Starry Utah Nights

23 June 2017

Waking up to drizzle with neither the prospect of storms nor sun for our last 3 days we decided to head out to the desert and try our luck with some more astro-photography in the spectacular setting of Arches National Park, Utah. I hate the cold so deserts are some of my favourite places, and this place was hot reaching 107F and not dropping past 80F at night. Bliss, apart from onset of the dry desert bogeys!

The 7-hour drive from Seibert, Colorado didn’t give us much chance to suss out the park by day, but the skies came alive at night with the rising of the stunning Milky Way. So bright, it was once again visible by eye and neither of us could quite believe we were witnessing such a wonder whilst walking around at 1am in the morning in t-shirts surrounded by the soft sounds of nature at night. And to then top it all, we caught sight of The Aurora on the horizon!

Dragon

Tree

Aurora

Us And Milky

The US is great for accommodating campers – whether tent, car or RV camping is your preference there is usually somewhere for you to crash the night, as was the case this time too with a free layby up a track about 10 minutes from the park that could hold a dozen cars & RVs.

The next day, having been bowled over by what we saw at night, we decided to spend another day in the park so we could take a closer look at the arch and rock formations, including a massive balanced rock that overhung to a scary extent, especially when you were underneath looking up! After this, there was Double Arch, the North & South Windows and Turret Arch.

Double

Top Double

Giant Bo

Turret

As we wandered around we tried to get a feel for which would work well with The Milky Way that night and give us that beautiful composed shot, framed by Arches!

Then came the 3-mile hike up to Delicate Arch. Granted, we started the hike knowing that is was quoted as a difficult hike with 500ft gain in elevation and exposure to height falls, but that still didn’t stop it being a massive struggle in over 100F and bloody terrifying in places. So much was one precipice that I froze with my back to the cliff edge and it took Tim to coax me up further, holding my hand and leading me around the corner, encouraging me to breathe in order to make the final accent to witness the crazy spectacle that is Delicate Arch, hidden high up in the Utah wilderness, standing majestically on the edge of a cliff drop of slick rock.

Precipice

Delicate

For those wanting to get closer to the arch it required a small walk across this slopey rock platform, preferably leaning your own body into the cliff to avoid plunging to certain death. I managed to get a little closer but again, had to be lead with trembling legs. I found I had to keep walking. If I stopped the fear froze me and my eyes once again filled with the tears of absolute fright. We walked to the arch and I managed to get a few photos of Tim cooly wandering around the massive structure and he got one of me frozen with fear on the slope. My god, it was worth it though. I was awestruck with wonder. The size, it’s placement, the height we’d gained and the setting – it was unlike anything I’d seen ever before.

Fear Arch

As a reward for surviving the hike we headed out of the park to stock up on ice and get a well deserved ice cream. Then it was back to the park to find some more of the arches. Next came broken arch, which didn’t appear that broken! We then got a little stitched as the apparent loop past Tapestry Arch became a dead end and resulted in us missing out on a good spot for sunset, hidden in the shadow of some rocks. Lastly, we managed to find landscape arch as the light faded.

Broken

After dinner, using the great facilities in the park to cook up more seitan burgers we went out for Milky Way Photo Shoot Take 2, attempting to get a shot through some of our favourite arches.

Night Turret

Milky Arch

We finally retired near 2am for the second day running and having now spent 2 nights sleeping in the car in the desert, we were well ready for the luxury of a shower and a wood cabin in the Colorado mountains to position ourselves for the next day’s flight home. What a way to end another amazing adventure.

610 7732

SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Fri June 2017

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Fri June 2017

Slight Nothings > >

Weather Photography Blog

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010