Upon leaving Ephraim Utah this morning things got more and more interesting. I took a quick stop at the Manti Utah Temple mainly because while driving down route 89 you can’t miss it. I drove up and walked a little around the grounds and took a couple of shots. I know nothing about it other than it’s a Mormon church on top of a nice well kept hill.
Fpr a couple f hours I didn’t find much to shoot but as I got closer to the canyon area things started to open up. I stopped a few times and got shots even from the rest areas/view points. Then just in time I pulled into the Arches National Park. To get in is $10.00 but that’s good for 7 days. I stopped briefly at the visitor center then proceeded on my way. I wanted to see either the “Delicate Arch” or the “Landscape Arch” by sunset.
The whole park is HUGE, apparently there’s unnamed arches all over the park if you’re the long hike enthusiast. Even the hike to Delicate Arch where I decided on was a at least a 2 mile jaunt into the rocky desert. This place is very popular and when I arrived at the actual arch there were 50-60 people hanging around. Some taking shots of each other by the arch, some taking a break in the shade or the sun, people all there enjoying themselves. About one in every ten people was a pro photographer or aspiring like myself. As the sun started to set all the cameras were clicking and from all over the area around the arch. While waiting for another set of people to clear away from the arch so we could get a shot I shared a chuckle and then a conversation with a fellow photographer, a photographer whom I would share some time with in the coming hours.
Chung is a Asian fellow of Taiwanese decent who was raised and lives in Texas. I’m guessing he’s in his early 30’s and he’s soon to be married to his girlfriend with home he’s bought a house with. He’s a wedding photographer and once in awhile he takes some time to go out and shot stuff he loves. He showed me a picture on his phone as the sun was going down, he was there to see if he could see the stars of the milky way above the arch like in the shot he had found. He admitted that his being there was on a whim and that he hadn’t done much research on it. He has however been to this park and this arch before.
I ended up hanging with him long after everyone else got up and walked the trail back to their cars. The sun set and the darkness came leaving only the two of us. We chatted for awhile and then started to take some long exposure shots. Sure enough, what looked to be the milky way was directly above our heads. It never really sat behind the arch but I believe that at the right time of year you can line the stars up behind the arch. We shot and chatted for a couple of hours and at about 9:40 pm we decided to pack it up and get going. I had a headlamp and he had a headlamp and a flash light.
We got about 10 minutes into our trip back and realized we’d lost the path. It’s not marked by much, a few stacks of smaller rocks here and there but for the most part you just follow the path of slightly smoother rock and the footprints in the sand. Over the course of a good hour we tried different ideas on how to ourselves back to the parking lot. I had not planned for being there into the night so I was only in my shirts and t-shirt, Chung had packed for some colder temperatures. I had a compass and he had his car GPS which wasn’t much help as we weren’t moving fast enough. Chung knew the direction we should be heading which I had no clue. We tried going forward, then going back to something that we recognized on the path but each attempt seemed to get us more lost. At one point we managed to find ourselves atop a huge bluff with nothing but deep dark drops on 3 of 4 sides.
There was talk of just waiting it out until daybreak but we decided to head in the direction of the parking lot, following the compass through the paths of least resistance. This sounds like an easy and somewhat of a no-brainer but when faced with peaks and valleys of mid level canyon terrain it wasn’t the most attractive option.
Anyway, we started out, making a go of it and sure enough within ten minutes we spotted the path and were back on track, back to our vehicles. Back at the parking lot Chung and I shook hands and bid farewell. Two guys that had we been along might have been spending the night on a rock waiting for the sun to come up. By me deciding to stay and shoot with him we had a minor set back but a small adventure we can tell our friends about. By 11:33 pm I was on my way out the park, safely in my truck. I came into Moab looking for something to eat as I was getting a little peckish.
I’m outside the library at 1:30 am and quite tired. Today was a long hot day of good shots and a lot of hiking. As interesting as it got tonight I had a good time. I was reminded that even though things in life can sometimes get dark, and the path may be hidden, it’s still there, sometimes we just have be persistent in finding it again.
That’s my story from today. Back to see more arches tomorrow.