Memorial Day is for remembering and honoring those fallen soldiers who have come before us. And while
they're not here now to tell us how to do that, as a veteran myself I think I can give some advice. Be happy. Enjoy yourself. Especially if your enjoying something those guys protected by giving their lives.
For some it's just staying home and playing video games all day. Right now I'm thinking of some burgers or BBQ in the park. Or I'm always a fan of heading out into the county and enjoying this beautiful land. Anyway a high-five to you and anybody else you come across enjoying what life has to offer.
A break from the rock swirls. Not only did native people used to live on this land but much of it was quite heavily populated. All of the Mesas in this part of North Arizona are covered in living areas from the Natives that used to live here. Days down in the valley's tending crops, nights up in their protected communes. They were probably able to see the firest and smoke of their neighoring living areas, the entire tribe living up on a much larger mesa that is almost impervious to access from the North, East, and South.
The Eye of Sauron!
White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs.
Actually I guess it's not Sauron if it's below the peak? Or I'm just overthinking the cool shapes and swirls all over the area. If you're a sucker for cool textures and shapes etched into the rock you'll love this place. I spent 90% of the time just photographing the ground under my feet.
Finally got all my pictures edited, the trip to Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was a gold mine! In my head it was the "Not The Wave" trip, too many people waste time on The Wave when the surrounding area is just as beautiful. I wanted to show what they were missing by focusing on one single place that has been photographed a million times instead of spending their trips exploring the entire monument.
This rock is nothing, it has no name off the side of the road (I parked here to air down my tires); it's one of those things you drive past on your way to some place more well known. I just thought it was pretty.
For a single day in May over 2000 people joined the lottery for a permit to The Wave; They only issue 10. Another 100-200 people will spend one of their vacation days waiting in a cramped room to see if they can get one of the other 10 permits.
2200 people competing for 20 slots for the day. Some sacrificing prime sunrise/golden-hour times just for that chance. If this rock outcropping is ordinary and overlooked, imagine what the rest of the place looks like.
Afternoon shot from one of several visits to Fossil Lake. Check out my feature story about a newly published study that identifies & analyzes fossilized Columbian mammoth trackway on #publiclands at Fossil Lake: goo.gl/CzQhHw
Looking forward to our Sunset City Gulch day hike at Grape Creek Proposed Wilderness this Sat. A few spots remain open. See www.wildconnections.org/events.html for more info and upcoming events. #blmwild#seeblm#wildcolorado#mypubliclands
The sand at @whitesandsnps is largely comprised of gypsum from broken down selenite crystals. Normally gypsum is water soluble and so it does not create sand. Due to the unique conditions in this part of New Mexico however, the sands have gathered to create these gorgeous and massive dune fields.
85 years ago today @whitesandsnps was established. Grateful to have these public lands protected for all of us to enjoy...remember to contact your representatives and let them know how much you continue to support the preservation and expansion of our public lands as they are currently under assault by many on numerous fronts from #bearsearsnationalmonument in Utah to #offshoredrilling on both coasts. #thisagressionwillnotstandman
More pictures from the camping trip to Bears Ears. Showing Grand Gulch (no longer part if the monument). Did you know that some of the anti-monument people think that supporters of Bears Ears never even went there? They claim we're just hippie San Francisco environmentalists who want to socialise America... Well I definitely camped there. It was great. I mean it is public land and we want it to stay that way. But every American pays taxes to maintain it. That means we all get a say in it.
Perched on the brink. That's actually a full tree, not a broken branch.
It's been an upsetting couple weeks. When I visited this place it was a National Monument. Earlier this week it was removed in the largest shrinking of our National Park/Monument lands in our nation's history.
Now there is talk of selling the Public US land to the state of Utah in the biggest public lands grab ever. Unfortunately Utah doesn't manage it's state lands too well. It can't afford to manage the lands to start with, but beyond that the recreation lands are absolute last priority in being funded. So most rot on the vine.
Some closeups of the fantastic formations near Factory Butte.
Like I said before. This seems amazing anywhere else, but in Utah we have things like this hidden all over the southern canyons and deserts.
Oddly Eroded Rocks just outside the San Rafael Swell.
Anywhere else in the country this would probably be a State or National Monument. Here it's literally not on any maps, and 200m away half of it is dug up as an open pit coal mine.
Standing on the Broken rim.
The Henry Mountains in the distance are visible from one side of Southern Utah all the way to the other side. Once you learn to identify them it's very easy to get your bearings in the area.
There are only 4 herds of wild, genetically pure, free roaming American Bison left in North America. The Elk Island, Wind Cave, and Yellowstone herds are all protected within national parks; the 4th is up in the Henry Mountains. The mountains act like an ecological island of isolated alpine terrain, and because all apex predators were hunted out of the range the Bison are thriving.
