Thursday, November 3, 2016

Escalante Loop Trip- Kodachrome Basin

Kodachrome Basin State Park, near Cannonville Utah, receives it's name from a 1948 National Geographic feature that appeared in the magazine in '49.  The photographers named the area after the newly popular color film made by Kodak film company, largely due to the prevalent colors one can capture.  Prior to their visitation the area had been only frequented by Native American and ranchers who used the area's basin to graze their livestock. The park received State Park status in 1962, but was renamed to Chimney Rock State park in fear of legal repercussions from the Kodak film company. Shortly after, the park was again renamed with permission from the company. I suppose they thought is would be a great idea to get free advertising. Some of the most interesting features found in the park aside from the arches were the sand pillars, called sand pipes.  Their origin is thought to come from petrified and extinct geysers, which pushed up sediment and piled it into towers. Much like the tufas found at Mono Lake in the Californian Sierras, except they were not formed under water.

Kodachrome Basin State Park

The hikes in and around the park are short, and one can hike a number of them in a day.   Each of them offer a different destination and attraction.  Some popular sites include Chimney Rock, Shakespeare Arch, and Ballerina Geyser. Stargazing is also popular as the park sees little light pollution. Grosvenor Arch (pronounced like Governor, but with a Gr.) is an intricate double arch located ten miles south east of the park down a dirt road.  At the time we had visited, the road hadn't  been opened from the winter snows, and the ranger was only prepared to offer only official statements on the conditions.  The ranchers in the area had obviously been using the road, but I preferred to err on the side of caution and not press my luck by attempting it.  It was a rather remote area, and a tow bill would surely carry a heavy price tag.

Shakespeare Arch

 Above is a photo of Shakespeare Arch, and as you can see there was still snow on the ground at the time.  This was an easy hike, and much more accessible than Grosvenor Arch.  Another hike we did was called Cool Bend canyon hike.  Much of it was along a stream bed and terminated in a cavern, where a water fall was said to exist.   Well it probably flowed when there was heavy rain on snow cover, but for now it was barely a trickle.  Not much in the way of photographic possibilities for the waterfall, but a creative photographer can find interest in many different places.  The photo below was taken at the end of the trail near the cavern.  I noticed the canyon had boxed and had some interesting features at each turn.  I captured this image by setting my camera as low to the ground as possible, trying to encompass as much of a wide angle as possible.  I set my camera on auto-bracket and set it on my day pack to prop it upward and at such an angle to capture the bend in the canyon.  I  used three exposures and blended them in Nik's HDR software.  It was chosen as an Editor's Pick on the photography website

Camping in the park is available, but we preferred to boon dock on some of the BLM roads nearby.  Between three and four o'clock we like to start looking for some spots in the wild.  Once we find a spot, preferably with a view, we start gathering wood for a fire.  Here there was plenty of juniper available.   This was ranch land, and open range for grazing.  This also meant cow pies.  We'll let the dogs explore a bit, under supervision, and then once they start dining on the cow pies it's time to tether them to the vehicle.

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