A link to this incredible image of Everest was making its way around the interwebs yesterday. It’s a 2 Gpx image of Mt Everest that is pannable and zoomable, and I spent more time than I probably should have scanning the image for tents, people, prayer flags, and more. It’s like a giant where’s Waldo. Here are a few gems I found:
Day two of our Havasu adventure was set aside for exploring the area. We started off by spending the morning downstream at Mooney Falls, a side canyon, and a natural water park off the beaten track. After lunch back at the campsite we headed upstream to Hidden Falls, New Indian/New 50-Foot Falls, and New Navajo/Rock Falls. That night we wrapped up the experience with an #omniten group photograph in front of Havasu Falls.
Arches National Park Continued! (read Part 1 here)
For our afternoon at Arches National Park we had decided to sign up for the Ranger-led tour of the Fiery Furnace, a complex labyrinth of deep and narrow canyons, arches, pinnacles, and fins. Though small enough for dayhikes, people aren’t allowed to enter the Fiery Furnace unless on one of these guided hikes or by obtaining a permit from the park.
From above it looks relatively harmless, much like the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. However, unlike Bryce’s developed paths there are no formal trails through the formations. It is clearly easy to become disoriented and lost. Although not usually our style, since it was our first visit we decided to go along on one of the guided hikes. It sounded fun – three hours of interpretive hiking and scrambling with a small group of other people. We arrived at the trailhead about half an hour early where we had a picnic lunch and met our friendly and knowledgeable young ranger and fellow hikers.
When you sign up for the hike they warn of the uneven terrain and scrambling along the route. No young children are allowed and they show pictures of some of the moves required. I scoffed a bit at it but once in there I was suitably impressed – it was real scrambling and definitely a step beyond what a typical hiker might be comfortable with. The problem was that there were a couple of people on our hike who, from the beginning, were clearly going to have problems with it and the ranger did not require them to turn back when they had the chance. These people needed a lot of coaching and hand holding and while the ranger did an excellent job getting them through the obstacles, the rest of the group had to take on a lot of the effort as well which detracted from the experience for everyone.
Anyways, back to the tour. It was really interesting and fun to follow a guide and not have to think about our route. The ranger took us through the maze of formations with appropriate discussions about the geology, biology, and history. I really had fun and highly recommend it. Unfortunately, due to the slower folks the tour went on much longer than it should have and we had to rush to make our final and most exciting destination – Delicate Arch at sunset.
Ever since we had decided to visit Arches I wanted to make sure we got to Delicate Arch, the most well-known formation in the park, for sunset. Throughout the afternoon we had watched threatening looking clouds shroud the sky and I was doubtful that we’d get that famous orange-red glow, but that didn’t make me want to visit any less.
From the Fiery Furnace parking we made a beeline to the Delicate Arch trailhead. Sunset was at 6:30 and it is 1.5 miles with about 500 ft of elevation gain to the arch. We parked at 5:50. I grabbed my cameras, my pack, and a jacket and took off down the trail. Had I not been in such a hurry I would have taken my time to enjoy the walk but I had a goal. As I rounded the corner at the end of the trail I was greeted with the beautiful view of Delicate Arch as well as a large crowd of people waiting for the golden moment.
I found a spot and sat down. Only then did I look to the sky to see if we’d get the glow. There were heavy clouds to the west that were currently causing a rather dull light, but I was encouraged by a small gap of clear sky between the clouds and the horizon. Sure enough, in just a few minutes the sun started peeking through and the Arch took on a light glow. For the next ten minutes Delicate Arch went through the entire spectrum of oranges and reds, a stunning performance by Mother Nature.
Everyone was clicking away (as was I), but I kept putting my camera down to just bask in the moment. It really was a remarkable experience; it’s no wonder that people are drawn to this place.
Once the light faded we quickly packed up and quickly headed back to the car in the diminishing ambient light of dusk. From the trailhead it was a short drive to the park’s campground where we had booked a site. Gambling with the weather we slept in the back of the truck, and fortunately we stayed dry.
In the morning we packed up the truck and drove over to the Landscape Arch trailhead. The clouds were more imminently threatening this morning so I carried all my rain gear for the short, one mile hike to Landscape Arch. It is a good thing I did. Just as we reached the arch it began raining, and for a few moments rained pretty hard. I had to stash my camera away, but I’m glad we waited out the brief thundery squall because the sky on the return hike was glorious. Unfortunately we still moved pretty quickly because it was cold!
After Landscape Arch we headed into Moab for breakfast and gas. From there we’d head south to Canyonlands and lands beyond.
I am in Germany for business this week but wanted to get a quick “Photo Thursday” out there. This is not an artistically earthshattering photo, but it’s still one of my favorites from 2011. It is a shot of Mt Shasta taken on January 30, 2011, from an uncomfortable economy seat of a United 747. I had been on the plane for about 9 hours (this was the return flight from my last trip to Germany) and was dozing off when the pilot announced that we were approaching Mt Shasta and he would dip the wings so we would get a good view. I’ve been on this flight several times and have never had a pilot do this, so I dug out my camera and captured the view below.
I spent a few days around Christmas playing in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California. The rock formations here are really fun to scramble around and you can see all kinds of shapes and characters in the angles.
Click for larger.
Although it’s been seemingly quiet on the calipidder.com blog lately, it’s getting to be a busy summer around here. I’m not just talking about backpacking, although rest assured there will be plenty of that.
I originally started this site when I moved to California and wanted an easy way to share photos and trip reports of my exploration of this amazing state with my family back home in Michigan. It’s grown into a lot more and it’s time to let Calipidder evolve to the next stage.
I have a bunch of things up my sleeve and I can’t wait to roll everything out over the next couple of months. Things to look forward to:
- A complete redesign that allows me to separate topic areas in a more distinct way: trip reports, gear reviews, photography, etc. The new design will allow me to feature photography a bit better and it has a much cleaner design that goes nicely with the release of WordPress 3.0.
- Migration of all photos to Smugmug. I’ve been putting photos there for a while, but I have years worth of older photos on my own installation of the open source Zenphoto gallery software. Unfortunately it is very buggy with a large photo library, so adding new photos was just making it worse - I apologize to all those who I know have had problems. During this migration I’m suffering from a few broken links in old posts but everything should be cleaned up soon.
- Live reporting from Summer Outdoor Retailer. I’ll be featuring new product announcements and cool new gadgets throughout the first week of August
- A partnership with Everytrail.com. I’ve already written up a guide to the High Sierra Trail and have more guides coming out soon. I’ll be writing a lot more about this partnership.
- Gear giveaways with partners in the outdoor industry.
- And, of course, many more trip reports.
Naturally my summer is busy with a bunch of backpacking, but I’m working on these things with every spare moment I have. If I’m a bit silent on the front end of things here, it’s to prepare for all the changes to come.