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Monday, December 5, 2016

The Alien Red Rock World

Out in the red rock desert of Utah, the land is so different from home that it feels like we're on a different planet.

Our first campsite was below a vast slickrock plateau that led downhill to several canyons. I took this photo when Shyla and I were at our furthest point from camp during a ride that wove in and out of canyons and then across this field of rock. Our camp was to the right of the furthest right rock formation in the photo. It was about a 10 minute downhill ride from there.
The two "pot holes" to Shyla's right were about to be filled by an afternoon rain storm. Those potholes are filled with life, just waiting for water to blossom. We got to see an example of that when we ran across a red spotted toad on the rocks near our camp. Shyla accidentally dislodged him with her paw, and he landed, unharmed, in a bed of cottonwood leaves. It was nighttime so I illuminated him with my head lamp to get a photo.
I've read that the tadpoles that morph into these toads have a tremendous race against time. Desert potholes stay filled with water for only a short time after rain due to rapid evaporation. The tadpoles need to become toads before their temporary homes go dry.

The view from our campsite is another example of how alien the red rock world looks compared to our mountain home. This photo was shortly after the sun rose behind my camera. You can see the shadow of the mesa to our left on the rock formation on the other side of the canyon.

Like clockwork, at noon every day, our campsite would be shaded as the sun went behind the corner of rock to the left in the photo. After that brief shady period, our campsite had about another 3 hours of sun before it fell into shade for the night.

At night, these landforms looked almost spooky. I loved watching the stars over them. A minor meteor shower (Leonid) was sending shooting stars through our atmosphere, and I was lucky enough to capture one during a 14 minute time lapse series of photos of the stars.
I always feel like it's my lucky night when my camera shutter happens to be open when a shooting star flies overhead!


  1. That is the alien alright!!
    Lily & Edward

  2. That starry night is always always our most favorite picture!!! stella rose

  3. Wow - that first photo does look very strange like you're on another planet.

  4. You just can't know Red Rock until you see it in pawson! Love us some red rock too! Great pics!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  5. I have never witnessed a shooting star but WOW ...what a beautiful place to camp!

  6. You always show is such beauty!
    MR Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  7. Now we know where the aliens live!

  8. It really does have the feel of a different world - we thank you for sharing it with us.

  9. Such a strange but pretty landscape!

  10. Very pretty and I love the star photo.

    Aroo to you,

  11. With the sun low in the sky, it is all so different. Lovely scenes, what another fantastic place. This morning, very early, I met a Dr. ( yes a one night stay again , but back home now and OK.) who had lived in Co for a while, and almost at your back door!! How cool is that!!! He is in NZ for at least one year.

  12. Someday...someday we'll get there too. For now I love seeing your photos.


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