Archive for Dead Horse Point

Day 5 – Dead Horse Point

Posted in Photography, Travel with tags , , , , on 17 October 2013 by Richard Hornbaker

[This post is part of The Accidental Photo Adventure]

Arches National Park

“Welcome to your national park.  Now go home.”

Yep, it happened.  It’s October 1, 2013, and the new US federal budget didn’t get approved.  In the most visible immediate impact, all national parks were closed.  Apparently roads, overlooks, and campgrounds stop working without funding.

This was the scene at the entrance to Arches National Park in Southeastern Utah, with park rangers barricading the entrance and turning away traffic:

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I’ll spare you a political rant, but I’ve been incredibly frustrated by the lack of common sense being applied – this almost seems designed to make the public irate.  In many cases, more effort was being spent to deny access than just to allow it to continue.  E.g., barricading and patrolling open-air monuments and memorials.  Locking rest stop toilets that are literally nothing more than a toilet seat over a large hole in the ground.  Among the petty actions, the National Park Service even took down its website, claiming it “wasn’t being maintained”.

Plan B

Anyway… we decided to hang out in the motel for the morning in case the politicians came to an agreement and the disruption was short-lived.  As the day wore on, it became evident that we needed to make other plans.  And so did other folks – by mid-morning, the area was already losing massive amounts of business; one hotel had 3 tour buses cancel immediately, costing 50% of their bookings.

We took the opposite approach and extended our stay by an extra night, holding onto hope that sanity would prevail and we could resume our itinerary.  Meanwhile, we considered other activities for the next couple days.

Dead Horse Point State Park

As luck would have it, we’d passed a turnoff on the road to Canyonlands.  It was for one of Utah’s state-run parks, and it had an entirely different vista of the canyons below – essentially, it overlooked the upper section.

And, boy, were they busy.  By some accounts, they had 10 times their normal volume of visitors.  I’m sure this was greatly influenced by their proximity to both the town of Moab and two major national parks.

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Intro | Day 1: Getting Started, Zion | Day 2: Zion
Day 3: Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon | Day 4: Capitol Reef, Canyonlands
Day 5: Dead Horse Point | Day 6: Monument ValleyDay 7: Grand Mesa
Day 8: McClure Pass, Aspen, Garden of the Gods | Day 9: Wolf Creek Pass
Day 10: Durango & Silverton Railroad, Albuquerque Balloon Festival
Day 11: Pre-dawn Balloon Launch, The End | Trip Prep | The Gear
FotoMomenti – My Comrade’s Portfolio

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The Accidental Photo Adventure

Posted in Photography, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07 October 2013 by Richard Hornbaker

Road Trip Map

A friend and I ventured out on a 17-day photo safari. What unfolded was very different than we planned, and a lot more exciting!

My shooting partner is a consultant-for-hire, and we’d long discussed taking a photo trek after he wrapped up a multi-year project. The plan was to do a road trip and hit a bunch of US National Parks while he drove his car home cross-country. No family, just photographers, so plenty of patience for the speed of the art.

The plan was to start in Arizona, go through Utah (Zion, Red Canyon, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonland, Arches, Monument Valley), up to Wyoming (Grand Tetons, Yellowstone), then Montana (Glacier), the Dakotas (Mt. Rushmore, Badlands), and through Nebraska (farmland) to Omaha where I’d fly home. 17 days, 3000 miles, and 10 national parks. Originally, the plan included Death Valley, but that was nixed due to the logistics and cost of a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to get where we’d want to shoot.

It was all going smoothly until the 5th day of our trip – October 1, 2013. That’s the first day of the US Federal fiscal calendar, and the national parks were all closed because the politicians hadn’t approved the next year’s budget. At the same time, a tropical storm that hadn’t been in the forecast started to make its way from the Pacific across the central US, leading to heavy snowfall and tornadoes along our route.  We found ourselves suddenly improvising our entire itinerary day-by-day.  Here’s the route we ended up taking:

Road Trip Map Actual

We’d planned to stay in motels along the way (rather than camp), but only the first two cities had been booked. Originally, this was because hotels to the North had excellent availability, they wanted as much as 7 days notice for cancellation, and our itinerary was still flexible. This proved more fortunate than we could have predicted.

What follows is a story that’s not so much about photography, but rather the trip from a photographer’s perspective. I’ll be adding the pages below as I process photos, for a little extra personal motivation – if you subscribe, you’ll get notified when they’re posted. I hope you enjoy it!

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Intro | Day 1: Getting Started, Zion | Day 2: Zion
Day 3: Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon | Day 4: Capitol Reef, Canyonlands
Day 5: Dead Horse Point | Day 6: Monument ValleyDay 7: Grand Mesa
Day 8: McClure Pass, Aspen, Garden of the Gods | Day 9: Wolf Creek Pass
Day 10: Durango & Silverton Railroad, Albuquerque Balloon Festival
Day 11: Pre-dawn Balloon Launch, The End | Trip Prep | The Gear
FotoMomenti – My Comrade’s Portfolio

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