Thursday, March 10, 2011

Last week at this time....

We traveled three and a half hours south, down to a ski town known as Brian Head.

A condo had been retained for a four day holiday.

We arrived in nearly white out conditions; shortly afterwards the sun and the clouds took turns filling the sky above us.

Sunset light on storm clouds makes for great highlights in forest pictures.  The next shot I took when the cloud obscured the sun was a dull and flat picture by comparison.

Son Jeff and DIL Rachel whipped up some fish tacos for our dinner after the long drive.

A fully furnished kitchen and table settings made the meal on par with going out to eat at a nice restaurant.

The next day dawned crystal clear.  The three skiers hit the slopes while I hit the freshly plowed road looking for great photo opportunities.

I found plenty of scenes that caused me to pull over and lift up my camera to my eye.

The wind was eye watering hard and cold. 
Some times the wind blown powdery snow filled the air around me like a fast moving fog that scoured  the skin from my face.

Everything was dusted with glittering snow.

And for some reason, every time I went to take a picture, a jet plane flew overhead.

See the snow being blown up on the mountain ridge?

The white specks against the ultra deep blue sky is snow being blown off the tall bare aspen trees.

Seeing the once golden hued aspen branches now frosted white was simply dazzling.

Random gusts would hit various trees at various time, causing them to explode like a blown upon spent dandelion.

Then it would seem like the entire stand of trees would be shaking down snow all at once.

It was mid-morning when I drove by this still smooth ski trail.

Wherever the snow had drifted, it was undergoing sculpting from the wind.

The sculpting continued before my eyes; a section would blur with the wind for a moment, the assume a new design.  I thought this drift looked like a part of an angel's wing.

I couldn't imagine what turbulence formed these complex snow designs.  The twists and curves: were they the work of a whirl wind?

Remember the cartoon plot line staple of the snowball rolling down the hill and becoming so huge that it over takes the cartoon character?

Perhaps I should have stopped to check to see if someone was trapped in the middle of this runaway snow ball!

As I drove down the mountain, I began to see incredible shapes that we had not seen in the white out drive up the night before.

The two tall cone shaped forms: How were they formed?
I just can't imagine....

Smooth grey walls rose up from the forest in unexpected places.

When switched to black and white the scene is even more mysterious.
(Add in a jet flying over head and I can almost imagine a science fiction movie set here.)

Like many people, I tend to see shapes that remind me of something.
Does anyone else see a Persian cat perched up atop this rock formation?

An enormous waterfall had frozen mid fall.

Rocks seem to lift up from their white blankets while icicles spear down its side.

As I drove I could see bits of red rock peeking out in the distance.  Finally I found a side road and began to travel in to the red rock areas.

A few red "hoo doos" were spotted about.

Odd hybrid formations of gray atop the red had holes burrowed in like oven openings.

It makes me happy to see the vermilion soil in one place and yellow soil else where, and some gray behind it all.   So what exactly is the color of dirt anyway?

Isn't dirt kind of like sky?  Sometimes sky is grey, sometimes it is red, and sometimes it is almost a pale yellow too.

So what do you see in this scene?

I saw a large fish being followed by a smaller fish, and a salamander sitting off to the side down below.

Now I do not know exactly where an air force base might have been, but obviously there was some kind of flight pattern overhead.  The jets were silent, yet constantly passing through my vistas.

Does anyone else see a somewhat reptilian form standing?

Three jets sketching lines up in the sky...

I wondered what the pilots were seeing from up above.

I barely went farther the edge of the road to take all these pictures.
My car, parked on some lingering snow.  I was very glad for all wheel drive as there was no cell phone coverage in the area, and if I got stuck in the snow I would be completely on my own.
The road was creatively named "Five Mile Road".  
I am guessing it is like, um....maybe five miles long?

I probably stopped every twenty feet to take another picture.

The scenes just kept getting better and better as I drove.

Do you see a Tiki god off to the left?
Or what do think you see?
(While it is nice to be driving around all alone so I can stop as often as I please and gawk as long as I wish, sometimes I miss having someone else to chat with about the images that were seen.)

