Tuesday, 22nd of April 2014 at 07:18:12 PM

Arizona 2014 day 14: Reflection Canyon

I had several times seen this photo of the Reflection Canyon, which was used by Apple to promote their Retina Display for Mac Book Pro. In my local Malls Apple shop it was used as a large print in their show room, and I saw it every Friday when we went doing grocery shopping. I knew this must be Lake Powell, but haven’t seen this place in any tourist guide before. Is it a secret place ? I then found scarce Internet reports about this place and its visibility from air or with ship at a remote spot in Glen Canyon area. But further research showed also a few people visiting this spot on a land way by an adventureous 16  miles round trip wilderness hike. The best report I found was this one at Peter Böhringers web presence. It gives a compact summary of the difficulties and precautions to hike to that spot. I immediately decided to put int onto my 2014 trip with Highest priority.

Due to the lottery win of the Wave/CBN permit I had lost one day in my schedule, so I had to move the Hike to reflection Canyon by one day from Saturday to Easter Sunday. But worse, I had no solution yet how to guarantee my planed return to Las Vegas on Sunday night where I had booked Room for 2 final days at the Pool and Relax.

Finally It was a hike which gave me really the creeps whenever I thought on it. For this Hike I had even bought me a Personal Locator Beacon, and registered it in UK-cause Germany does not support it for individuals.

Making it short. I had passed the night at the trail head. A uncomfortable sleep, cause my Jeep was standing inclined and I glided always sideways in my sleeping bag. As all nights outdoors this year it was cold and its strange to sweat and freeze at the same time.

I started my hike at 6.20 am. The  first two miles was quite easy going walking on cow trails. from mile 2 to mile 4 I followed the GPS data I had and there was only scarce signs of a trail. From Mile 4 to Mile 6 it got harder due to ups and downs in the ravines. From Mile 6 to Mile 8 it was slick rock and thus again easier to hike, but without GPS I would have been lost and directionless. I hoped my Garmin GPS would not abandon me. Since about 4 days it had this strange behavior of shutting down when repeatedly zooming in or out on the map.

I arrived at 10:10 am on location and immediately understood that the point where this photo is taken is facing eastwards and thus I had the sun already high up against me. No good for photography. I had tried to understand in Google Maps Satellite-view what it would mean to be around 10 am at this location and there was a small hope of having the sun more favorable for my photos. But I couldn’t change this. Obviously this place needs an overnight on location to shot good photos. I had no interest in that. Its scary enough like this.

Perhaps I can improve the Raw in Lightroom and have at least something better than this Resized, watemarked, jepeged RAW here.

By the way: Whoever reads this and has been at this location for a overnighter: One of you has forgotten his tent there. Its still there smashed and bruised captured under a tree. Its a ferrino tent. Italian brand.

I did a short break, some photos and at 10:45 am started my return hike. Now physically already feeling my tiredness. I had tripod and 70-200 extra lens with me and 1 1/2 gallon of water/Gatorade.


It was a pain to hike back in the sun. But the thoughts of the Las Vegas Pool pushed me. The Car GPS had calculated a drive time of 5h 30min from Escalante. Additionally I had to drive back the HITRR and there was still this prediction of rain for Easter Sunday evening.I fell one time over a loose rock hurting my arm and my chest, nothing serious, but it made me aware of how all this factors (tiredness, sun, heavy weight, urgency) made a good recipe for failure and I refocused on staying safe.

I was back at the car at  3 pm. The way back had took me only 30 minutes longer than on the way towards Reflection Canyon. And every bottle of drink I emptied at Mile 10, 12, 14, 15 made by bag-pack feel pleasantly lighter. I ate a whole bag of mariani dried fruit during the hike. This was lots of sugar. My shirt had a white salt crust after the hike. Yes this hike was strenuous. But I was happy when I saw the car. Just changed the hiking boots, grabbed a cool drink from the Ice chest and drove immediately up HITRR. After my flat tire last year I did no longer drive that fast on unpaved roads. But I made an exception today. I was in Escalante at 4:20 pm. And I would win 1 hour due to Nevada being back one hour behind Utah.

