Sand Cove & Yellow Rock

Friday – Sunday, January 31 – February 2, 2014

I had another permit to Coyote Buttes North this Saturday, so I decided to spend the weekend down around the Paria. The weather looked like it was going to be pretty nice so I was looking forward to getting in my first camping trip of the year. I only worked a half-day on Friday and then started driving through a snowstorm as I headed south through Utah. I finally got out of the snow shortly after passing through Monticello. I stopped for a quick dinner in Page and then hurried to make it up to the Paria Canyon Overlook in time for sunset. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave myself enough time and made it to the overlook just after the sun had set. I was a little disappointed at first, but soon realized that the canyon looked pretty good in the early twilight. I had originally planned on camping up at the overlook for the night, but it was much windier and colder up here than I had anticipated, so I decided to drive back down to the Stateline Campground for the night. That way I would also be much closer to the Wire Pass trailhead for an early start in the morning.

As I was nearing Kayenta, I liked the clouds above Church Rock and pulled over for a quick photo.

12291679773_2de176d6d6_z.jpg
Church Rock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I made it to the Paria Canyon Overlook just after the sun had set. There was a tiny bit of color in the clouds.

12296023553_434430e491_z.jpg
Jagged Edge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A beautiful view down Paria Canyon towards Lee’s Ferry in the early twilight.

12291789943_3f3b472146_z.jpg
Paria Overlook by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

It was a nice 32 degrees out when I woke up around 5:30am on Saturday morning, and there was a light dusting of snow on my tent and Jeep. I had a quick breakfast and then took the short drive over to the Wire Pass trailhead. I started my hike in the dark and headed over to The Boneyard and Sand Cove in time to catch the sunrise. There were some low clouds on the eastern horizon that blocked the warm early morning light but the clouds above were nice and the sun did eventually strike the Coyote Buttes above.

My first stop this time was to The Boneyard just as the sun was coming up for the day.

12363663034_15071d7fcc_z.jpg
Boneyard Morning by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Great clouds in the sky this morning. I really couldn’t have asked for a much better sunrise!

12363583463_bc38e7c659_z.jpg
Clouds Over Sandstone by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I got a much better photo of this little hoodoo that I found on my last trip.

12308791996_c77206eaa7_z.jpg
Sunrise Hoodoo by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This was a happy accident. As I was searching for a new composition I accidentally pressed the shutter button on my camera as it was moving. I almost deleted the photo, but something about it made me stop myself. When I got home and looked at it more closely I am glad that I didn’t delete it since it’s a nice abstract image.

12308221505_36d9f5c418_z.jpg
Sandstone Abstract by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I always thought The Racetrack looked good in direct sunlight like The Wave, but now I think I prefer it in the shadows of the early morning…

12299576043_ef5c5d4c63_z.jpg
Racetrack Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view back towards the snow-covered Coyote Buttes was amazing!

12287746706_6f098f259b_z.jpg
Coyote Buttes by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Great lines, clouds and light!

12296099153_f70028cd56_z.jpg
Morning Twist by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After photographing The Racetrack, I climbed up towards The Wave and wandered around the sandstone under the Black Crack for a little bit.

12385164295_1d13f3762e_z.jpg
Under the Black Crack by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A light dusting of snow on the ‘brainrock’ below the Black Crack.

12308285725_62e10c40cf_z.jpg
Dusting by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Snow caught on thin ridges near the Second Wave.

12297258874_962273f474_z.jpg
Light Snow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Beautiful soft reflected light on the Second Wave. It always amazing me how differently these features can look in different light.

12308802414_7966a41f9a_z.jpg
Soft Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This trip I decided to spend much of my time exploring the Sand Cove area more closely since I have spent plenty of time around The Wave and on Top Rock before. It was a very interesting area and I didn’t see anyone or even any footprints while I was down there.

So many lines…

12308424665_0aa9a85a50_z.jpg
Stripes by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a cool rock I stumbled upon as I explored a large alcove back in Sand Cove. I prefer this image in black and white over the color version.

12331439323_c814f4f6b4_z.jpg
Ringed Rock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I liked the way the ridges on this boulder were catching the reflected light. The light in the large alcove behind it isn’t too bad either!

12331228825_aed89875bc_z.jpg
Rock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I was paying attention to the small hidden details on this trip.

12331268933_f34e4a72ea_z.jpg
Root by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

My shadow on a snow-covered sand dune as I hiked further up into Sand Cove.

12305223906_b06e6f9200_z.jpg
Sand Cove Shadow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An interesting lone tree I found as I hiked along the base of Top Rock.

12326551765_7efbb7a729_z.jpg
Lone Tree by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12331808194_29c1dd9157_z.jpg
Stone & Tree by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The colors you can find in the sandstone around here are beautiful.

12310954063_d43c2cf3fd_z.jpg
Sandstone Rainbow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12326687635_b524ed16e2_z.jpg
Crack by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12326630115_24a65bcc34_z.jpg
Twist by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking back down Sand Cove as I hiked further to the top.

12310952163_d17ac1c034_z.jpg
Upper Sand Cove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12326629763_62f4c080fb_z.jpg
Lines Everywhere by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There was a nice layer of snow on the sandstone in the upper reaches of Sand Cove.

