Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Vacation Part 5 - Moab, UT

After leaving Mesa Verde, we started driving towards Moab. I was hoping to get to Arches National Park in time to get some late afternoon shots. It seemed a long way from Cortez to Moab, but only around 3 hours. As we started getting closer to Moab, the clouds starting picking up - darn. But we ventured on to Arches. We quickly did the drive and a couple of pull-offs. I was able to get a couple of decent shots of the Balanced Rock and we were able to get some pretty decent shots of the Window - both North and South Windows. But I was totally disappointed with what I got of the Delicate Arch - the most famous of the arches in the park. I was too far away and the light was no good at all - the sun was disappearing behind the clouds and behind the peaks.

We had dinner at the Moab Brewery. It was really good food and a fun atmosphere. I had a really good dark ale that's their seasonal winter brew. Mark decided we needed a picture to show the guys back at the Cypress Off-Road group that meets at a sports bar on the northwest side of town.

So I told Mark I wanted to try again the next morning to get a shot of the Delicate Arch with the morning sun. As we were driving up the park road the next morning, a thin strip of clouds passed over the sun. I was yelling, "Noooooooooo!!!" in my mind. But we went ahead and parked at the pull-off and I hauled out the tripod and my 200-500 mm lens - the big gun! Just as I got everything set up, Mark told me it looked like the clouds were going to thin out and I should get a little more sun. Miraculously, the clouds totally disappeared - and I was pleased!!!

We drove further into the park, and I took a ton of pictures. I wasn't happy with all of them as there was just a little residual haze that washed out some of the glorious colors in the pictures. But I did get some decent shots - enough to evoke memories for a long time to come.

Now, Arches was one of the places that Mark wanted to go offroad. And there was a trail that took off right next to the Delicate Arch parking lot. I knew he was disappointed. But he was the one that came up with the idea to photograph the rental car. We're going to paste the photos in the Jeep and tell it - "See you could have been here, but no, you had to go and get stubborn and refuse to leave New Mexico!"

We decided on touring the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park since it was on the way back towards Durango. Canyonlands is so huge that there is no way that you can do justice to the park in one day. And I would recommend being in shape and being able to hike some of the trails. But I was still able to get some pretty good shots. And we saw a lot more deer traveling to and from the park. In fact, we had to wait for about a dozen doe to cross the road in front of us.

Another site that we visited on the way to Canyonlands was Newspaper Rock. It has a bunch of petroglyphs dating back up to 2000 years ago. It was pretty impressive and I wasn't able to do justice to the whole thing, although I did get some shots of individual groupings of drawings.

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