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I'm now selling my photos!!!

I now host galleries of my favorite photos @ www.lloydshell.zenfolio.com Feel free to surf over there to see photo's that may have drifted into the darkest reaches of the archives here on Blogspot.

I also have begun selling my photographs when requested, I can handle most sizes and finishes either locally or via my on-line printing service.

Thanks for looking!

Lloyd
lloydshell@gmail.com

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 1 Zions Canyon National Park, Pine Creek Slot Canyon

I had the fantastic opportunity to go to Zions with some friends of mine last week. It was a quick two day trip (I always seem to have to take rushed trips and try to cram a while bunch of stuff in.... Hmmmm.....) but it was delightful! This first day was Pine Creek Canyon this was FUN!!! It was wet, kinda cold, and a challenge to a guy who hasn't rappelled in 20+ years!

The entry to the canyon is literally underneath the road just after it comes out of the Tunnel to Mt. Carmel Junction.

I took my camera hoping to get some good shots, but due to the nature of the slot (VERY WET!) I had to have it inside two ziplock bags and a Dry Bag that filled my backpack. this is very handy, you can carry things and it floats! I was not able to get it out as much as I had wanted. You can go from knee deep to over your head in water in 6 inches. This doesn't work well with cameras that are only weather sealed not Water Proof.

Anyway, it got it out in a few choice places, this one was called "The Cathedral" it is a long rappel into water with a floating disconnect and swim out. Scary to think about but rather easy in practice. I really wished it was dry and I had a way to get a tripod into there. It would make a great shot (see the link at the top for Tom's Canyoneering Guide, he has a cool shot of it in there). That is my friend Jason on the Rap, he is a pretty funny guy, here is his website. Check out his Promo Video, some of my stills are in there.

This is a multiple shot panorama, handheld at 1600 ISO. All in all it turned out purty good.

Yeah, that water is pretty silty and filled with gunk. Mostly pine needles pine cones and twigs and junk like that. Remember the first rule of Canyoneering: Never wear ANYTHING into a slot canyon that you care about.

This is the narrow section we went into directly after the Cathedral, it was deep in sections and so narrow you had to pull yourself along more than swim. There was not enough room to swing your arms out to the side at all.

This is a series of 3 shots taken half way through this narrow section, I was totally amazed to see this spot, it is one of the most ethereal and magic spots I have even been too. I again found myself trying to figure out how to get a tripod into there without killing it.



Here we are preparing for our last rap, it is over 100ft with a large portion of it being completely free, no wall to touch at all, just the rope. The hardest part was having the anchor be at the edge and having to inch off the edge and turn in midair instead of the usual walking over the edge backwards. Fun but a bit spooky to look down between your legs and see the ground a LONG ways down. Had a moment of panic until I got my eyes back up.

Once down I again got out my camera not wanting to miss any of the action.




The big reward for getting out alive is the swimming hole. This is a great way to cool off after the hot hard boulder hopping adventure in the river bottom that is your payment for the fun of the other stuff. I was scraped up and really sore (Neck and legs especially) and ready for a rest.


Day 2 Zions Canyon National Park

So the second day, was planned to do Mystery Canyon but I bowed out due to the roughness of the Entry called "Death Gully" I wasn't sure my body was up to that. So I hiked with the boys up to Observation Point and then went back down while they went and abused themselves. Not that Observation point was a namby pamby hike. It was really quite steep. 2100ft elevation gain but beautiful.

Here was my haul for the day. To see a few more shots than I have posted, here is a slideshow.

North wall from the Watchman Campground.


As a bonus the trail head at Weeping Rock starts off in the shade in the morning (a good reason to start this hike EARLY!) it is much more exposed in the afternoon and evening. Coming back down was like being in a furnace with the sun beating on you and reflecting back from the rock. As it winds steeply up the face of the canyon, you are quickly afforded fantastic views towards the narrows and Subway areas.

You get to see some fun areas, this is a short (very short) slot section, the trail goes up and to the left where a trail has been hacked out of the wall to make access easier. I have to say this is a VERY well maintained trail.

Once you are up onto the plateau your views are breathtaking! Though that could have been the hike.....

The three crazies, took this as a last pic, just in case. Figured it would look good on the local news.

Yeah... that is me....

I love these kind of shots!

Lizard Boy kept looking at me and posing, until I got my camera out! Then he got shy, but I was able to get this one decent shot.

There were several daredevil chipmunks that would come right up to you, I am sure they get fat off of the crumbs and detritus that is left there from peoples snacks/lunches. They were really cheeky, I caught one trying to get INTO my backpack!

Guess he was a little tired.

Not sure of the artistic merit of this one, but I like the contrast of the vibrant yellow and the dead wood.

Heading back down I couldn't help but take another. This is such a beautiful place.

When in the desert, I am constantly amazed at the hardiness and tenacity of the plant life. How is that tree hanging onto the side of that cliff? There is no dirt there!


This is a view of the early parts of the trail, it is amazingly steep.

My plan was to meet the canyoneering folks here where Mystery drops into the lower part of the Narrows. I was supposed to wait until 3:30, if they hadn't shown go back to the shuttle stop and look for them, and if they were not there leave at 4:00 and wait by the van back at the visitors center. I had the keys you see. Well I waited until 3:40 and they got there at 3:45... dang! Still bummed I didn't get to shoot them.

Anyway this is the last rap out. Would have been fun, I still wonder if my body would have handled it, but having numbness in one hand while rappelling is not a safe thing.