Thinking on a rainy day… and hiking Calf Creek, Utah

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

It "was" raining when I wrote this, then sunny enough for a hike and now raining again. Oh well, will still keep the title. So I am constantly admiring others photography. Some have asked me if I was a photographer? I always say "no" as its direction seems to have taken such a digital manipulation path, a path both sides of my brain just shut off when exposed to any kind of its written instruction. For one I don’t understand even its basic explanations such as layers, merging, add to Alpha channel, transparency, stack, layer to boundary size and on and on… a foreign language. Yes, I do add a bit of contrast sometimes, saturation as to not loose any colors because of a dark monitor background which seems to make a difference, lightening up some shadows with the help of curves… and not a week goes by that I "want" to learn this obscure to me "digital manipulation" arena. But I have come to the conclusion that I will not. I have come to the conclusion that they should give it another name besides "photography". I have only come across one photo gallery where the owner calls it "digital manipulation" or "digital art" and I like it knowing what it is. I know how it has been obtained and I admire it on a totally different level. These thoughts have come about as I have for the first time entered a "photographic challenge" and I was reading in their discussion thread someone asking if it was alright to add objects to the photo submitted… if the date of the photo could fall before the in between dates it must have been taken and would adding an object would then give the photo that proper date… I honestly had to read that post a few times to understand it as actually the thread’s moderator himself was puzzled asking for clarification. Confusing.

trail 1

calf creek sign  

I am such a "beginner" in the field that I want to do this as much as "true to form" as I can. There is a pleasure and infinite satisfaction to wake up at 5am, ride an hour to take that one shot that will be a keeper of the sunrise painting some canyon walls. There is at times such a let down when arriving to a destination and the scene is topped with only a flat gray sky. It does not take away from the sensorial aspect of my own senses, it only results in photos that I will take anyhow more as a documentation then anything else, and looking forward to the next destination which might be enveloped by some good light and a ceiling of blue skies scattered with cotton ball clouds! I have been told in similar conversations that I have joined the "digital manipulation" movement myself… and the question is… where is that line that divide us? Maybe "digital enhancement"? I like my own logo… "Don’t fool with Mother Nature, stick with photography, reality, not manipulation". There is definitely an Artistic side to "digital manipulation", and that is what it is, photography to me is "the reality" of the moment.

Spirit 1

trail 15  

On the other hand, ironically for sure, I want to use new technology to write faster in the form of a "voice into text" e mail or document software. I have never been a fast typist and lately it is truly disturbing me to not reply in timely fashion to all the e mails and comments I receive. I just don’t find it "proper" that someone takes the time to write, share their thoughts and a week or two will pass before they receive a reply. I experience that fact myself to my own many e mails send but never replied which turns into an unpleasant experience. Soon!

trail 6

trail 7  

I am always smiling when I write my thoughts on this page with the knowledge that the pictures do not match the words! It is all about an e mail that I received long time ago complaining about that fact, and that is still stuck in my mind as a "funny" aspect of it all… Eventually I do write about the reason why they are here. After a couple days of heavy rain, flash floods in the area and cold enough to think "heater", yesterday the skies cleared up as slowly cabin fever was making its way into our days. I decided that a nice hike would be just what we needed. 15 miles east from Escalante is the real nice campground called "Calf Creek", nested in the Canyon and is also the beginning of the "Lower Falls Trail". A 5 1/2 mile round trip trail to some beautiful water falls.

creek 2  

creek 1

From Brian having been there a few days ago, I knew that the "hosts" of the campground were from Louisiana. As they said themselves, they never meet a stranger! Of course we talked food, the lack of it, and as she disappeared for a few moments as I was talking to her husband, she reappeared with a home made "boudin ball"! The drools came quickly!… appeased even faster by the great tasting treat. What a start for a hike… We are not too big on hikes, short ones are nice, long ones, well, we have to watch the heat, specially for Spirit. The temps had cooled of considerably from the past storms and the fact that the trail was going to follow the creek for a while was really good news.

trail 10

trail 14  

The hike is one of the best in the area. Mostly sandy, it makes walking a bit more strenuous but easily doable. I was told that it was a flat hike, it is not! We often took advantage of the shaded tree shelters to rest a bit and get Spirit down mild slopes into the creek to cool off, something he now really likes to get into as he will without say, just lay down… and forget about the hike! Specially on the way back, mid afternoon when the stagnant air in the canyon was a little hot in some parts to say the least. The views are magnificent. The predominant geological formation in the area is the cliff forming Navajo sandstone. The canyon walls are the typical cream to red colored sandstone layers formed millions of years ago by ancient sand dunes. The vertical discoloration on the walls is created by the minerals in the rain water running down the cliffs. And as in every canyon, at every curve of the way, the start of an arch caused by the hard projectiles carried by the ancient waters when their levels was so much higher.

trail 13

Spirit 2  

He looks real comfy and cool… I think I will join him next time! Those ponds and marshy areas, sometimes below the trail were formed by beaver dams across Calf Creek. These natural dams help control spring flooding, reduce siltation downstream and provide habitat to the fish. Plenty of brook trout by the way in the water. 800 to 1000 years ago, the Native Indians farmed those canyon bottoms and stored their produce in the high and dry natural structures, away from the rodents. Both Anasazi and Fremont cultures where the residents throughout the lush green valley.

waterfall 1 

We finally arrived to the falls. We heard them first and felt the coolness of it as a giant swamp cooler upon us. I say finally as it seems to have been a 10 mile hike! We were not the only ones, it is a popular hike, most past us on the way and at some point maybe as much as 50 hikers were surrounding the sandy beach area of the falls. We sat under some trees, cool, very cool and so pleasant that we would had stayed there overnight if we could. It seems that I am always forgetting something, this time it was food as everyone around us had brought lunch… we had plenty of water! It is always nice to hike along a creek as for that reason, I don’t have to carry much extra water for Spirit.

waterfall 5

So I have always said that it does not rain on us! As we made it back to the rig, the clouds were almost a black cover in the skies and I knew it was raining most likely on our return road. But… no other way to say it… being lazy at that moment and not wanting to wear my rain gear, of course mid way not only some of the strongest winds and rain experienced dropped out of the skies, but some dime size hail! And that was hurting, I did not have the shelter that Spirit has when he crawls into the nose of "his" sidecar… lucky dog! I weighed about an extra 20 lbs I think when we finally arrived back to camp and slowly started peeling off all the clothes soaked to the last piece including my boots then wide open to the elements. Price to pay for being lazy!

waterfall 8

waterfall 7  

Everything is still wet this morning! The sun is up, all is laid out to dry so we can take off again. I am debating wether to stay here some more or slowly start heading south… south were? I will write about it soon… I do know where we are going.

Till next time, be well.   Ara & Spirit

All "merchandise" has been switched to SmugMug. My Galleries are done, in order, well, just about. But in the meantime I still have 25 T shirts in my inventory that I must sell at cost! $20 each including shipping. E mail me before ordering…


With the "ADV" (Adventure Rider") logo:   3 XXL ~ 4 XL ~ 4 M 

Plain:                                                         2 XXL ~ 4XL ~ 5L ~ 1 M ~ 2 S

waterfall 6

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One Response to “Thinking on a rainy day… and hiking Calf Creek, Utah”

  1. Robert Miller Says:

    Beautiful pictures of Calf Creek!

    If you are ever near Estes Park or Fort Collins then check out some cool hikes I have documented for Rocky Mountain National Park and Lory State Park.

    Also, do you have a collapsible dog water bowl?

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