Stop! Did you see that?! The answer from the drivers seat was no. What caught my eye was the amazing green and other colors in the rock so we backed up to get a closer look.. The time of day wasn’t ideal, the snow was too deep and there was fence keeping us from getting really close but I documented it anyway with plans to go back in October.
Hands down, the most exciting photo day for me during our Escalante trip was a drive on side road off Hwy 12 (no name in order to protect location). I had asked to stop so I could photograph a spectacular Cottonwood tree and we stumbled upon several photo ops. Besides the amazingly large Cottonwoods, there was a very cool small slot canyon but the most exiting for me was what appeared at first glance to be a miniature Indian Ruin. As I got closer, I noticed dung everywhere so being crazy about Woodrats, I immediately thought it must be a midden.
I wrote to a photographer friend, Bruce Taubert, who I thought might know because he’s an Arizona Game and Fish guy but he wasn’t sure so he forwarded my note to Randy Babb who currently works for AZ Game and Fish. (Randy is also a fantastic photographer!) Here’s his answer:
“There are at least two woodrat species (pack rats) that are found in that area. I believe that what you found is an ancient nest or midden. I don’t see any fresh signs of activity in the pictures (very nice photos by the way) such as scattered droppings, twigs or limbs or other vegetative debris that nests are constructed of. Some of these prehistoric middens can be 100’s if not 1000’s of years old. See Van Devender’s packrat book for more details on how these middens are used to determine past environmental conditions.” “My first impression was exactly yours…it looked like a miniature Indian ruin.”
Click Image for Slide Show (click play and use arrow keys if desired)
Despite gloomy weather predictions for our week in Escalante, we had four beautiful and sunny days. By the fifth day, though, there was 90 percent chance of snow so a couple of us decided to go home early. Below is what we encountered during the first leg of our trip. Even though I was riding with someone who drove in snow most of his life, I was still very nervous!
One of my shooting buddies, Barry White, just started a blog. I’ve been giving him a hard time about it for several years so it’s about time! Welcome Barry 🙂
His photo today is very similar to my first shot of Balanced Rock so I thought I’d post mine. My shot was taken on October 7th, 2003. (I like Barry’s shooting angle better than mine). I was with him when he shot his (2009) so I know he did an HDR. Mine is just a single shot but I did “Topaz it Up” a bit 🙂