Monthly Archives: April 2009

Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Five

Day Five – April 10th, 2009

From Flagstaff, I drove to Meteor Crater.

Meteor Crater

I think this place would make for a nice sunrise/sunset.

Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater

Petrified National Forest

I took a photo of this sign but that’s about it. I asked the attendant at the entrance how long it would take to get through the trail and I recall he said three hours, and unfortunately I didn’t allocate enough time, so I bypassed to head to the VLA. I did stop at a gift shop to get a piece of petrified wood, which looks and feels like a rock – pretty amazing.

Petrified National Forest

Petrified National Forest

Very Large Array (VLA)

This array is indeed very large. You may recognize this place from the movie Contact and many others that include this scenery.

Very Large Array - Radar Dish

Very Large Array – Radar Dish

Very Large Array - SIgn

Very Large Array – Sign

Conclusion

This was an amazing trip and one that I would like to repeat. However, if I go again I would allocate twice the amount of time. Rushing through travel is not fun and one of the reasons I am hesitant to do group travel. I like to be in control of my time and how I spend it. All of these places are worthy of overnight stays – especially for photographers who want to get the best photos during the golden hours of morning and evening.

Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Four

Day Four – April 9th, 2009

I drove from there to Flagstaff where I had dinner and spent the night. I woke up in the early morning to take a ride to Upper Antelope Canyon.

Upper Antelope Canyon

This place was also amazing. I must go back again as I want to take better photos.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon - Sand flow

Upper Antelope Canyon – Sand flow

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon - Exit

Upper Antelope Canyon – Exit

Upper Antelope Canyon - Entrance

Upper Antelope Canyon – Entrance

Upper Antelope Canyon - Vehicles

Upper Antelope Canyon – Vehicles

Tips

  • Wear pants and a hooded sweater on the trip to Upper Antelope Canyon as the ride over is cool with a wind chill
  • See Antelop Canyon Tours for the tour group

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is an absolutely amazing place! I wish I allocated more time. Next time I will go on a hiking tour. I saw the south rim, took some photos, then had lunch in the restaurant there.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Very precarious steps but I would want them to change it. Keep it adventurous!

Grand Canyon - Stairway

Grand Canyon – Stairway

Grand Canyon - Tower

Grand Canyon – Tower

I asked someone to take my photo.

Grand Canyon - Me

Grand Canyon – Me

Grand Canyon - Plaque

Grand Canyon – Plaque

Grand Canyon - Tower

Grand Canyon – Tower

Grand Canyon - Tower Interior

Grand Canyon – Tower Interior

Next up… Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Five

Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Three

Day Three – April 8th, 2009

Four Corners USA

I drove from Albequerque to Four Corner USA. It was fun to stand in four states at the same time. However, I learned later that perhaps this monument may not be technically where the four states meet. It doesn’t matter for this trip anyway.

Four Corners USA

Four Corners USA

Four Corners - Four States

Four Corners – Four States

It was VERY windy here…

Four Corners - Standing in Four States

Four Corners – Standing in Four States

Monument Valley Park

I drove from Four Corners towards Monument Valley Park. I saw breathtaking views and I seemed to be the only vehicle for miles! I can’t wait to get back here with a pro camera to take some awesome photos. Throughout this journey a song started playing in my head with wordless vocals sung by a Native American. It was my soundtrack for the trip.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

This is my favorite photo from the trip and I see a priest providing overwatch of a castle. I found out only recently upon searching that this formation has the name “Stagecoach”. You can view it on Google Maps.

Monument Valley - Stagecoach

Monument Valley – Stagecoach

There were many other formations like this one but I didn’t get very good photos of them. Next time.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Fans of the Half Life video game franchise may recognize Black Mesa which is the location where the game takes place in a secret military base. I’m guessing this is where they got the idea from. I was surprised to see actual signs with this labeling.

Black Mesa Station

Black Mesa Station

Black Mesa Complex - Half Life

Black Mesa Complex – Half Life

Not pictured is my detour through The Valley of the Gods. As I was driving along the road I saw the sign and thought, “Why not?” I stopped at the entrance and let another vehicle pass – tourists in a rental who appeared to be just fine racing along and chuckling as their vehicle bounced. However, I wanted to be careful with my vehicle. This was the most frightening part of the trip as the temperature was soaring and my vehicle was borderline overheating. The path is a 17-mile dirt road that is VERY rocky and I had to go VERY slow so as not to damage my vehicle suspension. My Jeep is supposedly “trail rated” but seriously, was not able to handle this. I tried to enjoy the scenery but it was quite treacherous. I was praying the entire time that I would make it through okay.

Near the 5-mile mark a women in a small white four-door vehicle stopped and asked me for the nearest gas station as her tire was going flat. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about the area, and was wholly unprepared. Cell phone service is not available and my phone at the time had no service. However, I think the navigation system in my vehicle was working and so I could follow the trail. She went onward and I felt bad that I could not help her. I now have a portable tire inflator that I keep in my vehicle. She was near the exit and there was about 3 hours of light left in the day so I have hope she was okay.

It took me perhaps 1.5 hours to get through this trail moving at a snails pace. I was so happy to make it through. Next time I may rent a rugged vehicle or something.

Next up… Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Four