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Nikon Raccoon
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Dog what a weekend. Exciting and frustrating at the same time.

Saturday [livejournal.com profile] tarathene and I got up late, and packed up to head down to Southern Utah to do some photography and hiking. We were to leave by 10am. We didn't get out of the Area till 2:30 in the afternoon. The drive down to Goblin Valley was a good one, driving along US six though the Wasatch Mountains, and up onto the high desert. Half the route we were joined by train tracks, on which the California Zephyr ran. In fact, we did see it twice, once on the way out there, with it heading back to Salt Lake, and on the way back, with it heading to Denver.

We made wonderful time down to i70, and after getting on UT-24, Tara and I spotted what I thought was a hitchhiker at first, but Tara saw his bike before I did. Poor guy's motorcycle got a flat. We offered him a ride down to the down to the nearest town, and talked along the way. He was a very nice Brit who had moved here about 20 years ago. When he found out we were going to Goblin Valley, he offered to come along, as he had his SLR also. He also paid our park entrance fee for the night, and we were able to get some wonderful sunset shots of the Hoodoo's and the landscape with mountains in the distance. We dropped our guest off in Hanksville, where he was able to get a ride home. Also we visited a very odd gas station, it was built into the side of a hill, in a little man made cave.

Tara and I made it back down to a turnoff just outside of the park, in BLM land, and watched the moon and the stars until we fell asleep in the car. We got up the next morning, so early that there was just barely a glow on the horizon. On the way into the park to get some of the sunrise shots, we encountered a small herd of antelope crossing the road. We went up into the park, after paying our admission in the drop box, and got photos of the rock formations lit up with the magic light that sunrise and sunset gives. After sunset we went on a mile and a half hike, that took us across a small ridge, then down into some fun canyons. A good taste for the rest of the day. After the hike, we had breakfast, and went down to walk amung the Hoodoo's. Tara and I had fun wandering around, and taking photos of each other with the strange rocks. When we were way back in the canyon we both started yelling 'ROCK! ROCK! ROCK!' until we were all giggly. We headed back to the car, so we could get some water for the long hike in the afternoon.

Tara took me up for a 8 mile hike though Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons. (link1 link2) Tara's guide book put this hike as easy. Heck, even that first link says 'This hike is suitable for just about everyone. If you enjoy a long walk in the park than you can probably complete this hike with little problem.' BS. Pure BS. This hike pushed me to my limits. Not only was it long, there were several obstacles in the way we had to climb and crawl under. The canyons are Slot Canyons, going up though the San Rafael Reef into the San Rafael Swell. The hike is supposed to take 4-5 hours, but it took Tara and I 9 hours to complete. Granted, part of that time was stopping to eat, and to photograph the canyon. We ended up getting caught in Bell Canyon after dark, but we had both brought Mini-Mags and had the light of a quarter moon to guide us. All overhead we could see bats flying out of holes in the canyons to feed. It was so great to see batties in the wild, I've only seen them in zoos before. We finally made it back to the trailhead at 9:30pm.

We took off back down the dirt road for the highway, and made it as far as a truck stop in Green River, UT. We had planned on a half hour nap, but ended up accidentally sleeping till 3:30am. Tara and I took turns driving home, heading back up US6, and getting home at 7am, just in time for me to catch a shower and get off to work. Needless to say I was wiped out on Monday. Unfortunately my body won't let me sleep before midnight, and usually before 2am. This is not good when one has training at 8am. In fact, this training schedule is killing me. I haven't had a good nights of sleep in weeks, and that was because I passed out from exhaustion. This is the last week of training, then I go to the evening shift, and I'll start to feel a bit better, and have more time for the Internet. Also Tara and I are thinking about getting out of town either every other weekend, or once a month.

Tomorrow night I need to do laundry, and work on getting all my photos from the last few months converted and uploaded.
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