Willis Creek Canyon, although plenty impressive, doesn't get as much hype as the other canyons in southern Utah. We pretty much had the trail to ourselves. We did cross paths with an elderly couple from Arizona a few miles in, which was random considering the winding washboard of a dirt road you have to take to get to the trailhead. I would guess they were in their 70's. The lady was born and raised in Arizona, which was evident by the wrinkles in her skin due to years of being exposed to the desert sun. She looked rather fragile holding onto her walking stick and to be honest I was a little blown away that she had walked as far as she did with only a single bottle of water to share between the two of them. We struck a brief conversation and continued our own ways. Lovely couple - I wish I would have taken their photo. 👴🏻👵🏼🏜
The hike to Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons off Hole in the Rock Road at Grand Staircase-Escalante was one of my favorites from our last trip to southern Utah. I can't quite put my finger on why squeezing between two rock walls is so much fun? I tore the mesh pockets on my camera bag from rubbing up against the rock, but it was well worth it.
The air was so still and the scenery so motionless that it almost felt like sensory deprivation. I could actually hear my own heartbeat without plugging my ears. No wind, not even the sound of a distant cricket. @george_chaos101 pulled out his guitar and laid out a soundtrack for the Milky Way to dance over our heads, as it rose from one point on the horizon to disappear beyond another ✨
Spent last week driving hundreds of miles, hiking dozens of miles, and taking more pictures than I know what to do with. Utah's National Parks are some of the most awe inspiring places I've ever been to and I'm going to make no attempt to sum up the road trip experience. Instead, here's a single photo with the ever wonderful @centeredinthesaddle in which we attempted to take our sunglasses off.
Hoodoos at #sunset . This is a shot of Grand Staircase - Escalate from my #27monuments project a couple months ago, just as the sun dipped into a hole in these amazing "rock goblins." GSE is one of the #nationalmonuments that Secretary Zinke has recommend Trump reduce. It was one of the highlights of my trip and it's way up at the top of #monuments I hope to revisit. The fight to protect these sacred PUBLIC lands continues. #MonumentsForAll#keepitpublic#connectedstates
Yesterday I got to do this 83 foot rappel and creep pass the little snake at the bottom not once, but three times... Rappelling down the canyon... Rappelling down again to retrieve a stuck rope... and ascending back up the second rope to avoid having to do the whole canyon again... What was the hardest part you ask? Not the climbing back up the rope (though I'm feeling that today), but having to pass that snake with only a couple feet of space between him and the canyon wall!
⛏ Geologist's Heaven ✨
This is Cottonwood Canyon, about halfway between Bryce Canyon and Lake Powell. The white line is the unpaved Cottonwood Canyon Road, a relatively popular cross-country route starting in the south along US89 near milepost 18, and eventually leading past Kodachrome Basin State Park to Cannonville on UT12. Portions of the canyon are lined/bordered by the upturned strata of the Cockscomb - an elongated series of ridges running along the valley, created by erosion of upwardly-pointing folded rock layers.
@stephanie_coralandtusk is on the road, traveling through Utah and Arizona and stopping to visit @nationalparkservice sites along the way! So far she’s visited @brycecanyonnps and one of the 27 national monuments currently up for review, Grand Staircase-Escalante, pictured here. Secretary of the Interior @repryanzinke has proposed to shrink Grand Escalante, risking this incredible pristine land in favor of coal mining and development. Our national parks and monuments provide us with irreplaceable cultural and environmental treasures. Unprotected they will disappear.
On a personal level, our national parks and monuments are some of our favorite places in the entire world! We feel so fortunate to have spent time enjoying the wilderness and wildlife unique to each of them. If you too believe that our public lands should stay public and protected, write your senator today. @nrdc_org has a very helpful form for getting in touch with your representatives here: on.nrdc.org/2vYNm9u .