My back was hurting, my feet were hurting, but I was full of energy-perhaps from the Mariani dried Fruit ? I knew I could make it today to Las Vegas, solving the problem of the lost day, too. I turned right at Bryce Canyon junction towards north and joined on I-15 north of cedar city. At 9 pm I arrived in Las Vegas. That was a memorable last day of my trip. I would spend another 2 days in Las Vegas for Shopping, Pool time, Gambling and take a flight back home to Munich on Wednesday. A pity I would miss the Champions League semi final play between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Perhaps on my stop in Philadelphia I grab a view into the match or the result already.

My plans for 2015 ?   California 2015 or Colorado 2015 or Hawai 2015 sound interesting…….



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Tuesday, 22nd of April 2014 at 07:43:14 AM

Arizona 2014 day 13: CWCR north + HITRR south

Today I would move from Page, AZ to my last hiking destination. The planed Hike starts at a remote location, 50 miles south of  Escalante, UT. The trailhead is on the HITR Road (Hole in the Rock Road) – a 56 mile dirtroad which follows the historic Mormon trail established by settlers forming their way from Escalante, UT down south towards the Colorado. Although the air line distance is only 35 miles from Page, I would need around 4 h to arrive there.

I would first need to drive North. I decided to take the Cottonwood Canyon Road (CWCR) shortcut. It is a dirtroad – a 40 miles north south byway between US12 at Canonville and US89 N near Big Water. I had driven this road several times and it is only advisable to drive it in dry conditions. Easily you get stuck when it rains. Thus I always observed the weather, cause they had predicted rain. I did not stop too often. My first stop was at the Grossvenor Arch at the end of the CWCR.

Grossvenor Arch

From Canonville I turned into Scenic Byway US12 towards Escalante. In Escalante my first stop was the BLM visitor center at town entance. I requested a permit for Night camping  at the HITR Road and  I got latest weather conditions too. The weather prediction was 30% rain and when enterig the HITR Road east of Escalante, UT the weather indeed was not looking great.

Clouds on HITR Road

Nevertheless I drove south. I wanted to reach the end of the Road (Hole in the Rock) at Mile 56. When I arrived the weather had cleared up and the sky was blue.

Me relaxing at Hole in the Rock.

View from Hole in the Rock towards Lake Powell/Colorador River.

Historic Wagon trail thorough Hole in the Rock

Before it got dark I returned the 6 miles on HITR Road towards the Trailhead of my next days Hike. It was the hike I had been scared of the most, cause it leads 8 miles into un-trailed land. The hike is not official but only from research on the web. Most likely nobody  would be present to help for a long time if anything goes wrong.

My Night Camp at the Trailhead.

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Saturday, 19th of April 2014 at 03:31:00 AM

Arizona 2014 day 12: The Wave

Yesterday, I had participated at the lottery for the Wave, which is held daily at 9 am in the Kanab BLM offices. Meanwhile due to the high popularity a whole room is used to execute the formalities. 98 people were present and had applied for a lottery and 10 permits would be availble.

I had the No. #18 and it was drawn as third number and I unexpectedly won a permit for the Coyote Buttes North Hiking area including the Wave. I had been already three times at the Wave and had already other plans for the next day. Nevertheless I decided to go. To big is the attraction of this spot. I shifted accordingly my plans and started the Hike with the first light. I had already enough photos of the Wave and thought about what to focus on. The Top Rock a above the Wave allows nice aerial like shots of the wave and the brain rocks. I decided to head directly to Top Rock. At 7 am I was at the Wave and at 8:30 pm on the Top Rock. At noon the weather got worse. The sky had become overcast when I arrived back down at the Wave. I decided to wait another hour but it got not better and I left the area. Weather looked really for rain.

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Friday, 18th of April 2014 at 07:13:20 AM

Arizona 2014 day 11: Whitepocket

Since 2009 after visiting the first time Coyote Buttes in the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness I had the Whitepocket area on my wishlist. Today I finally visited this area south of the Coyote Buttes

Condor Watching

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Thursday, 17th of April 2014 at 09:06:07 AM

Arizona 2014 day 10: Phoenix, Az

Today I had breakfast and Lunch with my friend Alex. We drove a little bit around Mesa and Tempe and skyped also with our good friend Antal in Budapest, Hungary.

At 4 pm I left Phonix, Az for another 5 h drive to Page, Az – my next basecamp. I arrived in Page at 9 pm.


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