Kickin' around the Strip, November 2017


Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
May 5, 2012
Spent a week in early November on the Arizona Strip without much of an itinerary, just wandering to some popular spots in the hopes of catching a decent photo or two.

Started out in Vermillion Cliffs NM after striking out at the Coyote Buttes North lottery in Kanab.



















Coming off the Sand Hills, I checked out the condor viewing area at the south end of the House Rock Valley Road. A number of the birds were roosting up near the enclosure at the top of the Vermillion Cliffs.





Heading into St. George to visit some friends, I made the teeth-grinding drive through Zion. A large group of Bighorn Sheep were grazing just off the side of SR-9.

I pulled off to the side of the road before anyone else had and quietly broke out the telephoto.




It only took a couple of minutes for a large crowd to gather. Noise intensified. People left their cars idling and walked right up to the sheep.


Others held their iPads up to car windows, parking in the middle of the lane and blocking traffic. The wildlife handled it pretty well, considering. I secretly hoped one of them would charge.

This jerkface barely slowed down, practically nudging the sheep out of the way with his car. He deserved a skull punch from a male Bighorn more than anyone.


Disgusted, I packed up the camera and glared until the people who'd blocked me in by double-parking pulled forward enough to let me escape.

Afternoon was stretching on when I hit the canyon bottom. The idea hit me to shoot sunset from Angel's Landing. I grabbed the shuttle and disembarked at the Grotto around 4 p.m. The canyon bottom was already deep in shadow.


Racing the clock, I busted up the trail as most other people were sauntering down. My heart rate was cooking at about 180 bpm just below Scout Lookout. Fading light has a way of motivating me though. Breathing heavy under the weight of two DSLRs, lenses and a full-size tripod, I pushed up the chains.



I ended up making it to the top in about 65 minutes, which I thought was pretty good.



A couple of shirtless frat bros arrived behind me and celebrated by shotgunning beers and calling their friend on speaker phone. Sigh.



Thankfully, the fading light spooked the two guys and they scooted off quickly.

Twilight was well on by the time I departed, the last one off for the day. I made it almost all the way back to Scout Lookout before darkness became too enveloping and I had to bust out the headlamp.

The trip down was a bit of a race in its own right, since I was afraid of missing the last shuttle back down canyon. Double-timing down Walters Wiggles was made easier by the fact I had the whole width of the trail to work with, since there was no counter traffic.

I made it with about 10 minutes to spare. Time coming down was about the same as going up, ~70 minutes.

A shower and a hot meal in St. George that night, then it was on to Toroweap.





Sunset light reflecting off the canyon walls was reaching the surface of the river 3,000 vertical feet below. It made the water look like molten metal from up on the rim. Trying to capture it pushed the limits of my camera gear and I'm not at all happy with the outcome versus what it looked like in person.







Only two other sites at the Toroweap CG were in use that night. It was quiet and warm for November. Unlike Vermillion Cliffs where the overnight temps were in the 20s, it was probably around 40 at night on the Esplanade.









On the way out the next day, I took the time to stop at Pipe Springs NM. I've passed it by many times but never devoted the time. I was impressed by the fair and neutral way the NPS approached telling the history here.

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Always great @Dave. Thanks for taking the time to write it up and post it for us.
Beyond amazed by your ability to capture a place and a scene, Daveee. A most powerful gallery of images. Thank you!
Awesome shots @Dave
Love your pictures :)
The Arizona strip is incredible- serene. We enjoyed those warm days in November and December 2017 too.
And wow.... you did make great time up and down past Scout Lookout.
About missing out in the Coyote Butte North lottery: You might like some amazing off trail photo opportunities in Valley of Fire SP:
'Fire wave', but in particular OFF TRAIL west and southwest of the Fire Wave is as close as it gets to the Wave in Coyote Butte.
We visited the Wave in December 2016, but we were equally blown away by amazing photo opportunities off trail from the "Fire Wave" in Nevada, February 2018. We were suppose to visit the Fire Wave quick one morning, but we ended up spending a full day shooting loads of pictures close by.
Then close to Page : The "Great Wall" close to Waterholes Canyon looks like the 'second Wave' in Coyote Butte. Unfortunately they recently made Waterholes Canyon into a tour event. Until recently you could get a Navajo permit and go in your own, but not anymore....
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I'm happy this report got bumped!!! Missed it the first time through. You showed those lottery gods what4!!!!! Having made that walk away from the visitors center empty handed also, I know the first thing that comes to mind is "what to do, what to do". That is how I experienced Buckskin Wash the first time.
About missing out in the Coyote Butte North lottery: You might like some amazing off trail photo opportunities in Valley of Fire SP:
'Fire wave', but in particular OFF TRAIL west and southwest of the Fire Wave is as close as it gets to the Wave in Coyote Butte.

Thanks, and welcome to BCP.

I've been to both The Wave and The Fire Wave. I agree VoF has some great photo locations. I need to get back there again soon.

I get a hair to play the permit lottery every once in awhile, even though I know there are zillions of other places left to explore. It's always nice to be reminded of the endless alternatives.
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