The hope for this past weekend was another tour along Cottonwood Canyon Road (Grand Staircase Escalante). I really want to spend more time in the area, and I will, but not this week. The road was closed 10 miles in due to a rockslide. Not surprising. The road is not well maintained, and issues surrounding who maintains the area still crop up. Talk to any local in the area and they’ll tell you the story…..
Upon discovering the road closure I had no idea what to do in the area…….
Alright, you didn’t believe that for a minute did you? Nah, how could you?
Within reasonable driving distance to Cottonwood Canyon Road you have:
- Paria Canyon
- Buckskin Gulch
- Too many hoodoos to count
- Lake Powell
- Coyote Buttes North
- Coyote Buttes South
- White Pocket
- Lees Ferry
- Antelope Canyon
- Waterholes Canyon
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes
- Red Cave……
Okay, you get the idea. When you’re in the Page area you are surrounded by places to hike, photograph, paddle, cycle, etc. If your heart is set on one place and you don’t get to see it that particular trip my suggestion would be to go home and sulk. If sulking doesn’t work, how about rolling with the change in plans and trying something else? Hmmm? Nobody will pick on you for sulking then!
Realizing I’d have to save Yellow Rock for yet another trip I went into “change in plans” mode. Took a quick trip over to the Paria River Ranger station to see about permits for South Coyote Buttes. I think the folks at the ranger station must get nervous when people stroll in asking about permits. There aren’t any extra permits available for the Wave folks. It’s a lottery. Good luck. But if you’d like, ask them about permits for South Coyote Buttes. You know how many they had for Saturday. All 10. We were the first people to come in for South Coyote Buttes!
For Sunday, what to do, what to do? How about a casual stroll (yeah right) into Buckskin Gulch. While a nice level hike, that river bed hiking can really slow you down. It depends on whether or not water is running, mud is drying, or you’re hitting super sandy patches. You just don’t know. But hiking a 10 mile round trip in the river bed was certainly interesting. And tiring. Did I mention hot? No, probably not. Fortunately the slot canyons where the sun shines for only a short time, were super cool. Great spot to stop for lunch!
And yes, once again the skies really worked with me. People ask me all the time if I fake the skies in my photos. No, I do not. The sky is real. Really real. So, how do I always manage to have cool clouds when I go out shooting?
It’s a special service for select photographers in the Southwest. They’ve also got a hotline for New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. You’ve got to have the right pass code too. And then you get all the clouds you want…….
I’m probably going to loose my pass code now for telling you……..