Sixth Sense, October 2010

A Sixth Anniversary Vacation for Abby and Richard

The Fiery Furnace catches the exact moment between the "golden moment" and the "blue hour" to create one of the strongest images of this trip.
The Fiery Furnace catches the exact moment between the “golden moment” and the “blue hour” to create one of the strongest images of this trip.

 Driving to New Mexico

Abby and I drove to Santa Fe, New Mexico at a leisurely pace with our Chihuahuas, Max and Sierra, in Abby’s new Nissan Frontier 4WD pickup, which travels well and comfortably.

 Driving the long route to Moab

Abby photographs the famous San Francisco de Asis Mission in Taos, New Mexico, which Ansel Adams photographed many times during his life.
Abby photographs the famous San Francisco de Asis Mission in Taos, New Mexico, which Ansel Adams photographed many times during his life.

We drove from Santa Fe to Moab, Utah via Taos, the Rio Grande Gorge, Tres Piedras, Chama, Pagosa Springs, Colorado, Durango, Cortez, and Monticello, Utah.

We stopped and made excellent pictures together at the San Francisco de Asis Church. Neither of us had ever photographed it.

Our route continued via the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, where there were roadside vendors. Abby bought several gifts for her co-workers.

San Francisco de Asis Church, Taos, New Mexico; the light was down, so we didn't shoot all that many images.
San Francisco de Asis Church, Taos, New Mexico; the light was down, so we didn’t shoot all that many images.
Statue at the San Francisco de Asis Church with The Magic Sky, which did not appear to be open, behind it.
Statue at the San Francisco de Asis Church with The Magic Sky, which did not appear to be open, behind it.
A colorful yet cliched vision of Taos, New Mexico.
A colorful yet cliched vision of Taos, New Mexico.
Another view of the beautiful San Francisco de Asis Church in Taos.
Another view of the beautiful San Francisco de Asis Church in Taos.
Abby makes pictures at the home of the Earthship Houses in New Mexico.
Abby makes pictures at the home of the Earthship Houses in New Mexico.
Glass bottles in wall, part of the Earthship House design, northern New Mexico.
Glass bottles in wall, part of the Earthship House design, northern New Mexico.
Richard makes pictures of a wall at one of the Earth Ship homes near Tres Piedras, New Mexico.
Richard makes pictures of a wall at one of the Earth Ship homes near Tres Piedras, New Mexico.
Tires and aluminum cans also figure in the Earthship design, which emphasizes recycling.
Tires and aluminum cans also figure in the Earthship design, which emphasizes recycling.
An Earthship archway, fashioned from various bottles and cans.
An Earthship archway, fashioned from various bottles and cans.
Muscian at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge northwest of Taos, New Mexico.
Musician at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge northwest of Taos, New Mexico.
Nuts and bolts of the impressive steel Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
Nuts and bolts of the impressive steel Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
Abby and I make eyes at each other at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, in the exact spot where Oliver Stone filmed the famous "Mickey and Mallory Knox wedding scene" for his 1993 film Natural Born Killers.
Abby and I make eyes at each other at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, in the exact spot where Oliver Stone filmed the famous “Mickey and Mallory Knox wedding scene” for his 1993 film Natural Born Killers.
Abby smiles as she photographs the EarthShip House northwest of Taos, New Mexico.
Abby smiles as she photographs the EarthShip House northwest of Taos, New Mexico.

Just up the road was the Earthship Biotecture World Headquarters, which is a commune-style cluster of homes dedicated to living off the grid using sustainable means and recycling items like cans, bottles, and tires to build their structures. I had stopped at a different place in that same cluster in 2007, a competitor called “World’s Nest.” Abby and I made some unique images.

We shot several locations in the mountains of northern New Mexico.

At Chama, we got an excellent late lunch at a place called High Country. We pulled into Moab after dark.

U. S. 84 in the Carson National Forest, northern New Mexico
U. S. 84 in the Carson National Forest, northern New Mexico
Brazos Peak near Chama, New Mexico
Brazos Peak near Chama, New Mexico
Another view of the Aspens in the Carson National Forest; since Abby and I usually travel in October, one of our traditions is photographing high country autumn foliage.
Another view of the Aspens in the Carson National Forest; since Abby and I usually travel in October, one of our traditions is photographing high country autumn foliage.

 Delicate Arch and the Windows

We left the dogs at the hotel for our traditional hike to Delicate Arch, where we got married. It was a cool day with a breeze, but abundant sunshine kept us warm. The hiking went fairly slow due to Abby’s knees, but despite quite a bit of pain, she was determined to make it, and did fine. Tons of friendly people wished us happy anniversary. Near the top of the trail, I broke from the route and made a short move north into a series of pinnacles while Abby continued to the arch. It was a worthwhile detour, as I saw some neat stuff, and made a couple of images that improved my perspective on the overall landscape.

