Friday, November 28, 2014

Bryce’s Inspirational Farewell

While I wished I could stay longer to explore more of Bryce Canyon National Park, the weather forecast was to plunge into high winds and a deep freeze, and my propane tank was nearly empty after running the furnace running nearly non-stop for 3 below-freezing nights.

So, I decided to wake up early for a sunrise photo shoot on my final morning.  Now savvy enough to know that one should avoid Sunrise Point and Sunrise (and Sunset Point at Sunset) if trying to avoid the mob of other park tourists, I decided to drive down to the next overlook, Inspiration Point.

I got my tripod set up with only a few minutes to spare before sunrise, the clouds were showing some nice color, and I, incredibly, was the only person there!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hiking Down Into Bryce Canyon

After seeing Bryce Canyon National Park from the rim at sunset, I was determined to get down into the canyon for a hike the following afternoon.  I reviewed the park handouts and maps and decided to do the moderate-rated Navajo Loop and combine it with an “out and back” jaunt over to the Queen’s Garden while I was down in the canyon.  The total distance would be just over 3 miles with an elevation gain/loss of 550 feet.  A bit of a workout, but very do-able!

Remember this shot from my last post?  A commenter said she was starting to realize the impact that good lighting has on a photograph (such as late afternoon/early morning light versus the mid-day sun).  Well, here’s a perfect example!  This first shot was taken at around 4:30pm, an hour before sunset, as the sun was reflecting incredible “glowing” light off the hoodoos.  Complete magic!

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Now, here’s the same scene the next day as I started my hike (around 1:00pm in the mid-day sun).  Certainly still a great scene with some nice glowing hoodoos, but surely not the magic as the first shot.   Yes, indeed, lighting is a crucial element for a great photo!

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Now, let’s get on with the hike!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

On to Bryce

While it was lovely to see the two National Parks in Moab again (Arches and Canyonlands), the true excitement about planning this year’s visit to Utah would be finally getting to see 2 new National Parks that had long been on my bucket list—Bryce Canyon and Zion. 

I originally thought I’d fit in visits to Capital Reef, Escalante, and drive the entire scenic Highway 12 byway all within the one week I had to get from Moab to Zion.  But, I quickly realized I’d made the classic “new full-timer” mistake of trying to cram simply way too much into too short a timeline.   So, most of those plans got tossed onto the “next time” list, and I focused solely on Bryce for the next few days (with a stop beforehand to “Camp Wally” in Richfield to take care of boring life stuff like grocery shopping and a hair cut!).

The last week of October at Bryce Canyon had a few sunny days forecasted in the low 60’s (with night temps dipping down below freezing).  But it was “now-or-never” as the following week’s temps would go even colder with some first snows predicted.  So, I topped off the propane tank, bundled up, and headed up to 8,000-feet!

As I turned onto Scenic Highway 12 towards Bryce, the sun was beginning to set onto Red Canyon.  The views were getting better and better!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My 1st Slot Canyon – Didn’t Make It Very Far!

Moab graced us with a final glorious sunrise as Suzanne and I prepared to pack up our Winnies and head off to separate canyons.

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Suzanne was headed back to her special place, Snow Canyon, near St. George.  While I had my compass pointed towards Bryce Canyon National Park before cold would make it unbearable.  But on the way, I was determined to visit a little canyon that Box Canyon Mark had once described as “a trip to Disneyland” (with the exception of their most recent ill-timed visit).  I had never hiked a slot canyon before, and was “chomping at the bit” to give Little Wild Horse a ride!

Monday, November 17, 2014

My “Skinnie” Solar System

I’ve added a new tab to my blog’s home page called “Skinnie Solar” which shows pictures and product links to the 300-watt MPPT rooftop bendable solar panel installation on my Skinnie Winnie’s roof.

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