Day 25 – 10/18/14 Saturday
I had all of Cape Royal to myself last night being the only human possibly on the roadway all the way from the village. I was thrilled by the little flicker of color in the sunset, but since the sky was basically filled with clouds, I thought it might be a real stretch for a good sunrise. I woke up when the moon started shining into the car onto my face and surprisingly saw some stars, but still felt it was a stretch. Got up an hour early since I was still on Utah time, so 6am was really 5am. When I finally did get out of the car, I could see a line of clouds on the eastern horizon and figured I was right about the sunrise. But I wandered over to the end of the trail by Angel’s Window to nail down where I wanted to set up and all of a sudden the eastern clouds lit up pink, so I quickly put on the 70-200 and zoomed in on the color with a few ridges. Then just as quickly, it was gone. I used the time to run over to The Cape Royal side and saw there was an open white (limestone?) rock on the eastern side with some interesting levels to catch the light when it came out from behind the clouds. It turned out to be a wonderful sunrise with plenty of clouds and great foreground and huge buttes and the south rim so close in the distance with mountains even further away!! Just amazing, and I’m there all alone!! Then I run over to the western side and more great things looking west with all the ridges of the south rim lit with shadows behind going off seemingly forever. I could even take advantage of the haze looking east into the sun and more amazing things. It was one of the best sunrises I’ve experienced and all with the solitude I crave. Just otherworldly.
Then a German couple showed up after all was done and I took a shot of them looking west into the canyon and I had the wife point into the scene and they looked almost microscopic. Actual people in a photo.
It’s amazing what can happen when decisions work out. After all the negativity during yesterday’s drive, it still worked out. However, I can’t say too much about my decision to hike Cathedral Wash near Lee’s Ferry though. After making my final camp food, I lounged near the Colorado River at Paria Beach and waited for the sun to go down a bit so there would be more shadow in the canyon, I started the hike and almost immediately came to a problem for continuing down. The hike was difficult to figure out how to proceed because of the steep sides and pour-offs, so it was almost like a puzzle. I met two young families facing the same problems and we attacked it together, but finally I decided to turn around and head back; it was too much work for too little photos. I did manage one of some of the strangely colored turquoise rocks with some rabbitbrush, but mainly nothing.
I then headed toward Page to get to Horseshoe Bend by sunset and figured I would get there within the two hours I had before sunset. Wrong!! I wasn’t even close, and the sad thing was that the sky was spectacular, and I wasn’t anywhere to take advantage of it. So I just pulled over to the side of the highway and just took pictures of the sky itself. Just beautiful. Finally got to Page, and stopped in at Walmart for water and cookies (a final treat) and next door to McDonald’s to get internet and charge my camera battery and food. I found out I could stay at Walmart tonight, but they close at midnight (then no bathroom) or the original plan was to go to Lone Rock and be at a place that might be a decent sunrise spot, without trying to find Stud Horse Point in the dark tomorrow morning. We’ll see where I end up.