Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Nighttime in Kolob Canyons, July 26, 2019

On Friday, July 26, I started off on a quick weekend trip up to southern Utah. Unfortunately, I worked the previous several nights (and days, of course), so I had to pack that morning. Packing and getting on the road took longer than I had hoped. I was already catching Las Vegas-bound traffic. But it turned out to be even worse after I passed north of Las Vegas.
There's a long-term construction project going on in the Virgin River Gorge. Several bridges were undercut in downpours last year, so they have not been safe for full traffic loads. Until at least early 2020, traffic through the gorge will be limited to less than 10 feet in width (not a factor for me obviously) and a single lane along varying sections. The result is some serious delays in both directions on many days. Not sure if the suggested detour would actually save time, though I might consider it if the alternative were peak-time travel on I-15.
By the time I got to my motel room in Hurricane, Utah, my original plan of doing some afternoon hiking in Cedar Breaks was not practical. Might have been able to try something short in Zion's main canyon, but that would also have had very little light.
Besides, part of my original plan was to end the day of hiking with some night photography in Kolob Canyons. I kind of wanted to do THAT on the way up to Arches and Capitol Reef, back at the end of April. But on that trip, it was cold and probably cloudy, and I knew I could always return in the summer for the same shots, but at a more reasonable hour, and warmer temperatures.
Hey, look, there's my car. :D

The first few shots in this post were as twilight began. You can even see a few stars in those first few shots. It was somewhat cloudy, and I was far from sure I'd be able to get any shots that night But it wound up clearing, and I did have fun I also got bitten by various bugs, unfortunately. But, still, a good trip.
These were all from the parking lot at the hairpint turn, about halfway up the five mile drive in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion. There's an unpopularized cross-country route for a short hike up a canyon there. I'll have to try that some time, when I'm here in the daylight.

The next day, I visited Cedar Breaks for the wildflowers, then headed back down to Las Vegas. The southbound drive was faster than the northbound drive, but this was Saturday. I suspect the Sunday traffic is worse, both ways.

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