Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Images From Northern Arizona

Mother nature has been pretty tough on the entire country this winter (I know my back is killing me from all the shoveling) and the desert southwest has been no exception. Wave after wave of rain and snowstorms have made their way across the region in an unrelenting procession. Because of this, I felt fortunate that the weather cooperated for two of the four days I recently spent in northern Arizona. It was particularly fortunate that the day spent guiding a client into North Coyote Buttes and the Wave was nothing short of spectacular. Since visitation to this area is only allowed via a hard to obtain permit, one must roll the dice with the weather and hope for the best. Well, we definitely rolled a lucky number seven on this day! The only bummer was that there were no cool reflection pools in the Wave from the previous day's rain. On the positive side, it keeps me motivated to return until I finally get those conditions! Dang...I gotta keep going back to the Wave!!!

An Abstract View Of The Wave

Of course, the Wave is just one of the incredibly interesting features that can be found in North Coyote Buttes. Sandstone teepees, brain rocks, arches, and other whimsical formations are everywhere. It's easy to spend the entire day exploring the area and getting creative with your photography.

Rene About To Take A Bite Of Hamburger Rock
Last, but not least, no day is complete without photographing the incredible sandstone formation known as the Second Wave until its overcome by shadows late in the day. Just make sure you have a gps (or a good map and compass) to help find your way back to the trailhead in the waning light. It can be a little tricky, especially if it's your first time there.

The Second Wave
After spending an entire day in North Coyote Buttes, my plan the next day was to visit a little known canyon deep within the Hopi reservation. While Blue Canyon is definitely what I'd call remote, it's sheer beauty definitely warrants a visit. Its collection of white and red capped hoodoo formations make you wonder what planet you're really on!

Blue Canyon's Fragile Hoodoos

The problem this day was that the weather didn't look like it was going to cooperate. Cloudy morning conditions had me considering an early trip home as the next wave of stormy weather was supposed to arrive in full force the next day. Instead, I kicked myself in the rear and drove to it under the guise that it would be a scouting mission. Funny thing happened on this scouting mission...the weather unexpectedly improved and I was actually forced to pull out my camera and use it! While I lost my light about an hour before sunset, I was able to come away with some respectable, if not spectacular, shots from this otherworldly place. It was a nice introductory experience for many return trips, I'm sure. The other issue hastening my early exit from the area was an approaching rain storm. Blue Canyon is not a place you want to drive in or out of when the roads are wet. Even with four wheel drive, you'll simply slide off the road. Also, flooded wash crossings in either direction will more than likely cut off any chance of escape. Seeing as I had no camping equipment on this trip, it was time to get the heck outta dodge and make my way back home!

Storm Approaching Blue Canyon

On a final note, I want to make mention about the thing that really struck me during my visit to this canyon, and that was the fragility of the place. The caps of several hoodoos were lying on the ground throughout the area (as shown above) and its amazing that others are still intact given the extreme weather this area is subjected to. It's a reminder to please tread lightly when visiting this beautiful creation of nature. We don't need to hasten this process of destruction!

To see more images from this short excursion to North Coyote Buttes and Blue Canyon, click on the link below...

Northern Arizona Image Collection

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