time to blog my hikes. The short one, maybe this weekend. The longer one will take longer to sort pictures.
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.