Living An Earlier Dream

In 2014, we visited Moab, UT and visited Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, and Dead Horse State Park, as well as Potash Road.  When in Canyonlands, we sat on the edge of Shafer Canyon Overlook and looked at the dirt ribbon winding roads beneath us.  Tom had said at that time that he would be back and would ride down into the canyon and out onto Potash Road next time, but on his mountain bike.  Well, on this day, he and his friends decided to do just that.

They arrived at the head of the trail – Shafer-Potash Trail – and prepared for their adventure.  Rachel and I planned to take the same route in the truck, staying behind them a bit, playing “sweep” for them, should any need arise.
20150712-DSC_440520150712-DSC_4429From the top, looking down at the road below, we knew that this would be the road that they would begin on during their journey.

20150712-DSC_5094But first, they had to get through the various tight switchbacks, with sheer drop-offs along the way.  I remember last year getting tense and a bit queasy just sitting up there and looking down.  It’s hard to get perspective on the enormity of the area and depth of the drops, but I’ll do my best to convey it to you.DSC_4339Before long, we got our first sighting of the trio as they began their initial descent.  I was nervous already … for them, but also for me, having to follow them.  LOL20150712-DSC_5049Zooming in on Tom, he didn’t seem to have a care in the world.20150712-DSC_5056As they made their way to the first switchback, I found myself mentally telling them to go slow and ride cautiously.20150712-DSC_5059OK, first perspective shot … in the image below you can see a white vehicle making the left bend in the road trail.20150712-IMG_2719In this shot, you can see the same area with the guys hanging out on that corner cliff.  Yikes!20150712-DSC_5070Then the carry on along the red dirt road, which was surprisingly smooth when we drove down.20150712-DSC_5074Once at the bottom of the canyon, they rode on the canyon’s floor along that Shafer-Potash Road.  At this point, we decided it was time to follow them.20150712-DSC_5107So off we went … thank goodness Rachel was driving, as I was a bit scared at the thought of it.  But Rachel was a real trooper about it.  20150712-IMG_2727Once we got to the bottom of the canyon, after numerous OMG moments and stops, we realized that in hindsight, it really wasn’t that bad and we both had a great sense of accomplishment.  Smooth sailing from here, we both thought.20150712-DSC_510520150712-IMG_272320150712-IMG_2736Most of the time, the road trail was clear and simply graveled.20150712-IMG_2739But sometimes, the road trail was difficult to navigate or even know which direction to take.  That’s the point I questioned our sanity in following down after them into the canyon.  But there was no turning backing now….20150712-IMG_273720150712-DSC_511020150712-IMG_2731

The scenery was quite beautiful down there … so iconic of the area as well … and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day…. thankfully!20150712-DSC_5120We arrived at the potash plant evaporation ponds, which were absolutely the most amazing color blue (though I doubt it was natural) I’ve ever seen.  Even more striking than the glacier fed lake color, but a bit eery knowing that the entire area had fencing around it and signs for “No Trespassing”.20150712-IMG_2742Eventually we caught up with the guys, who had actually been stopping along the way waiting for us.  Guess that they might have been concerned with us getting down as well.20150712-DSC_512320150712-IMG_2748After I realized that I think that we had a rougher ride getting down there than they did.  So Glad that Rachel powered through it.  There’s no way that I would have done it alone.  20150712-DSC_4449When the road turned from red dirt to asphalt, we decided that we would pick them up, since we were then on our way to our next stop … Grand Junction, CO.  While the guys were loading up their bikes and gear, I took the opportunity to get some more wildflower images.  Yes, it was a nice sunny day.
20150712-DSC_5124While I’m sure that the guys had wonderful memories from Moab, my favorite memory (one that I still drool over) was from my amazing lunch at the Peace Tree Restaurant … YUMMY!
20150712-IMG_2755Next on our journey is more mountain biking (and more) in Grand Junction and Fruita, CO.

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

Canyonlands NP & Dead Horse Point SP

One can’t visit Moab, UT and Arches National Park, without at least a quick visit to the nearby Canyonlands National Park & Dead Horse Point State Park.  So before we left the area to head back into Colorado (on our way to Rocky Mountain NP), we did just that.  Of course, we  got up super early and planned to get to Mesa Arch in Canyonlands for the early morning light … the sunrise … the start of another new day.  Yes, that was our plan…. ours and that of many other photographers as well.  So, what else is new?

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So though we were the first at the location, before the “golden moment” arrived, we were one of many – all jockeying for perfect spot.  LOL.

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When we were done shooting Mesa Arch, we headed back to our vehicles.  I found it amazing how so much of the landscape I had earlier walked through I never saw … perhaps due to the headlamps and darkness on our way out.

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After Canyonlands, I wanted to be sure to visit Dead Horse Point State Park.  So off we ventured.  I sure was glad that we did!

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Wow!  What an amazing place it was!  There were many viewpoints and vistas, but at Dead Horse Point, it’s actually one of the most photographed vistas in the world … and with good reason.  Situated about 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, as it meanders through the landscape of vertical cliffs and canyons.

DSC_4430 I found it to be as impressive as the Grand Canyon as far as the view went … on and on for miles with such varied terrain and colors running throughout it.

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Everywhere you looked the view just got better.

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One of my favorite views was that of Shafer Canyon Overlook.  I mean, look at this drop off!  Thankfully we were running short of time or else I feared that Tom would want to drive down into the canyon on all of those switchbacks.  The only thing that seemed more frightening to me was when Tom said that he wanted to come back and descend into the canyon on his mountain bike.  Better him than me.

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Having an extreme fear of heights, I was able to shuffle myself to the edge so that we could take a shot … you know, with our feet in the view.

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Friends asked me if I was afraid to sit on the edge … what do you think?  Truth be told I was foolishly hanging on, with my fingers mind you, to Tom’s pants.  Right?  As if that was going to save me if I slipped or toppled over.  LOL

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Yes, it was a fascinating place and certainly deserved much more time than the few hours we had available to spend.  When I posted this image below on photography sites, someone described it as apocalyptic … I think that pretty much sums it up.  Though in truth, it was undeniably beautiful and quite unique.

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If you haven’t made it to Dead Horse Point SP, be sure that you do.  You won’t regret it!

From here, we ventured on to Rocky Mountain NP, which has already been covered in 2 previous blog posts.  If you missed them, they can be found at:

https://tnwaphotography.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/rocky-mountain-high-in-colorado/ https://tnwaphotography.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/owls-here-there/