The Golden Cathedral - Neon
Canyon photography is difficult. The strong contrast between bright skies and shadows of canyon bottoms can make it a chore for somebody like me without the patience or skill to "do it right". So I was happy with this photo of the Golden Cathedral. I constantly gazed at the three routes the water would take as it spilled through or over the canyon rim into the plunge pool. I tried to imagine both the sight and sound of such an event. Low water flows would trickle down through the small and bottom "port" and into the plunge pool as the back base. Heavier flow would go through the small port and the bigger round port up above the small one in this view. Then if water was really crashing down and by volume and/or debris, reached the capicity of the two ports, then over the upper lip it would cascade in what must be a dazzling display of the force and grandeur of nature.
THE NEON CANYON DAY HIKE:
I have made four trips down the Hole in the Rock Road outside Escalante, Utah over the past few years. The first trip was the shortest drive down this 50 mile plus, frame rail shaking washboard dirt road. In 2007, my friend, John and I traveled the short distance down the HITR road and hiked down halfway hollow and then along Harris Wash to visit and photograph the Zebra and Tunnel Slot canyons. That was in 2007. Photos of that hike can be seen here:
In November of 2008 I made a solo trip into the Escalante country. I wanted to hike and see Davis Canyon for the historical tie in with the then mystery of Everett Ruess, the solo traveling artist who was believed to have disappeared at Davis Gulch (where it was said they found his burro). Read the book: Everett Ruess by W.L. Rusho for the book that motivated me to hike and see Davis Gulch. That hike required a long and rugged drive to near the end of the Hole In The Rock road and I wouldn’t see another person until I was well on the way back toward Escalante (when I ran into a Dutch couple with a rental pickup truck, stuck in the sand and helped them out).
Not too long after my Davis Gulch hike, as ironic as it seems they found the remains of Everett Ruess, not near Davis Gulch but all the way across the Colorado River on Navajo land. He disappeared in November o 1934 when he was only 20 years old. Now it seems almost certain he didn’t drown or fall off a cliff, but was murdered.
NOTE December 2009: It now appears that the remains found on Navajo land were NOT those of Everett Ruess as reported in national publications like National Geographic Adventure magazine (April/May 2009). So the disappearance of the young artist is once again a mystery and Davis Gulch is where he was last seen.
Here is the photo set where you can see photos of my hike above the north rim of Davis Gulch and of Bement Arch: www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/sets/72157609536879839/
After driving the 50 miles are so down the bone jarring Hole in the Rock road in November of 2008, I swore I would never drive a portion of that road again. Well, the Escalante River Canyon country has a beauty that draws you there. I wouldn’t stay away for long.
The next trip into the area was April of 2009 - - a trip to remember. My wife and I backpacked 7.5 miles down Hurricane Wash and Coyote Gulch to the foot of Jacob Hamblin Arch, where we slept under a huge sandstone alcove under the stars. We then took a five mile round trip “day hike” from our backpacking tent camp. The next day we backpacked out and actually broke the windshield of our old Toyota pickup truck while driving out on the Hole in the Rock road. We then headed over to Western Colorado to hike the arches of Rattlesnake Canyon near Grand Junction.
Here is a link to the photo set containing the photographs from our Coyote Gulch backpacking trip:
The next trip (when I would once again drive my old tired pickup truck down the HITR road was October of 2009. This was a trip to the Egypt traihead to hike down Fence Canyon, down the Escalante River a short ways, and then up to the Golden Cathedral up Neon Canyon. A wonderful day hike. I made this hike with John, the same friend who had hiked Zebra Slot with me in 2007. These are the photographs from that hike.
Here is the link to the entire set:
Zebra Slot is the best scenery for the amount of rough driving and for the short hike in and out of it. Davis Gulch is last on the list unless the historical connection appeals to you and you do pay a price with the long demolition derby drive down the HITR road. Coyote Gulch has the best scenery with its arches massive desert varnished canyon walls and natural bridge. It is however popular so there isn’t a lot of solitude if that is what you seek. Clearly the Neon Canyon hike was one of the best “day hikes’ I have ever taken. The Golden Cathedral was smaller and less spectacular than I had expecte4d BUT the hike in to it and out and the unusual beauty of the Golden Cathedral itself - - makes it a great hike.
Next? Probably Spooky, Peek-a-boo and Brimstone. Can’t stay away.
THE ROAD TRIP - SHORT VERSION:
Early Friday morning on the 23rd of October I started a road trip to Southern Utah. The centerpiece of the trip was meeting my retired long time friend John in Escalante, Utah for a wonderful first time hike for both of us down Fence Canyon, down the Escalante River, then up Neon Canyon to the Golden Cathedral. It was a ten mile day hike that was full of outstanding scenery.
I revisited the Burr Trail near Boulder Town, Utah on the way down to Escalante for some photo ops of the bright golden cottonwood leaves in the canyon country there.
After the hike to Neon Canyon with John, he headed to his home in Western Washington and I headed south to drive the 50 mile dirt road between Kodachrome State Park and highway 89 south of Cannonville, Utah. I had never seen the area before and enjoyed some challenging back country driving; a hike or two; and some interesting landscapes such as Grosvenor Arch.
From the Paria River I drove over to Zion National Park where I visited places I have been many times before but still enjoy. I spent the entire afternoon in the park and left only after the sun went down.
The photographs were taken with a Canon G10 and a Canon XSi. I have left many of the XSi photographs in their larger image format. If you are interested in more details about this road trip, you can read the “long version” (really long) - - with the narrative that accompanies this photo set.