Sunrise at the Lower Blue Hills below Factory Bench. Same as my last picture, 12 hours later.
The sky was nearly overcast except for a thin band on the horizon (to the right) that the sun shone through like an orange and red spotlight under a dark blanket. The normally grey dirt of the hills below reflected the light so it seemed to glow from within.
Sunset at the Lower Blue Hills below Factory Bench.
The alkali soil stops plants from growing creating some amazing shading textures and erosion patterns on the barren hills. From Skyline overlook you can see all the way across to the reef of the San Rafael Swell on the horizon.
"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."
We hope you were able to get out to an activity or two last night as part of the 1st Annual Southwest Astronomy Festival. If you missed it, or are ready for more astronomical fun, then you're in luck, the Festival continues tonight! Join us for the following events around Washington County happening today and tonight:
•Solar Party- The St. George Astronomy Group will host a solar viewing event with family crafts and activities from 1-4pm at the @stgeorgechildrensmuseum (86 S Main St St. George).
•Lighting Up the Night- Harun Mehmedinovic from the International Dark Sky Association (@idadarksky) will speak about the history of human observation of the stars, the origins and rise of light pollution, and the dark-sky movement at 6pm at the Public Lands Information Center (345 E Riverside Dr. St. George).
•Night Sky Photography Workshop- Alex Chamberlain (@alextchamberlain) explains how to plan for, properly expose, and artistically shoot moon, Milky Way, and nightscape photos. Indoor presentation begins at 7pm at the Public Lands Information Center (345 E Riverside Dr St. George) followed by an outdoor workshop at the Beaver Dam Wash Conservation Area.
•Dark Sky Drop In- Come by the @zionnps Zion Nature Center (off UT-9, Zion National Park) at 8:30pm for views of stars, planets, constellations and deep sky objects.
For the full schedule of events for the Southwest Astronomy Festival, visit our website (link in bio).
📸: NPS/ Todd Miller
#astronomy#nightsky#milkyway#moon#stars#telescope#photography#nightskyphotography#starphotography#astrophotography#visitutah#beutahful @danpopegood4utah @kslcom @ksloutdoors @abc4utah @fox13now #explore#fantastic_universe#stg#stgeorge#starrynight#learn#cosmos#carlsagan#quotes#quoteoftheday#picoftheday#instapics#wildernessculture#findadventure#findyourpark#FindItAtParashant#seeblm
"Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people."
Come learn more about our amazing universe this weekend (Sept. 22-23) at the 1st Annual Southwest Astronomy Festival in southern Utah. We are teaming up with @cedarbreaksnm and some amazing partners to bring you astronomical programs across the region.
Activities you can participate in on Friday in Washington County include:
•Animals Under the Stars- Activities for kids that teach about nocturnal animals and animal constellations. 10am-5pm @redcliffsreserve Visitor's Center (10 N 100 E St. George, UT).
•Beneath the Surface- Multimedia presentation and art exhibit. Ticket required, call 435-652-7675 to purchase. 6:00pm @dixiestate Eccles Fine Arts Center Concert Hall (225 S University Ave. St. George, UT)
•Desert Discoveries After Dark- Guided ranger hike at dusk. Registration required, call Melissa at 435-688-3283. 7:30-9:30pm at Red Cliffs National Conservation Area near Leeds, UT.
•Star Party- Look through telescopes at stars, nebulae, planets, and more. 8-11pm at Unity Park in Ivins (200 W 400 S Ivins, UT).
• Zion Dark Sky Program- Join a ranger for an evening program about astronomy, dark skies, and stars. 8:30pm @zionnps Zion Lodge Auditorium (1 Zion Canyon Dr. Springdale, UT).
•Star Party- Family friendly event looking at stars and planets through telescopes. 8:30-10:30pm at Canyon Community Center (126 Lion Blvd. Springdale, UT).
To learn more about the events, visit our website (link in bio) or Cedar Breaks National Monument's website at nps.gov/cebr and click on the Southwest Astronomy Festival link. We hope to see you there!
📸: NPS/ Todd Miller
Utah just released their proposal to "Right Size" Bears Ears National Monument. This area specifically is no longer considered worthy of being a National Monument (the canyon in front of you is chock full of untouched Native sites due to it's remote access). The 90% size reduction eliminates most all of Cedar Mesa which is the whole point of the Monument due to its huge congregation of Native sites that are currently being looted and need better protection.
Recently explored the 47 miles of the South Fork John Day Wild & Scenic River in central Oregon, gathering content for next year's 50th anniversary of the W&SR Act. Add it to your list, folks; it's majestic. "It's your river. Make your splash!" More pix here: https://flickr.com/photos/50169152@N06/sets/72157687225135106