Serendipity in Escalante and Boulder

As I wrote in my last entry, we moved on to the Grand Staircase area of Escalante. Good thing we did. Unbeknownst to us, some severe weather was on the way. Tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was sucked up into Utah from a high pressure area north of us. The result was some very dramatic thunderstorms. Had we stayed in Bryce even one more day, we would have been huddled up praying for lighting not to strike the motorhome. As it was in Escalante, we experienced only a few light showers with distant thunder and very dramatic clouds.

We had planned to drive straight to Boulder and spend some time on the mountain, but with the storm clouds completly encasing the area, we decided to stay an extra day in Escalante to let it all blow through. We took the oportunity to drive up the hogback that leads to the town of Boulder and Boulder Mountain. This is a spectacular drive as it winds up the narow hogback. The views are not to be missed and on this day, the light was changing by the minute. There were several moments when we had rain, sun and thunder at once. And where there is rain and sun, there are rainbows. Just as we pulled into an overview, the sun broke through while a cloud burst began soaking the area. We jumped out and caught a fleeting rainbow that quickly dissipated over the canyon. Serendipity. The next day, all was back to normal with warm temps and sunny skies.

Because we stayed an extra day in Escalante, and because it was getting very hot, we decided to once again change our plans. We eliminated going to Capitol Reef National Park and decided to spend more time on Boulder Mountain. The aspens were just beginning to change at the higher elevations, and we hope to have more extensive color if we spent some extra time. It also gives us the opportunity to explore the area more. It is usually too late in the season to do this, but this time, all the campgrounds are open. We found are terrific campgrond called Singletree. Nice and open with long level cuts so that the motorhome fit with ease. We spent a couple of days driving the mountain road, enjoying the views and the turning aspen groves. Each day there was more extensive color at lower elevations so that areas visited earlier  took on a different feel and we photographed the same spots several times.

Back in the campground we found a short trail leading to the Singletree Waterfall. One afternoon, we decided to take the half-mile walk to have a look. On our arrival, we experienced a moment of pure serendipity. The trail lead right up to the base of the waterfall. The area around it is densely covered in brush and trees, but there was one spot that provided a wonderful view. Just in that spot, and at just that time of day, the sun filtered through the trees and brush in such a way that it cast shadows across the face of the falling water. It was simply magic the way the water and shadows combined to creat a sort of crosshatch effect. We made some exposures, but we didn’t bring tripods because we just didn’t expect the falls to amount to much. After about 15 minutes, the sun had moved behind the mountain and we lost the light. We went back the next day, just a bit earlier and with our tripods and were witness to the same effects for the same amount of time. I made long time exposures to really accentuate the shadows while Mary made shorter exposures of the bouncing water to capture a sort of firework effect of water drops as they splashed across the view. If we had not happened to arrive at the time we did, we would have missed the moment completely. Had we not changed our plans and moved on to Capitol Reef, we would not have found the campground or waterfall. Serendipity!

And lastly, I took a late evening drive after photographing the waterfall. It was the evening of the full moon and I wanted to watch the moonrise over the Henry Mountains. I found a nice vantage point not far from the campground and set up. It took just a few minutes of waiting before the moonrise started. It was another wonderful moment.

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One Response to Serendipity in Escalante and Boulder

  1. Mary G says:

    I’m a big fan of yours and think your pictures are spectacular. Keep up the good work! Oh, and Happy Birthday.

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