I did take one very short off road trail; hiking no more than five minutes in. 
I just wanted to get close to the red rock walls, wanted to see them up close for a change.

The day had warmed up and a small trickle of snow melt deepened the red where the water ran.

The rocks were not just red after all...

What a marvelous place to enjoy a sunset around a campfire!

A few dried flowers hinted to me that come spring there would be colorful flora to hunt down in the area too.

Noah's Ark Trail?
How fun!  There must be some crazy cool rock formations to see up the way. 
Can't do it today...won't hike alone, and there is probably too much snow on the trail right now anyway.

OK...admit it: How many people are seeing pastry icing in this shot?

North facing scenes are so hard to photograph.  I waited until the sun sunk down low and at last lit up just the jutting edges of the rocks.

It was close to 4 pm, and I hadn't eaten since breakfast.  That *might* have been why I just kept seeing pastry with drizzled white icing as I took these shots.

The whole time I was in the canyon I only saw one person; a woodsman cutting logs accompanied by his dog.  We nodded and said hello, when I came back down the road he was loading his truck with beautiful evenly cut long logs.

When I started shooting these scenes, inching my car along to focus on the views with the best lighting, suddenly cars started appearing with people of all ages heading up the road.

They barely glanced at the scenery but each driver seemed to take a good long stare at me.
Really, I was parked each stop as far off the road as possible, yet they looked at me like I was parked totally in their way.

(Sometimes it is fun to fiddle around with the saturation and shadow feature in Picasa to make a picture look kind of trippy.)

(Can you understand now why I had to keep stopping every couple of feet to take a different perspective of the snow trimmed red rocks?)

I got back to the condo about the same time as the skiers.  They were peeling off their gear and heading for the condo complex jacuzzi and sauna.

Of course I had to join them. We had the jacuzzi pool to all to ourselves.  We chatted over our days and after we were limp and light headed from our soak, we got out and wrapped up in towels to walk back to our condo.

The pool deck and walls were all made from cedar; it smelled wonderful in the hot moist air.

It is just too bad that wet feet had made the wooden step wet, and too bad that I was the one to slip and land on my hip, elbow, knee and ribs beneath my arms.

I am pretty sure I couldn't connect all those points on my body on to stairs again, even if I tried.
Oh boy did it hurt, and worse, the bruised ribs made breathing the 10,000 feet high air even more difficult than before. 
Pizza was ordered for dinner so I could stay in and stay on some heavy pain killers.
I slept poorly that night, but that didn't stop me from heading out the next day again, going to explore the sights in a new direction.

(To be continued.)


ellen b. said...

Oh shoot! I'm so sorry you fell. The photos you shot and shared are really amazing. I love the contrast of the snow and blue. The red rocks are great, too. I understand the whole stopping every few feet to take another shot!! Hope you are all better now...

Vee said...

I saw the cat, next I saw a bullfrog, yes, saw the reptile, too. What a lot of pictures you share in a post and all looking up. This is why I never stop on the side of the road. Other people are far too impatient and I don't like certain fingers and glares and honking of horns. You, I am certain, can glare back. :D

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

Bummer! So sorry you fell "down the mountain". Well, not really...but close. You'll probably be sore for a while. I love the photos and for some reason, I just love taking pictures of jets and their trails. They fascinate me. Along with very heavy wishes that I was up inside them. Take care.

Lovella ♥ said...

. . .and it all started out so perfect too. Oh I hope your bruising is starting to heal. Those pictures are nothing less than spectacular. .Thanks for sharing. You are such a talented photographer.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Amazing pictures of Utah in winter! I just looked on the map to see where exactly Brian Head might be...but never located it. The red rock terrain looks much like some of the places we visited last summer. You live in a most beautiful state...whatever the season!

Vicki said...

Still loving those pictures...

Persian cats, salamanders, fish, strange reptilian-looking varmints...yep, I see 'em all. :)

I hope that by now the pain has lessened considerably and that you're breathing more normally. Take care of yourself, Jill!

Armando y Montez said...

Fabulous Photos and Post! Book Please and ouch!

Armando y Montez said...

Fabulous Photos and Post! Ouch on that fall :(.. Book Please, Maybe?