False Kiva- Canyonlands

This photograph shows the False Kiva in Canyonlands National Park. I guess they named it this because most of the time a kiva will have the round circle but also have a hole in the ground that the Anasazi would climb down into for their religious ceremony. From what I can determine no one knows which group of early native Americans built this but it was probably the Anasazi.

I was able to determine that who ever built this place did not want visitors. It was a VERY strenuous hike to reach this location. You go down a very steep slope and then across the face of the the area just below the alcove where the kiva is located and then angle back and up to reach the alcove. It was rough hike both going down and then back up to the kiva. Even worse was the hike back up to get out of there. Both the friend I went with and I were exhausted when we got back to our vehicle. Click on image to enlarge.

False KivaThe view from this location is magnificent. You are looking out across Canyonlands Island in the Sky on the Green River side. It is an incredible distance down if you look off the edge of the alcove at the front of the rock circle.We sat here for awhile just enjoying the view and peace and quiet. The people who built this sure picked a fantastic location. However, getting there is a real challenge.

I would definitely recommend you go see this but if you are not use to hiking strenuous trails in a high desert altitude environment then it would not be a good idea. A “couch potato” person from sea level altitude would have a very difficult time.

Apparently there is some controversy over telling people how to find this place. While not protected, most vandals will have a hard time reaching this place. Hopefully people who like to damage National Parks will just stay home.  If you do a search on False Kiva you will find trail information so I won’t repeat all of it here. The trail starts near the parking area for Alcove Spring Trail, across the road and back toward the east. The trail is not labeled but there are lots of cairns to show you the way.

Fog Chasing

I think I have a new sport. I call it “Fog Chasing”. This time of year the fog can roll in and out of the Colorado National Monument with the result being some incredibly amazing scenery. However, trying to photograph this scenery can be truly frustrating.

One moment the fog can be so thick you can’t see anything. In a short period of time the fog can totally disappear. What you want is patches of fog among the rock formations in the Monument. That is easier said than done. When I took this photograph the fog would be just perfect and then within 30 seconds it would be so thick you couldn’t see anything. When there was partial clearing of the fog you had to move fast to capture the moment before the fog closed in again.

After a couple of hours chasing the fog from one location to another in the Monument I was exhausted. On the drive up to the Colorado National Monument the fog was so dense I could not see very far ahead. At one point three Bighorn Sheep crossed the road in front of me. Fortunately I was not driving very fast.

You should give it a try. The photographs are worth it. You just need lots of patience, determination, and luck. Fog

Snow and Fog

I have had a little trouble keeping up with postings on my website blog. I managed to catch a bad cold over the holidays which has slowed me down. Just occurred to me is there such a thing as a good cold? I don’t think so.

Today we have several inches of snow in the Colorado National Monument. We also have heavy fog. This made for some interesting photographic conditions. I like this photo because the heavy fog resulted in a plain background which does not distract from the main subject matter. It was a wet snow which provides a nice coating of snow hanging on the trees.Snow and FogOn the way up to the Colorado National Monument I saw three Bighorn Sheep. One of them was chewing on a mouth full of grass while crossing the road. I rolled down the window and said you should be paying attention to traffic instead of eating. Well she just kept right on chewing and ignored me.

It was a very beautiful and peaceful morning in the Monument.


Mohican State Park

The blog today has two photographs. Don’t get too excited. Going back to just one photo on the next one.

These photographs were taken in the Mohican State Park in Ohio. I know. Right now you are saying hey Steve, thought your website is suppose to be images of the west!!! Well for one thing Ohio is west of New York City. And second, it is my website so I can break the rules if I feel like it.

The first photo is a covered bridge that crosses the Mohican River. image

I think this park would be more fun in either the spring or fall seasons. It was very cold while we were here so we did not feel like hiking. There are a lot of hiking trails that look like they would be a lot of fun.

The second photo is the Mohican River. I shot this while standing on the covered bridge.image

I think this is enough of Ohio. Time to get back to the Wild Wild West. Definitely time for a return to the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction,CO.

