Day 21 – 10/14/14 Tuesday


Calf Creek Falls

Slept pretty good in the campground last night and headed for Sunrise Point but didn’t see any other cars there and remembered I read somewhere that many people go to sunset point for sunrise as well. I was thinking I might be in the wrong spot. It was another cloudless morning, so no drama to be had although I found a really interesting tree on a ledge that I wanted to use for when the sun first lit it, but was a bit disappointed because the sun came up just a bit too far south for the rays to hit the gnarled trunk, it hit the backside of the trunk instead. There were literally bus loads of people brought to the spot for the sunrise so it was a bit crowded again, but I managed some shots from down the trail a bit that I was happy with. Last night while at Sunset Point, I took shots of the fins lit from behind and later I noticed a shot that might be interesting down the trail a bit, so I hiked down, being very careful remembering the fall about 30 years ago, and was taking the shot, and people came around looking and next thing I know there were a half dozen people behind me taking the same shot with their cell phones and point and shoots!! But that didn’t happen this morning as I did some things that might be a bit different. I don’t think the world needs another view of the canyon on a cloudless day.
Finally had to tear myself away because there is literally an endless amount of pictures you can take there in the early light or in the afternoon and headed to Karannaville (pop 320) to hike the famed Karanna Creek. To get there I had two choices: either go on Route 14 straight to Cedar City or go through Panguich to Cedar Breaks and then 14, each about the same amount of time. You never know what lies ahead when you make these choices. While driving up 14, I noticed most of the aspens were bare with just a few holding on to a few leaves. I was hoping there might still be some color, but it was a bust. When I got to Duck Creek and the huge basalt fields from ancient lava flows, I saw a few backlit aspens with leaves like an island in the middle of this large black field of basalt!! I had to stop, it was gorgeous. Sometimes you have to really work to get a shot and other times the shot is there just for the taking; this was one of those times. As soon as I saw them, I knew what I wanted and all I needed to do is set up the camera and trip the shutter. After a normal shot, I tried many, many motion blurs of the same island and also did a few of the edge of the field with some really skinny firs evenly spaced between the aspens. If I had taken the other road, who knows what lay there, maybe something special as well, or nothing. You never know.
Got to Karannville and put the river walkers on and started hiking. However, instead of being in the creek as expected, I’m hiking along a steep dirt road with no one else to ask if this was the right way. I ended up just following footprints, hoping that they would lead me to the canyon and luckily, they finally did. It was really impressive, especially since a lot of the leaves were changing, but I was shocked at how closed in the slot was!! It was really dark in there and the creek filled the entire slot wall to wall. At times the walls almost overlapped making it seem like a tunnel and when I came to the falls, the ladder did not look too safe. The bad thing was, I wanted the shot of the falls that I’ve seen so many times but with so much color, I now realize they were very manipulated and not anything like reality, but beautiful nonetheless.
I had my camera bag inside two garbage bags for protection in case I happen to slip into the water, so to get out all the gear for one shot was pretty labor intensive, especially in the dark slot with just a few feet of dry real estate to do this all in. I took the shots standing in the cold, cold water and then had to repack everything back for the testy trek up the ladder on a log!! I hiked up the canyon some more, luckily out of the slot after making it up the “ladder” and it was beautiful, but very difficult to photograph since it was a bit windy and needing long exposures because of the lack of light, leaves would blur. Some of the canyon walls were super pink, almost iridescent. Really beautiful, but had to return before it got too late and with all the hiking yesterday (5-1/2 miles) I was a bit weary. When I reached the ladder, there was an old guy trying to go up it on his hands and knees without shoes!! He said he wanted to keep his shoes dry!! That was the most idiotic thing I’ve heard on this trip yet.
Hiked all the way out without taking any pictures because the final mile or so is a bit wider and the sun was streaming into it since it faced west. Kind of bummed out because when that section was in shade on the way up, there were some interesting things growing there. Another thing about today was the sky was the prettiest color blue I think I have ever seen. Drove to Cedar City and Motel 6 where the first order of business was to do laundry and sit there while the machines worked. Unfortunately, Motel 6 only had only one washer and one dryer; so now you know why this is so long.
After this, it’s shower time and then a very late dinner. Many choices here, Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, etc. I had thought if I was finished early enough, I would look for something a bit better, but it’s already too late. Probably sleep in tomorrow just because I’m a bit tired physically from all the hiking these past two days. Today wasn’t as far, but much more difficult because of a lot of climbing over rocks, trees and going up and around the creek, so my legs are a bit weary and my back was tired from carrying the pack for two days.


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