"In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia." - Charles A. Lindberg , Aviator
Our recent trip to Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah, was both exhilarating and exhausting. This being our first visit to Escalante, we had a long list of destination sites, but only two days for hiking and photography. Still, through excellent planning on the part of my son-in-law, Todd Severson, we managed to get an excellent overview of this extraordinary geological wonderland.
NIKON D800E,f/8 @ 200 mm, 1/60, ISO 200
Grand Staircase is a landscape photographer's dream come true: miles of exposed geology, no manmade distractions, very few people and no required hiking permits or passes. In fact, while we saw a few vehicles, we did not encounter a single hiker during the first day of our stay at Escalante.
Coyote Gulch, NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 17 mm, 1/80, ISO 400
Located on the rugged Kiaparowits Plateau, the vast Grand Staircase - Escalante is home to several slot canyons, arches, vast mountain ranges, Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River. Encompassing nearly 1.9 million acres, the park has approximately 100 miles of roads along with extensive hiking trails.
In our next few postings, I’ll share our trip itinerary, field notes and photographs from our hikes.
Zebra Canyon, NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 25 mm, 1.3s, ISO 200
With the help of Google Earth maps and two handheld Garmin GPS units, we hiked approximately 24.5 miles over our two day stay. We were grateful to have a high clearance SUV, as many of the secondary roads traverse rugged exposed rock, while others are covered in deep drifting sand. Our trip itinerary:
<<< Video from Coyote Gulch
Having spent considerable time in nearby Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, I am so grateful that we finally made it to this remote expanse of the Colorado Plateau. We are already brainstorming plans for a return trip, saving our vacation days for a longer visit this next time. More to follow …
Related postings: Grand Staircase - Escalante Part 2: Zebra Canyon and Red Breaks, Grand Staircase - Escalante Part 3: Coyote Gulch, White Pockets at Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs, Glen Canyon Recreation Area (Alstrom Point at Lake Powell), Arizona-Utah Border, Utah Landscape Photography and Antelope Canyon.
Landscape photography techniques, photo expedition travel planning and hiking tips.