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The Woolly Mammoths Roadtrip Part 2

February 20 – Part 2 of 4

Woolly Mammoths L-R Marcus Bell, Greg Gibson, Adam Finch, Jason Starr and Parker Pfister seated.

Woolly Mammoths L-R Marcus Bell, Greg Gibson, Adam Finch, Jason Starr and Parker Pfister seated.

It was really hard to get up when the alarm went off at 530am. Really, really hard. Since I was the designated driver, I managed to drag myself out of bed, throw on some clothes and gather my gear.

My room at the Pioneer Lodge in Springdale, UT was across the narrow parking lot from the rest of the guys. When I stepped out of my room, I could see their windows, all of which were dark. Dang, I can’t be the only one up can I?

I walked over to the other rooms. No one seemed to be stirring. Fortunately the coffee shop was open so I ducked inside to grab a coffee and a muffin. I was inside for about 10 minutes and when I walked out the door, there was Parker with his Walmart tripod setup in the middle of the parking lot photographing the moon setting over the adjacent canyon wall.

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Moon above canyon wall at daybreak in Springdale, UT just outside of Zion National Park.

Move down.

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Marcus has his eye on the image above.

Parker ran in to get a coffee while I setup my mini me-pod to bang off a few frames of that beautiful crescent moon hanging over the red canyon wall.

No sign, however of Marcus, Adam or Jason. The sun was starting to come up and Parker and I deliberated a bit as to whether we should wake the other guys. I mean, we were up REALLY late the night before. It seemed a bit unusual that they would all over-sleep at the same time.

We decided to let them sleep and that Parker and I would make a quick run up to the top of the canyon to get our bearings. We had quite a magnificent trip up the switchbacks watching the sun rise over Zion. (You know, every time I type the word “Zion” I feel like I’m in The Matrix). We only stopped a time or two to make pictures however, as we both felt a bit guilty about leaving our friends back at the hotel.

We returned about an hour later to find Adam out in the parking lot shooting the same moon that Parker and I had both shot earlier. Jason was coming out the door but there were still no signs of life coming from Marcus’s room.

marcusglassesParker and I learned that our friends hadn’t really over-slept. Turns out they just didn’t have the advantage of having a US cell phone with them.  Our phones had automatically adjusted for the time zone change from west coast to mountain time leaving Las Vegas. Their watches were still an hour behind! Fortunately they hadn’t missed very much. We rousted Marcus from his much needed beauty sleep and set off for a great breakfast at the Pioneer Restaurant next door.

At breakfast we decided that we would stay in Zion National Park for most of the morning, then head to Bryce later in the afternoon. However, everyone we talked to afterward seemed to think that Bryce was better photographed in the morning rather than the afternoon and it was already too late to get there for the morning.

Parker kept raving about this little town he knew called Page, Az. He said there was a beautiful place called Antelope Canyon that was gorgeous and maybe we should go there instead.

Parker pulled a few pictures of Antelope Canyon off the internet. Once we all saw it, we knew we had to go there. Another side benefit of Page is that Horseshoe Bend, the entrance to the Grand Canyon, is there also. No brainer – the plan was set. Photograph Zion until 1:00PM, then head for Page.

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After a great breakfast we loaded up again and started making a slow ascent up the canyon in Zion. There were frequent stops for photo-ops. In fact, it got to the point where we had to set time limits for each stop as we were getting dangerously close to missing our scheduled departure for Page. Finally we just had to throw our hands in the air, put our blinders on and drive past some really beautiful scenery without stopping.

We could have photographed in Zion all day. Everywhere you looked there was gorgeous scenery. There weren’t a lot of words spoken on this leg of the trip, other than “stop the car, stop the car.” Everyone got down to business.

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Move down.

Move down.

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There were places in Zion that looked like the mountains and the canyon walls had actually been etched by hand with a brush.

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I made this picture of Jason and Parker as I was walking back from the location above. Behind them, you can see the locations of the last two images in this blog post. The horizontal tree on the icy rock face is directly above Jason’s head, and the vertical image of the other tree is on the right side of the frame.

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In part 3 of this series tomorrow, I’ll talk about the trip from Zion to Page and show some pictures from Antelope Canyon. Parker is supposed to be sending me some of his image so maybe I’ll have a few of his to post also.

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