I got an 6:00 AM start on my trip to the southern part of Canyonlands National Park, but I stopped so many times to get shots of fascinating rock formations I started worrying I wouldn’t have enough time to spend at the park itself, especially since the campgrounds were full and it was a long way back to where I could camp. Heck, one of the reasons I’ve been so slow publishing these shots is that I have so many shots to go through to select the best ones.
When I saw this huge rock formation right before the turnoff to the park, however,
I just had to stop and get shots of it while the lighting was right. I’m sure it’s just a natural formation, but the “cave” at the base reminded me of ancient pyramids or Mayan Temples. Somehow it was easy to envision Shelley’s “Ozymandias” as I gazed out upon it standing alone in a vast desert.
When I learned that Newspaper Rock was also directly on the way to the park, I couldn’t miss the chance to stop and see the petroglyphs. This is just a small portion of the rock,
because there was so many petroglyphs it was nearly impossible to get all of them in one shot, even with my wide-angle lens. I was awestruck as I stood there. I visit petroglyphs every chance I get, but I’ve never seen any quite as impressive as this.
If the scenery hadn’t been as awesome as it was, I would have gladly spent three or four hours studying the petroglyphs, but I was also distracted by the fabulous scenery.
It was the golden trees against the rocks that first drew my attention, but I couldn’t resist stopping for a closer shot later when I got nearer the formation in the background of the shot, and it was even more impressive up close.
Naturally I didn’t have to drive much further down the road to find even more impressive trees and rock formations.
I had to stop and get another shot of the rock formation from a better angle further down the road.
By then I had realized I had to quit stopping so often if I wanted time to explore the park itself. Nevertheless, when I saw these horses grazing something made me stop yet again.
This place resonated with me deeper than almost any place I’ve visited in recent years, but it wasn’t until I got home that I realized that the area reminded me of the John Ford/John Wayne movies (i.e. “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”). It turns out that they weren’t actually filmed here but were filmed in a very similar, nearby area of Utah. As a child this was the archetypal Old West for me, and deep down it must still be.