Admiring, Vacation

Sympathy for the [hike to] Devil [‘s Bridge]

Please allow me to introduce myself…

{{Sorry if this causes you an unwanted ear worm, but I couldn’t resist. The hike to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona was not easy.  Lend a sympathetic ear and I will tell you all about it. (groan/eye roll/cheesy grin)}}

It started out pleasant enough.


Interesting looking flora…_NLG3575

Beautiful scenery…


Beautiful, yes, but not much shade… OH LOOK!  Mountain-shaped shade!

cool cloud, huh?

The problemS began when we realized where we parked was nowhere near the trailhead.  We started out on a primitive trail.

my people

About 2 miles in, we saw a sign that the trailhead was “that way” (arrow pointing farther down the road)

is that it? please tell me that's it
is that it? please tell me that’s it

About a mile after that, we saw the trail head.  The actual hike up to the bridge from that point is only 0.7 mi, but by that time, the joy of “let’s go hiking!” was gone.  It was replaced by “we came all this way and *now* we have to climb up to the top of that rock?!”  We were hot and tired (we had Camelbaks because none of us had a deliberate death wish when we started out) and the youngest in our group was just d-o-n-e-done.  Since I’m the momma, I had to surrender as well.

Long story short, the only view I got was OF Devil’s Bridge rather than FROM Devil’s Bridge.


I was disappointed since I didn’t get the shot I had hoped to get (from the top), so I played with sun flare to make myself feel better.

this ended up being my favorite shot

It’s funny how the little things can brighten your day.  Literally.

Thoughts, Travel, Vacation

Changing Light in the Grand Canyon

What is the single most important element required in making a photograph?


There are many aspects of that single element that affect how a photo turns out – quality, strength, color, angle.  In a studio setting, all of these aspects are within the control of the person making the exposure.  In nature?  Notsomuch.  You are at the mercy of the sun.

I was able to see the landscape of the Grand Canyon change over the course of the day simply because of the changing light.  Unfortunately, we stayed about an hour away from the park, so I wasn’t able to make it there in time to see the sunrise.  BOO!  (Hello, Bucket List item!)

We arrived at the South Rim at mid-day and the sun was directly overhead, which caused the canyons to look like this:


The colors are there, but the photo looks “flat” to me.  I was able to gauge depth in person, but it’s hard to tell by looking at these photos how deep the canyon is.


As the sun moves across the sky, the cracks and crevices begin to pop.


Because of shadowing, you are able to see individual peaks and their spines leading downward toward the floor of the canyon.



You get a sense of not only depth but also space between the peaks.


But then, the time comes when the sun dips so low in the horizon, you are back to the “flat” look.


BUT! The wonderful thing about the quality of the light at sunset is that it gives colors a different tone.  The colors of the same landscape vary at different times of day.  I can’t wait to show you my sunset pictures in the next post!

Rambling, Traveling, Vacation

South Kaibab Trail, GCNP

We were told that if we only had time for one day hike, this should be it.  This trail has the quickest elevation drop and is the fastest way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Not that we went all the way down… {{On that note, hiking with kids is hard.  Even if you think they are “old enough”.  They probably aren’t.  Just FYI.}}

at the start of the trail head
looking down at the trail (holy switchbacks, Batman!)

My first thought wasn’t of being overwhelmed with splendor.  It was, “Ummmm…where do I catch the elevator back up?”  (Not gonna lie -it sucked, but yes, it was totally worth it!)

I’m probably letting my Nerd flag fly here, but I was overly intrigued by this:


What is it, you ask?  It’s the dead-end of a branch of the canyon.  Tell me that you haven’t looked out at this and wondered what the point where all those little “arms” ended looked like?

_NLG3860Just me?  Oooookaaayyyyy….

The views of the horizon don’t change much other than light hitting it in different places and causing beautiful color changes (sunset pics to come in a later post!).  However, after going down and looking up, you get a totally different sight:

I don’t know why I loved this view but I did


I love, love, love the striations!  And yes – OF COURSE! – we visited the Yavapai Geology Museum before going down, for maximum effect.  I highly recommend you doing the same on your visit to GCNP!

 Sooooo…the trip back up…there was no elevator or even escalator.  I would’ve settled for a rickety old funicular.  Instead, I walked [slowly] while trying to remember what I learned in the museum and “studied rocks” on the way up.

I found some cool ones!  (Remember the heart from my previous post?)  I won’t bore you with them.  Wellll…maybe I’ll share just one:

you can just seeeeeeee the individual layers!!!

Wellll….maybe just one more…

 I was OBsessed with those purple geode-looking rocks embedded in the walls

I took so long “studying up on geology” (certainly not “resting every 5 minutes”) that my family was kinda far ahead of me on the trail…

2 of my people

There’s a reason they advise against going to the bottom and back in one trip.  The “short” hike we did was enough for one day!  My daughter vomited right after she got to the top. Poor thing inherited my EXTREME HATRED of the heat.  (Did I yell that?)*

The next time I go, I wanna camp at the bottom!

* hard to believe, but the Grand Canyon was cooler than where we live…


Living on the Edge


Ok, so…yeah.  Those ant-sized things are people.  Not just one or two, but several.  Idiots, knuckleheads, thrill-seekers, whatever you want to call them – those people may as well have a martini in one hand and a come-hither look on their faces because they are FLIRTING with Death.

“Guard rails” (and I use the term very loosely) occur intermittently along the rim of the Grand Canyon, and usually only at the places where the shuttle stops.  That means for the miles and miles of unguarded trail, there may be a combined 100 linear feet of any type of railing.  So yes, the odds of falling off the edge are pretty high, even on the maintained Rim Trail, and the chances go up exponentially when one chooses to go off the beaten path.  More than 11 people have died this year in the Grand Canyon – 3 on the river, 5 for a physical reason (heat, exhaustion, etc), and 3 have fallen off the rim.  (Others have died in car accidents in the park)

Soooo…why am I writing this post?  Not to scare anybody.  I wasn’t scared to visit there.   I did some research and prepared the way I was advised to.  Plenty of water and snacks, protection from the sun, resting often – you know – COMMON SENSE sort of things.  What I didn’t need to read or have anyone tell me was,  “Stay away from the edge!”  I really just want to encourage you to respect this kind of death-defying beauty.

“You bettah respect” … “R-E-S-P-E-C-T – find out what it means to me” …  “Give a little respect to-o-o-o meeeeee” … You know, that type of thing.

A sales lady at REI recommended some light reading in the form of a book called Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon (you can find your copy here!)  I didn’t get the book ahead of time, but when I visited the gift shop, there was a whole wall of ’em, so I picked one up.  I think I’ll crack it open the next time I’m feeling especially ensconced in my suburban security…


Admiring, Pondering, Traveling

The WONDERful Grand Canyon

We just got back from family vacation and I have to wonder why the Grand Canyon isn’t listed as one of the “wonders of the world”.  Seriously.  My first thought was, “I wonder what the people who first saw it thought?”  The thing that struck me was that there is no preamble.  You can’t see it in the distance.  A sparse forest leads up to it on the south and east rims, giving no hint that only feet away, the ground will drop away to majesty.  To be honest, it kind of snuck up on me.  Imagining early people on foot or in horses and buggies cutting through the woods, happening onto this scene…

the first picture i took at GCNP
the first picture i took at GCNP

Boggles the mind.

*more photos to come!