So, stay tuned for a return to red rock country.


Winter Sky

The sky in winter time can make for some very nice photographs. With leaves off the trees and pastel colors the photograph can have a very peaceful character. In this case there is also a very entertaining reflection in the pond.There is no snow on the ground but it is cold.

Don’t have time to write very much tonight. I am headed out soon to a cooking class. I also do some food photography. You can find some of those images on one of the main pages of my website. Click on image to enlarge.


Bracket Fungi

Here we have a neat photograph of some bracket fungi. Yesterday I was out exploring a wooded area that was fairly damp from recent rains. From the time I was just a little kid I have loved being out in nature somewhere all by myself. This shot would have been better if I had the proper camera equipment with me but I still like this colorful fungus.imageIf a person is out in some natural environment somewhere and you look closely and pay attention to your surroundings you will see some amazing creatures.

These bracket fungi are on the side of a rotting log. If I had moved the log I might have found some interesting invertebrate creatures.

You should try it some time. Get a camera with a macro lens and go hunting for the small marvels in nature.

Goblin Valley

I was thinking today that it might be getting close to time to go back to Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. As soon as we get a nice snow storm I think I will do that. Here is a photograph I took on another trip with snow on the ground in Goblin Valley.

Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley

I do love this park. While it is not a large park the photographic opportunities are many. During the winter the mixture of snow and red rocks results in amazing scenery.

However, if the snow has started to melt the ground around the red rock formations can turn into a muddy mess. You want to be there when the area is dry or the ground is frozen. It is not fun when it is wet.

OK, come on snow !!!!!


Golden Eagle

While I was in the Colorado National Monument the other day I had the opportunity to see a Golden Eagle. They are a beautiful bird and as you can see from this photograph they are quite large. If you click on the image you will see it full screen.

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

I was very lucky to catch this guy with a nice sky behind him. If the background had been rocks or trees he would have blended into the background.

There was also a raven following and harrassing him. The eagle probably raided the raven’s next and ate the young. Not a good way to win friends. When I was young I had a pet Great Horned Owl. My owl was often chased by Blue Jays for the same reason. The owl raided the Blue Jay nests.

I also had a pet Blue Jay. My owl ate my Blue Jay. That is a story for another time.

If you go to the main part of my website under the page titled “Wildlife” you will also see Bald Eagles.

Winter in the Monument

Today we are back in the Colorado National Monument. I know you were hoping to hear more about Dungeness Crabs and how much I like them but not this time. Some people are getting tired of all the crab talk.

Over night there was a light dusting of snow in the Monument with more snow at the higher elevations. The road across the Monument is closed at the usual place which is the overview area for Independence Monument. This photograph shows some fog trying to move into the canyons of the Monument. As you can see the trees have a light covering of snow. It was a beautiful morning in the Monument. Be sure to click on the thumbnail image to enlarge. Monument FogAlmost forgot to mention that once again I saw Bighorn Sheep in the Monument. Lately I see them every time I go up to the Monument.

Living in Colorado and in particular the Grand Valley is wonderful.There is amazing scenery in all directions.


Moon over the Monument

A few days ago there was a full moon. When I got up that morning the full moon was just above the rock face of the Colorado National Monument. I took this photograph from our house. Remember to click on the image to enlarge.MoonNow I realize that if I had been smart I would have been somewhere up in the Monument to get a shot of the moon with a more impressive foreground. Hello !!! That would require that I get out of bed earlier. Plus I believe that it was around 23 degrees outside that morning. My bed was way too comfortable.

I think we are going to get some rain in the next few days. If that happens maybe I can get some interesting photographs of flash flooding in the Colorado National Monument. I will of course stay out of the way of the rushing water.

If you live in the area or are traveling through the Grand Junction area you really need to go up to the Monument. Your chances of seeing Bighorn Sheep are better than I have ever experienced in past few years. Go check it out.