This is the iconic view of Delicate Arch visitors see when they arrive. As many times as I have seen it, it never gets old.
This is the iconic view of Delicate Arch visitors see when they arrive. As many times as I have seen it, it never gets old.
Abby photographs a dead tree on the Delicate Arch trail in Arches National Park, Utah.
Abby photographs a dead tree on the Delicate Arch trail in Arches National Park, Utah.
Sunshine on the dead tree, Delicate Arch trail.
Sunshine on the dead tree, Delicate Arch trail.
"That's my husband up there. He's part mountain goat."
“That’s my husband up there. He’s part mountain goat.”
I move along a ridge above the Delicate Arch trail.
I move along a ridge above the Delicate Arch trail.
This was my view from above the trail; despite hiking to the Arch many times, this was the first time I explored this route.
This was my view from above the trail; despite hiking to the Arch many times, this was the first time I explored this route. If you know where to look (upper right), you can see the top of Delicate Arch in this frame.
This tighter view from above the trail makes it easier to see Delicate Arch.
This tighter view from above the trail makes it easier to see Delicate Arch in the upper right portion of the frame.
The standard view of Delicate Arch; though we have been here many times, it never gets old or less beautiful.
The standard view of Delicate Arch; though we have been here many times, it never gets old or less beautiful.
Two-panel panograph of Delicate Arch showing the slickrock bowl below it.
Two-panel panograph of Delicate Arch showing the slickrock bowl below it.
With my wife where it all started six years earlier.
With my wife where it all started six years earlier.
I climbed up a small cliff to photograph Delicate Arch through Frame Arch.
I climbed up a small cliff to photograph Delicate Arch through Frame Arch.
The view through Frame Arch.
The view through Frame Arch.
Making pictures on the Delicate Arch trail.
Making pictures on the Delicate Arch trail.
The South Window in The Windows section of Arches.
The South Window in The Windows section of Arches.
Turret Arch is also in The Windows section of Arches.
Turret Arch is also in The Windows section of Arches.
A visitor poses for a photo in the South Window.
A visitor poses for a photo in the North Window.
View looking south from The Windows area.
View looking south from The Windows area.
Our shadows on the trail in The Windows section.
Our shadows on the trail in The Windows section.
Abby walks the short trail at Balanced Rock, looking for images.
Abby walks the short trail at Balanced Rock, looking for images.
Deadwood and desert, last light, Balanced Rock, Arches National Park.
Deadwood and desert, last light, Balanced Rock, Arches National Park.
Another beautiful piece of deadwood at Balanced Rock.
Another beautiful piece of deadwood at Balanced Rock.
Balanced Rock.
Balanced Rock.
This view from Balanced Rock shows Turret Arch and The Windows section to the east.
This view from Balanced Rock shows Turret Arch and The Windows section to the east.
A broader view looking east from Balanced Rock.
A broader view looking east from Balanced Rock.
Looking north from Balanced Rock showing the Fiery Furnace.
Looking north from Balanced Rock showing the Fiery Furnace.
At the Fiery Furnace, Arches, sunset.
At the Fiery Furnace, Arches, sunset.

After Delicate Arch, we drove over to The Windows section, which Abby had never visited, and made a few decent images, followed by a quick sunset visit to Balanced Rock. Abby discovered a portion of desert varnish in The Windows that she swore looked to her like a fresco of Christ, but I was unable to visualize it.

For dinner we walked from our hotel room to Moab Brewery, possibly our favorite place to eat in Moab, and had a veritable orgasm of dining.

In all, it was an excellent day; Abby and I loved sharing this time together.

Richard and Abby at Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah.
Richard and Abby at Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah.

 Abby’s Day Off

Abby stayed in our room with the dogs while I hiked the Onion Creek Bench trail and the Porcupine Rim trail in the morning. After lunch, explored the Garden of Eden section of Arches, followed by Double Arch. I drove to the Delicate Arch Overlook and hiked some distance to the east, where I was able to make some very interesting images. At sunset I photographed the Fiery Furnace, and made some exceptional images.

I planned to be in the vicinity of the Fiery Furnace around sunset, and made this image, which I believe is my favorite of the trip.
I planned to be in the vicinity of the Fiery Furnace around sunset, and made this image, which I believe is my favorite of the trip.

• Introducing Abby to Canyonlands

I took Abby to the Island in the Sky district at Canyonlands, where we hiked the Grand View Point trail and the White Rim Overlook trail, both among my favorite short trails.

Abby and I pose at the end of the Grand View Point trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Abby and I pose at the end of the Grand View Point trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

• Shopping in Moab, then Driving Home

Abby and I took a day off to shop for souvenirs in downtown Moab, Utah. Our drive home cooks us through New Mexico to Tucumcari for the night, followed by an uneventful drive home.