12322079833_cb1fe9bf27_z.jpg
Snow Stone Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12326369505_8d07dd1311_z.jpg
Snowstone by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A lot of sandstone hiking on my way back down…

12385465533_6144cdcaed_z.jpg
Sandstone Hiking by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12298161076_8c3c40fb66_z.jpg
Swirl by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

These cool boxwork rocks can be found all over the place.

12298083636_f94f297294_z.jpg
Unique by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I was here with Jared back in September 2012, we had searched for the dinosaur tracks but were unable to find them. I had better luck this time.

12311070363_4c0458a8b1_z.jpg
Dinosaur Tracks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

My hand for a little scale…

12367703573_27d1d5f190_z.jpg
Dino Scale by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I did end up making a quick stop at The Wave before heading back to my Jeep. It was the only time I saw any people all day and most of them had just visited The Wave and were leaving…

As I entered the passageway to The Wave I noticed one small section of sandstone that was receiving this intense reflected light.

12310857705_82b572287a_z.jpg
Entrance Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I almost didn’t even stop by The Wave on this trip, but in the end I decided to swing by before leaving the area. I’ve been here a number of times over the years, but I still think my best photos of The Wave are from my very first trip.

12311131933_0c18b0de78_z.jpg
The Wave by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12297146333_60eda82710_z.jpg
Wave by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On my way back to the trailhead I took a detour to visit the Waterhole. Lucky for me it wasn’t dry! It was a bit breezy out so the water wasn’t completely still, but I still managed to get a nice reflection.

12297442205_37408c01a4_z.jpg
Waterhole by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View across to The Dive as I left the Waterhole.

12349521414_95ac489210_z.jpg
The Dive by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12363524465_0c2777f2e3_z.jpg
Goblin Valley by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After I made it back to my Jeep I still had time to get back up to the Paria Canyon Overlook again in time for the sunset. I ended up crossing the state line a few times today…

12327257764_5ec1c9ecba_z.jpg
Arizona – Utah by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The sunset view down Paria Canyon. I think I prefer my twilight image from the night before a little more, but the warm light on the cliffs is nice.

12349139155_f3f9b17524_z.jpg
Paria Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On Sunday morning I was up very early again. This time it was a much colder 20 degrees when I got out of my sleeping bag. I quickly packed up camp and headed up Cottonwood Wash Road along the Paria River and Cockscomb. I parked at the Lower Hackberry Canyon trailhead and started hiking up the steep trail to Yellow Rock in the dark. I have wanted to visit Yellow Rock for many years and it has almost always been on my itinerary every time I head down this direction, but for some reason it usually ends up getting bumped off for something else. I had actually planned to stop here when I was down this way back in November but I decided to go to Willis Creek instead because of the clear skies. Today was finally my day to visit Yellow Rock. I just made it to Yellow Rock as the sun was coming up for the day…

Magenta clouds above The Cockscomb.

12368386924_4c942dea6d_z.jpg
Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The sun did briefly light up the very top of Yellow Rock before hiding behind some clouds again.

12348982083_496c6c9ffd_z.jpg
Light First by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The sun would play hide and seek with the clouds all morning. It’s always fun for me to photograph in these conditions.

12332164913_bc71764396_z.jpg
Over the Cockscomb by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Found my shadow…

12368194283_d7b85aa29a_z.jpg
Yellow Rock Shadow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12349110863_d4db7ff83f_z.jpg
Goblin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Beautiful clouds above warmly lit sandstone…my favorite combination!

12291742555_f80ab3ffe2_z.jpg
Yellow Lines by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12368583714_57e903d458_z.jpg
Downhill by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View from the top.

12389294543_6c8b81baaf_z.jpg
Red & Yellow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12368764784_2b1289620b_z.jpg
Colorful Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12368654864_486cfcfb9a_z.jpg
Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12296172685_8997ebe535_z.jpg
Colors by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12311646634_2ee11f0a31_z.jpg
Yellow Rock Top by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After an amazing morning photographing sunrise from Yellow Rock I made my way back to Page for a late breakfast and then made a quick stop at Water Holes Canyon before my long drive home.

Shallow sections of the canyon.

12367861953_1f60ac25d9_z.jpg
Water Holes Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12367629865_2152794cb1_z.jpg
Water Holes Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I must not have been here at a good time because I didn’t find much reflected light while I was here. But there were a couple of small areas that had some…

12389393753_2d53a2fea5_z.jpg
Waterholes Passage by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12343402283_4b3bc5a2ee_z.jpg
Waterholes Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12367931043_84ac66b520_z.jpg
Drain by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Hiking back out.

12348610405_fdf0d88236_z.jpg
Water Holes Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I climbed out of the canyon to visit The Great Wall before hiking back along the rim.

12343387533_09cc326a7d_z.jpg
The Great Wall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

12296261553_0ef110ac7d_z.jpg
Part Wall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I like the way the lines in the sandstone kind of mirror the clouds above…

12296042705_107d57b6cb_z.jpg
Mirror by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Sand Cove & Yellow Rock Photo Gallery


1 comment

  1. John Spurr February 10, 2014 11:29 am  Reply

    Wonderful shots! Love them! If you had continued to the west up that sand dune in Sand Cove, you would eventually made it to The Notch trailhead. Have you ever taken that route in?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *