There are two main reasons why I share these blog posts and images from my photography adventures. First, I enjoy sharing with others, and hope that doing so will provide a brief glimpse of the incredible beauty of our natural world and maybe even provide some inspiration. Another reason is more self-serving, in that I want to document and remember the places that I've been and the amazing things seen along the journey.
On our first full day in Capitol Reef National Park, we ventured into Cathedral Valley to see what we could see. Cathedral Valley is a great place to get lost, and perhaps a place to find yourself. After driving 15 or so miles to the southeast on Highway 24, we turned onto a dusty, gravel/dirt road that would eventually lead back into the park. There are no traffic stops, or traffic for that matter, out here. Just miles and miles of rocky terrain, sandy soil, and roads that change their personality with the seasons and the occasional torrential downpour. This is no place to be without a high clearance vehicle, and no place to be if there is a threat of rain.
After driving for about 26 miles, we arrived at our destination for the morning. The Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun are sandstone monoliths towering above the valley floor, emphasizing our smallness in the grand scheme of things. A variety of scrubby vegetation, some wildflowers, and an occasional juniper tree litter the valley floor. Sand created from erosion of the native bedrock is pervasive. Although we were there in late May, the sun was still powerful overhead. One could only imagine the proverbial oven this place would become in July and August. However, despite the harshness of climate and the desolation (or maybe because of it), life thrives here.
In the couple of hours we were there, we each went our separate ways. Soaking up the scenery and the carefree breezes was a delight. This place is not just peaceful, but ever so quiet. The stillness is immersive, and such a welcome attribute in the otherwise non-stop hustle and bustle of everyday life. Walking in the shadows of the sandstone giants and up one of the numerous washes, as sporadic desert lizards flitter to the safety of the nearest brush at my approach, my mind is filled with imaginings of what it must have been like for those who first explored here. Pleasant thoughts abound and are not quickly forgotten.
Eventually, we felt the need for a hasty exit due to threatening clouds moving into the area, but not before capturing a few memories on the image sensor. A few of those memories are here and I hope you enjoy them....