Additional images:

Predawn fog, Moab, Utah.
Predawn fog, Moab, Utah.
Tree and cliff, morning, Onion Creek Benches trail northeast of Moab, Utah.
Tree and cliff, morning, Onion Creek Benches trail northeast of Moab, Utah.
Looking west from the Porcupine Rim trail showing the Colorado River below.
Looking west from the Porcupine Rim trail showing the Colorado River below.
Tree and Colorado River, Porcupine Rim trail.
Tree and Colorado River, Porcupine Rim trail.
Near the bottom of the Porcupine Rim trail.
Near the bottom of the Porcupine Rim trail.
Sign on Utah 128, 20 miles from Moab.
Sign on Utah 128, 20 miles from Moab.
The Garden of Eden section of Arches National Park.
The Garden of Eden section of Arches National Park.
Eye-like openings, Garden of Eden.
Eye-like openings, Garden of Eden.
No one at the visitor center could tell me the name of this irregular arch in the Garden of Eden.
No one at the visitor center could tell me the name of this irregular arch in the Garden of Eden.
This is the same arch from the other side of the fin.
This is the same arch from the other side of the fin.
Natural arch, Garden of Eden.
Natural arch, Garden of Eden.
This large sandstone spire dominates the Garden of Eden area.
This large sandstone spire dominates the Garden of Eden area.
This high dynamic range image shows Double Arch, the largest natural arch in The Windows section at Arches.
This high dynamic range image shows Double Arch, the largest natural arch in The Windows section at Arches.
Detail, Double Arch.
Detail, Double Arch.
The short trail to Double Arch in late afternoon light.
The short trail to Double Arch in late afternoon light.
This image was made from the Delicate Arch viewpoint, which is across a deep canyon from the Arch. Note the visitor on the slope of the canyon in the lower right portion of the frame. I would not have thought a hiker could safely get to that spot.
This image was made from the Delicate Arch viewpoint, which is across a deep canyon from the Arch. Note the visitor on the slope of the canyon in the lower right portion of the frame. I would not have thought a hiker could safely get to that spot.
Frame Arch and Delicate Arch are both visible in this image.
Frame Arch and Delicate Arch are both visible in this image.
This two-panel panograph shows the entire Delicate Arch area from across the canyon. Until this day, I had not made any decent images from this spot. (Click to view it larger.)
This two-panel panograph shows the entire Delicate Arch area from across the canyon. Until this day, I had not made any decent images from this spot. (Click to view it larger.)
Abby makes images at the end of the Grand View Point trail at Canyonlands. It was her first time to visit Canyonlands, which has been one of my favorite places for years.
Abby makes images at the end of the Grand View Point trail at Canyonlands. It was her first time to visit Canyonlands, which has been one of my favorite places for years.
A very mature trail cairn on the Grand View Point trail.
A very mature trail cairn on the Grand View Point trail.
View looking west from the end of the Grand View Point trail.
View looking west from the end of the Grand View Point trail.
Candlestick Tower from the Grand View Point trail.
Candlestick Tower from the Grand View Point trail.
Making pictures on the Grand View Point trail.
Making pictures on the Grand View Point trail.
Monument Basin and Hatch Point from the Grand View Point trail.
Monument Basin and Hatch Point from the Grand View Point trail.
Rock slide in the vicinity of Murphy Basin.
Rock slide in the vicinity of Murphy Basin.
With Abby on the Grand View Point trail.
With Abby on the Grand View Point trail.
Three-panel panograph of the view at the end of the White Rim Overlook trail. Canyonlands.
Three-panel panograph of the view at the end of the White Rim Overlook trail. Canyonlands. (Click to view larger.)
Abby photographs the view on the White Rim Overlook trail.
Abby photographs the view on the White Rim Overlook trail.
Making pictures on the White Rim Overlook trail.
Making pictures on the White Rim Overlook trail.
The Shafer Trail Road, which leads off the Island in the Sky Mesa at Canyonlands to the White Rim.
The Shafer Trail Road, which leads off the Island in the Sky Mesa at Canyonlands to the White Rim.
Abby takes in the view at the end of the White Rim Overlook trail in the Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands National Park.
Abby takes in the view at the end of the White Rim Overlook trail in the Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands National Park.
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5 Comments

  1. Really excellent travelogue and image collection. A couple of the images, all you’d need is a prop spacesuit to convince me you were on another world.

    (Note to self: Keep your eye out for a discount prop spacesuit.)

    Thanks for taking the time to put all this together; it really feels like a documentary story of your trip. 🙂

  2. I don’t believe Brazos Peak or The Fiery Furnace could be done any better than you have here.

    With so many of these images I simply find the light to be like a fresh squeeze of life.

    Thanks Man.

    PS -That shadowface tempts me for vision quest.
    I just see a thirsting soul in terrified awe, meeting …

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