Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Great Outdoors

I decided to keep a Journal for my adventures this past weekend. If you want a closer look at the pictures, click on them.


July 2, 2011


Jeanine’s in town this weekend. She decided to invite her in-laws and the Holladay family up for a camping trip in American Fork Canyon. Naturally, an invitation was extended to me as well.

Shots taken while coming out of American Fork Canyon. Hurray for me finally figuring out photography water settings. Pretty effects, no?

The ride up here last night was filled with such intoxicating alpine smells and visions splendor that I more than once lifted up the visor on my helmet to howl at the sun kissed rocks in the canyon. I must have sounded like a freakin’ lunatic.

The plan today is to descend the canyon and head south to Goblin Valley. I have a craving for some alone time, and I suspect I will succeed in getting it. On to the red rock!


I’ve made it to Price, UT—so I’m more than halfway. My arms are burnt to a bloody crisp. I know I should probably put some lotion on, but I stupidly left my supply inside my tied luggage.

The ride has been beautiful, if not somewhat uncomfortable. Such is life in the saddle, I guess. The sky and rock combinations have been very distracting: everything here looks like Maynard Dixon Painting wanting to break free.

Somewhere between Price and Goblin I encountered what used to be a gas station with a bunch of llamas in front of it. It was too funny to miss getting a couple of shots. Aren't those expressions priceless?


I’ve touched down in Goblin. It’s hotter than hell. I’ve spent the last hour looking for a way to sneak into the park. No such luck. Looks like I’ll have to pay the $7 to get inside.

The "Slot" I stayed in.

Despite this monetary setback, my surroundings are incredible. I parked the bike in a quasi-slot canyon, and the silence and shade are doing wonders for me. My arms are still bacon strips, but the fluorescent blue sky and red rock are magnificent. I hope to camp in this slot later tonight.


Life works out. I came into the park and there was no ranger at the entrance. Looks like I’ll get the shots I wanted for free. Sweet.

It’s weird seeing the “goblins.” They look slightly smaller than I remember them being. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been here for five or six years, and Jaime and Kami aren’t here to tell me tall tales and angsty stories to make the surroundings magically come to life and swallow me whole.

July 3, 2011

Sometime late night/early morning…

I waited out the sunset in Goblin Valley, and I got some pretty amazing shots. Then I came back to the “campsite,” and that’s when all the trouble began. (I thought it was a little too convenient that the perfect site, with the perfect pile of free wood, and the perfect view was available without any hassle at all.)

Pretty sweet set up, right?

I built a fire, started listening to some Brandi Carlile, and wrote a letter to Jaime (the kind I always used to write her when we were living together—chalk full of silliness, secrets and vows of friendship). It was getting kind of late—about 11:00—and I thought it was time for me to hit the sack.

As I started walking away from the dying fire, I heard what could only be described as the sound of an insanely rabid cricket beast thingy. Then the logical thought occurred to me, “That sounds a bit like a rattle snake. [Pause] Nah!” I grabbed a stick from the fire and walked over to my air mattress, about twenty yards away. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong, so I forgot about it.

The stick that saved my life.

A few minutes later, I set up my camera to attempt some star trails before I went to bed (this task was not as successful as I might have hoped). I turned out all the lights, and then I heard the most terrifying sound I’ve ever heard in my life coming from a foot away. It was made very clear to me by my sense of self preservation that I was not dealing with a beast cricket after all. There was in fact a rattle snake slithering underneath my tripod, when I turned on my headlamp. Before he could properly coil, I grabbed the fire stick from the ground and aimed for his neck. I hit him as hard as I possibly could, and then I crushed his head for good measure.

"George" didn't make it.

Looks as though I’ll not be getting much sleep tonight. I really need to buy a tent.


I was correct in my prediction: I didn’t get much sleep last night. Between the burnt purple arms, the balmy warmth and the warranted dread of death by snake, I maybe got three hours of sleep.

I was then politely awoken by five hungry ravens this morning at approximately 5:30. They were busy picking off the bats that were flying directly above my head. It was a bizarre scene: bugs flying around, bats chasing them, and then ravens chasing the bats. Talk about observing the great circle of life first hand.

The sunrise as I left Goblin.

I made it to Capitol Reef a few hours later, and let me just say now, “What a freakin’ disappointment.” The ride from Goblin to the park was prettier than the park. Oh well.

The top two were in the middle of nowhere. The last is Capitol Reef.

It’s been a pretty eventful weekend, so I guess I can’t really be all that disappointed. Besides, there are many more adventures to be had before this summer is done. I'm so lucky to live in Utah!