There’s something amazingly mesmerizing and euphoric about spending the day in one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen. The day that Willie and I spent in Coyote Gulch Canyon, part of Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument just blew my mind and made any regrets I had about ditching work disappear immediately. I started my new job at SmugMug a few weeks earlier and had been a bit nervous taking 3 days off so soon. Surrounded myself with gigantic red sandstone walls, yellow Cottonwood trees, a light stream of water, and grand views just couldn’t be beat and work was more than happy to let me go and enjoy the scenery!
Getting to this spot was a bit tricky. Not impossible and not all that difficult but it’s not something a “normal” person would do. First we had to drive over a fairly bumpy dirty/pebble road making sure to avoid sharp rocks that would shred our tires. Once parked we had a ~10 mile round-trip hike through the desert with no trail and only cairns to guide you. The trail leads you to the top edge of the canyon and from there you have to find your way down a very precarious steep decline into the valley. Luckily some friendly neighbors had tied ropes to the rock to aid in getting down and back up. Another mile or two hiking in the river, “Zion Narrows Style” and we finally made it to Swiss Cheese Falls.
I love the way the rocks draw beautiful lines from the waterfall while a beautiful autumn Cottonwood Tree burns yellow amongst the red rock backdrop. The angle of the sun caused the red rock to glow for hours while we explored further into the canyon. Willie and I didn’t want to leave what we considered one of the best hikes we’ve ever done. Every time I look at this photo I want to be back there, without a care in the world, soaking in the sun and the scenery.
Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/10, 0.8 sec, ISO 100
3 image focus stack