Twin Falls – Wrapping Up

Alright… We’re finally at the end of our amazing road trip across the southwest desert.  We spent time at my parent’s cabin in Grand Lake, we learned all about the ancient Puebloans at Mesa Verde, and we swung by Four Corners on our way to Moab.  There, we discovered a hiker’s paradise and endless visual candy for a photographer’s eye.  Canyonlands amazed us with the vast expanses of echoey canyons.  I got to see the arch that started it all, Corona Arch, in person.  And I simply couldn’t get enough of Arches.

It was such an incredible adventure (and yes, I’m one of those weird people who really enjoy vacationing with my parents), so we were sad to see it end.  However, no vacation can last forever.  I at least got my sunrise, and I even managed to get some stars.. even if it wasn’t quite how I planned.  In fact, few things actually went the way we had intended, but that just added to the enjoyment!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

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Delicate Arch

Ok, folks, here it is… our very last arch!  You didn’t think I’d run out of arches to talk about, did you?

We were having so much fun playing around Devil’s Garden that we had to actually rush a bit to get down to Delicate Arch before the started to rain again.  The morning had been so beautiful.. why did the rain come back?

But Delicate Arch was an absolute must for us, so we weren’t going to miss it!

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Arches: The Most Amazing Day

Our first day in Arches wowed us with nature’s splendor and the phenomenal discovery of these gravity-defying works of natural art.

Our second day revealed to us the remarkable playground of the Fiery Furnace and saw us delve deeper into the park.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

But the third day?  The adage says “third time’s the charm,” but that assumes prior failure.  While that might have been somewhat true in our quest for sunrise, the remainder of our days were anything but disappointing.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Nevertheless, our last day in Arches was absolutely the most incredible, by far.  Who knew each day could just get progressively better?  But somehow, it did.

And as much as I love the English language, I struggle to confine this truly remarkable experience to inadequate, paltry words.

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Landscape Arch

I know I promised the amazing story of our third day in Arches last week, but I’m afraid I have one more post for you before I get to that.

I also previously promised some panoramas of our stunning sunrise at Landscape Arch, and this is the promise I get to fulfill this week!

As you already know, it took us three days to finally get our sunrise in Arches, and it was worth the wait.  What I didn’t know is it would likewise take three tries at my computer to get just the right panorama out of that day.

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Arches: The Second Pass

Much of our second day in Arches was spent getting lost in the Fiery Furnace (what an incredible place!  I encourage you to read all about that adventure here), but we had more park to explore!  Besides, we were excited to share some of the park’s wonders with Mum.  And our second day in the park was just as rewarding as the first.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

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Fiery Furnace

After another fruitless attempt at sunrise, we dove into what would become one of our favorite parts of the park: the Fiery Furnace.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

If you have aspirations of visiting this playground, know that you’ll need a permit – but don’t let that deter you.  Permits were easily acquired (following a brief safety video), inexpensive, and well worth it.  You have two options when diving into the Furnace: self-guided or tour guide-led.

You should know us by now; we opted for the former.

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Arches: The First Pass

A friend told us we could easily hit Arches National Park in a single day.  We ended up dedicating the better part of three to the one park – and I don’t regret a moment of it.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

After an unsuccessful attempt at sunrise at North Window, we went exploring, as we are wont to do.  It began with actually taking in the arch that I had hoped would come aglow once the sun rose.  North Window has a natural slope that brings visitors right to the threshold of the opening.  South Window is more elevated, and you’d need some more serious climbing to stand within it (though I wouldn’t put it past Dad if he really wanted to).  Together, they make “The Spectacles,” and I can totally see the face.

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Arches: Chasing Sunrise

I have a thing for sunrises.  I’m up early every day anyway, so I see a lot of them.  And there’s nothing better than the quiet solitude that comes from being out and about long before everyone else.  There aren’t any noisy kids around, no one is getting in my shots, and I get crowded, popular landmarks all to myself.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Long before we visited Arches National Park, I knew I wanted three things: sunrise, sunset, and stars.  We were going to be in Moab for about a week, so we had planned on Sunday in Canyonlands, Monday for Needles (which ended up being a day to patter around Moab), a casual Tuesday to see the sights in Arches and scout for sunrise spots, sunrise (and sunset/stars) in Arches on Wednesday, an open day on Thursday, then travel on Friday.  We had lots of hot sun in Island in the Sky, so I had high expectations for Arches.

However, like I found in Mesa Verde, trips seldom go according to plan. Continue reading