The Maze and the Mesa | Day 3
Monday, April 11, 2011
During our second night camping at Chimney Rock there was much less wind, and I ended up sleeping a lot better. When we woke up in the morning it was also a bit warmer and the wind had completely disappeared. The first thing I did was grab my camera and take a few photos as the sun came up.
The sun rising in the east over the La Sal Mountains lights up Ekker Butte.
Early morning light looking towards the La Sal Mountains casts a blue hue over the different layers of the landscape.
These prominent landmarks are known as The Chocolate Drops because they are misnamed on current maps according to some sources. They do look more like Chocolate Bars to me. The Maze Overlook is located right behind them from this angle.
Our campsite near Chimney Rock before packing up and leaving.
Since our permit for the Chimney Rock camp was only for two nights, we packed up camp after some breakfast so that we could move on. Then we drove over to The Doll House so that we could start exploring that area. Our first hike in The Doll House area was the Granary Loop, which gave us a nice view of Surprise Valley on our way to visit a few hidden ruins.
View of The Doll House while hiking The Granary Trail.
On our way to the granaries, we passed through this small slot. Jared takes my photo as I take his.
Dave and Jared check out Surprise Valley from above. Look closely and you can see the Colorado River.
Three of the four small granaries lined up on one side of the alcove.
The one granary by itself on the other side of the alcove converted to black and white.
Here’s all four granaries in view.
After checking out the granaries, we completed the loop trail and then hiked out to Beehive Arch along the Colorado and Green Rivers Overlook Trail.
Jared and Dave below the needles in The Doll House area on our hike to Beehive Arch.
A view along the Colorado and Green Rivers Overlook Trail.
A wide view of Beehive Arch.
A closer look at a different angle.
Dave climbed up some sandstone for a better view of the area.
More needles in The Doll House area on our way back from Beehive Arch.
Before leaving The Doll House I checked out all three campsites so that I could plan some future trips to the area. Next, we headed back past Chimney Rock so we could setup our last campsite in The Maze at Standing Rock.
My Jeep parked at our campsite near Standing Rock.
Camp setup under the monolith.
Once camp was setup we had some lunch and took some photos of the Sun Circle that appeared overhead when a thin layer of clouds blew overhead.
I decided to try my 16-35mm lens for the first time in the field for some nice sunbursts, which I think turned out pretty good.
A less colorful version, but with an interesting composition.
There was still plenty of time in the day, so we headed over to Lizard Rock and started hiking towards Tibbett Arch. There was plenty of route-finding involved, but I found a nice overlook right across the small canyon from the arch. Dave, on the other hand, managed to get above and on the other side of the arch.
The large monolith on the left is Lizard Rock, with Plug Rock just to the right of it. Standing Rock is the skinny one in the distance. Land of the Standing Rocks.
Looking down into the canyon in front of Tibbett Arch. You can see the arch to the upper left of the photo.
A closer look at Tibbett Arch. I was hoping to get low enough to see some sky through it, but that didn’t work out this time.
After we finished exploring the area and taking a few photos we returned to camp so we could relax and have some dinner. I was hoping the skies would clear a bit that night so that I could try some star trails with Standing Rock in the foreground.
Back at camp, Dave made us all dinner which included fried chicken and potatoes which were delicious. Then we watched the sun go down from Standing Rock with cameras in hand.
Looking up at Standing Rock. You can see the very small moon above it and to the left a little bit.
Zoomed in to see the moon with a small piece of Standing Rock in view.
Dave watches the sun set from under Standing Rock.
Jared lies down to get a photo of Standing Rock.
When it got dark enough, I finally got to try some star trails. Unfortunately, since this was my first time trying them with my new camera and lens they didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. Here is one photo that I took without the trails while experimenting, though.
A night shot of Standing Rock with plenty of stars and a nice little cloud in the sky.
It was a nice night under the stars and wasn’t too cold. Definitely not a bad way to spend our last evening in The Maze and Canyonlands National Park.