Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash? — Robert Brault
After our rewarding stopover in Delta, Ulrich and I angled southeast, to Capitol Reef National Park and Cathedral Valley.
We made an early start from Duke’s Campground in Hanksville the next morning, driving west on State Route 24 to Cathedral Valley Road, near Caineville. We weren’t making the entire loop tour, only the fifteen or so miles out to The Temples of the Sun and Moon, but it was slow-going due to frequent World Class Washboarding. I parked near the Temples barely five minutes before direct sunlight began spilling into the valley.
Befitting its name, the valley was q-u-i-e-t, and it was all ours. Shouldering our tripods, we wandered pleasantly until the light lost its edge and shadows began to recede. I cooked bacon and scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast then, and was cleaning dishes when the first Jeep tour arrived.
The washboards felt even worse on the return leg, so I took it easy and stopped several times for pictures. Back in Hanksville, we ate lunch at Blondie’s before continuing south on Highway 95.
We take it for granted, but prior to geological expeditions that also provided photographic evidence in the late 1800s, descriptions of the Yellowstone country by the few white men who had visited it were generously considered to be myths, tall tales, or else outright lies.
But are not the dreams of poets and the tales of travellers notoriously false?
—H. P. Lovecraft
White Pocket, a relatively small area near Arizona’s South Coyote Buttes, has become a mecca for photographers. The surreal shapes, colors, and textures stretch imagination. On my last visit I camped out for two days with my friend Ulrich Rossmann. We’d planned to stay a single night, but changed our minds over coffee that evening—then listened to coyotes seconding our decision in the distance, under starlight.
Sunrise teased us with a hint of color the next morning; we’d set up our tripods and found morning compositions in anticipation, and though disappointed that we weren’t seeing Nature’s dawn fireworks I made a few exposures anyway. They languished on a hard drive until this week, when I realized there had been fireworks, just no color. An epic title seemed appropriate, but in the end I named it for the hot brew we’d enjoyed in our little camp, and the fine memory it brings to mind.
In our mixed woods evergreens and oaks are predominant, but several Ponderosa pines have grown tall to accent it with their uniqueness. Unfortunately, the soil isn't sufficient for the pines' long-term needs, either nutritionally or to hold their root systems, and one-by-one they've begun to die and rot away.
This one provided a family of flickers with a cozy cavity for their nest (we watched the young fledge one afternoon, each coming close to the opening several times before finally jumping out and sailing into life), and as the hole continued to rot and enlarge a family of squirrels moved in, and then one winter the sodden weight of rain and snow, combined with thrusts from heavy wind storms, brought the tree down in pieces. Which is where I found it at sunrise yesterday, surrounded by fog and light and a chance for one last hurrah.