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Thread: Arizona/Utah road trip loop with sandstone/badlands/canyon hikes

  1. #1

    Arizona/Utah road trip loop with sandstone/badlands/canyon hikes

    Man, it’s hard to choose your favourite photos as there’s so much amazing stuff in the South West, so rather than break this up to small trip reports I’ve thrown in this circular road trip into one TR with a small selection of favourite photos from each area.

    (However, when I tried to insert the photos using insert image or manage attachments it was taking forever for each photo to upload one at a time (don't know if that's because of my broadband), so I gave up. I tried to follow the Bogley instructions for add a flickr slideshow, but that didn't work, downloading my whole flickr file still only allowed me to put them on one at a time again, & when I tried upload & the flickr album websiteURL it kept refusing. When I did get photos on they weren't formatted right (too wide), so I've ended up doing a triple copy & paste job off my phone tapatalk app, then off the link that appeared on Bogley & that way they went on quickly & the right size on my PC - but obviously the resolution quality suffered that way. So, if anyone wants to seethe better quality versions click this flickr link)

    After a week of canyons on Lake Powell, from which I'll start with a few shots here.....

    I headed to Monument Valley for a couple of days relaxation, but the planned off-road overnight trip there couldn’t go ahead because a sandstorm had made the 4WD track impassable. Instead I just took in a sunrise and later did the touristy loop tour which, when I last did it about 20 years ago, wasn’t allowed in your own vehicle but now it is..

    A drive to the Vermillion Cliffs gave me about 4 hours to hike around the sandstone domes and slickrock until at sunset I found a patch of beautiful
    Soft sand to lay down for the night,

    Giving the finger!!
    k at


    Excited about what sunrise would bring as there was an area in the distance that I knew nothing about but which looked an interesting place to explore.
    Indeed when I awoke another 2-3 hours of hiking fairly aimlessly flew by.
    My DSLR has been destroyed in a soaking on Lake Powell so these were all taken on an iPhone, and not a recent model. I wonder how much better they might have been with my DSLR.

    Back at the car by late lunchtime, I drove to another nearby area I’d visited a few years ago - this time wandering around with no particular target in mind for another very pleasant 3 hours. It looked promising for pictures and didn’t disappoint.

    Living in Europe, most of my trips have specific places in mind to see so it was fun to do rather more vague exploration in that area.

    The loop then went way out of Arizona/Utah again to somewhere I’d left before feeling I had more to see. Years ago with a small rental not suited to sand I’d stood at the turn off for the 5 miles to Font Point at sunrise without seeing a car. It then got too hot & too late - we had to check out our motel - to hike the somewhat dull & sandy 10 miles. This time I was again disappointed to only get an AWD & not a 4WD but I risked it & I was fine. With increased visitor numbers to the parks there were also two other cars there this time, although it was sunset when more people would go.
    I do love the barrenness of badlands ( as well as the Springsteen song)

    Inspired by that view the next morning I decided to take the longer, sandier & riskier drive to the other best rim point. Sunrise and August with temperatures hitting 110 I would be alone but I reckoned with enough water army 7am I could still hike 10 miles to paved road if the vehicle did get stuck.
    I got 4/5 the way when I reached a steep hill. I could have continued all the way ok but my concern was getting back up it so I hiked the remainder. This view was supposedly not as good but I liked it as much.

    The hike back to the car was ok but I realised why people don’t hike in summer. But I had another slot to do nearby with another 2 miles uphill!
    There’s a few nice slots in the park - not Utah quality - but enjoyable.

    Then after an evening under the Superstitions it was on to Petrified Forest NP.

    Cloudy most of the time, we had a nasty shock at one viewpoint when a sudden thunderclap and bolt of lightning came out of nowhere and sounded really close. We could see a Long way but had not heard or seen anything approaching prior to that & I don’t remember much after.

    A dawn drive to Grand Falls was followed by an eqully grey day until sunset produced a great rainbow.

    The loop was completed by another attempt at the trip in Monument valley but this time forest fire smoke made visibility so bad that it wasn’t worth getting up high for the view.

    So instead another day was spent deeper in the Vermillion Cliffs Monument hiking off the sand tracks courtesy of my friend Jack. There were colourful looking areas of slickrock patterns I’d been frustrated to leave on a previous visit so we were able to check them out more fully. As we headed out Jack picked an inspired spot to camp which fortunately retained water from recent rains.

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  3. #2
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    We're all here, because we ain't all there.
    great trip report.

    This is a great shot at the totem pole, not an easy shot to process but you did well

    I'm not Spartacus

    It'll come back.

    Professional Mangler of Grammar

    Guns don't kill people--Static Ropes Do!!

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  4. Likes kaniukr liked this post
  5. #3
    Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. #4
    I think I said "Holy COW!!" aloud at least a half dozen times. These are amazing!! Thank you for posting these.
    "The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man." -Malcolm X

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  9. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rockgremlin View Post
    I think I said "Holy COW!!" aloud at least a half dozen times. These are amazing!! Thank you for posting these.
    Ha, ha. Thanks. Very kind.

    Out of interest then which were your fave 3. I always find it interesting what others like because I find photos are like music albums. The ones I liked loads at first sometimes slip down in my estimation as for some reason I get a bit bored of them and others retain my ‘really like’ status

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by kaniukr View Post
    Out of interest then which were your fave 3.

    You've got a great eye for composition and lighting. So many of these I would gladly slap up on the wall in a frame, and I think many other folks would as well. If you're not selling your art, you should. There's a healthy market for quality photography. Anyhoo...without further's my three favs.

    Those were my top three. But the following are strong runner ups, and almost made the top 3 list:

    "The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man." -Malcolm X

  11. #7
    Loved them all, but here are my top three:

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