This album is dedicated to photography showcasing the places I visited on this dreamland. During my first visit as a photographer, we had the opportunity to travel through some of the most visited parks in the United States Old West, but also got to know impressive sights of lesser known parks. At this time of the year, autumn creates a lot of contrasting colors, with yellow and red all mixed up within the green forest. Skies are clear for the most part, and indeed we had no rain during the entire week. The landscape is composed mostly of rocks plus pine and deciduous forests, a wonderful combination.
Bryce Canyon National Park
I have always dreamed of visiting Grand Canyon National Park since I was a child. It is still on my to do list, but before I could meet with the Grand Canyon, I had a taste of scale at Bryce Canyon. Not truly a canyon, it is instead a series of amphitheaters connected together. Bryce is a popular tourist destination, since it is relatively easy to reach out by car. There are various hiking trails that take you to see the canyon both from the top down and from the bottom up. The most brave can even camp within one of the longest trails, however we did not have that into our plans and stayed close to the entrance. There is plenty to marvel at in terms of landscape. But the really one experience that mesmerized me was seeing a raven fly above one of the amphitheaters as everything was quiet, and after giving its characteristic call from afar, the echo rebounded in an stereo mode that was just unbelievable. Every time I think about Bryce, I remember this one experience, which gives me shivers around my back.
Cedar Breaks National Park
Cedar Breaks was my very first encounter with the autumn colors. Aspen trees were already transformed to yellow when we arrived, and maple trees had their leaves turning red already. The place was virtually deserted, almost no people were around, which gave us the tranquility to explore at our own pace. The monument is at a high elevation though, which meant adapting to the bitter cold after a morning of hot weather. Yet the amphitheater and the hoodoos were well worth it. Although not as impressive in scale as Bryce, the combination of deserted land with pine and aspen forest was unique.
Kolob Canyons National Park
Kolob Canyons is another of the Unites States parks that are not very well known. We had the opportunity to visit it briefly and hike the 1 kilometer-long trail. It was curious that right by the entrance, there was a sign post indicating that during summer, the temperature can go up quickly and that people are required to carry water bottles, otherwise they would be risking dehydration, which is pretty mad given the short distance. Anyway, the landscape was a little bit different, since most of the expanse was relatively plain but covered in green forests, all the way to a mountainous range that is composed of bare rock. I suppose there are a lot more places to explore, but getting there would mean some serious hiking.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is one of the harshest places I have ever visited. One of the most popular spots for tourists is Badwater Basin, a place at 86 meters below sea level. That’s right, below sea level means business when talking about heat, but the fact that the place is almost entirely devoid of precipitation during the year means that the heat is not felt as strongly as in the Rain Forest, even though temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius are the norm here. The wind is also very strong, threatening to make you trip even on the plain ground, and since the area is mostly sand, I had to walk with my eyes closed, otherwise my eyes would suffer. Now, there is this place called The Painter’s Drive which is a more easy place to stay. It is composed by rocks of different colors and minerals, and we managed to explore it for a while on our feet. We look tiny against the huge boulders and hills in this place!
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is just marvelous. Although an arid landscape, it also sports small oasis of life thanks to the Zion river, which crosses right into the heart of the park. The trail to Angel’s Landing, one of the most popular places in the park, gets crowded with many visitors. As you ascend through the trail, you start to get a wonderful view of the valley both in front of and below you, with walls of rock that raise from the ground in an almost vertical fashion. One can only guess that this river has taken thousands or even millions of years to carve all that rock and produce the deep valley that this area is famous for. The park has many facilities for camping and for people that travel in bikes, whom can actually take the internal bus and transport their bikes in a rack on the front of it.
Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire State Park is located in Nevada, pretty near to Las Vegas. The day we visited, two couples were getting married in there. The landscape is mostly composed of barren rock and a few desert plants, but what’s striking is the red-orange coloration of the rock itself. The solitude is mesmerizing, specially in the afternoon and evening when we visited this place. Since it is far away from the city, there is little light pollution and one can gaze at the stars with an entirely dark sky. This was the place for another of my life-changing experiences. As I prepared to wrap up my shooting session, I took my lens cap and snapped it onto my lens. This light click sound that the cap make reverberated along the whole valley, reminding me that I was otherwise in complete silence. That was a memorable experience.