Wednesday 27 August 2003
Pix Of The Day: Afternoon Micro Magic Light Show
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: excellent Zion Canyon area maps available from TravelWest.net
Yesterday's pictures, from an earlier visit to Zion Canyon, showed the soaring heights that attract visitors from all over the world. The day we visited we mingled with families and groups from Germany, Italy, and Japan. Vehicular traffic to the main canyon is restricted in the high season, but the park entrance fee allows unlimited access onto the shuttle buses. If all this sounds like a visit to a seaside amusement park, you will find people who agree with that view and have strongly criticized the Park Service for the way they have organized visits. One old timer we know, who has lived in and around the park for many years, laments the banning of the rock rolling and hunting that he enjoyed in his youth. He blames the present arrangements for turning the park into a 'petting zoo', when compared to the wilderness he once knew.
We acknowledge such viewpoints as internally valid, but also recognize that some form of organized arrangement is necessary to democratize access, so that large numbers of people may experience the canyons. Leaving our prejudgements and prejudices at the park entrance we were able to enjoy our visit: the buses were frequent and uncrowded even in mid August; the drivers were considerate and gave an informative running commentary; the visitors were ordered, calm and quiet. We have experienced more noise and fuss touring some of the great religious edifices than we experienced in Zion Canyon. At the head of the canyon lie 'The Narrows', seen in yesterdays picture. Even here, where people were paddling in the river, the surroundings seemed to affect everyone, so that there was more of an atmosphere of veneration & affirmation than carnival & celebration.
One of the special features of the canyon is that although situated in a high desert, there are some micro environments created by the run off in the Virgin River, and seepage from aquifers in the canyon walls. Indeed, there is one place in the canyon bearing the name Weeping Rock. The first picture shows a feature that the rangers describe as a 'desert swamp', and it does have an appearance familiar to visitors from less arid regions. The two middle pictures are of tiny plants growing on the rock of the canyon walls, fed by year round moisture seepage.
In the late afternoon the sunset on the floor of the canyon happens well before sunset up on the canyon rim. In the hour before the sun dips below the west rim, the light bounces off the east wall, filling even the shaded parts of the canyon with a warm, soft, and yet pellucid light. The picture on the right (which is also available at larger resolutions of w525xh700 and w713xh950 pixels: detected was taken near the start of the footway from Temple of Sinawava road terminus towards The Narrows: all the illumination comes from light reflected off the east wall.
For a photographic tour of Zion Canyon, and many other places around the world, we recommend Quang-Tuan Luong's web site at TerraGalleria.com, which has 114 images of Zion, arranged in 7 galleries. Luong's site is particularly easy to access and navigate, with variable control slideshows, site navigation maps, with a particularly detailed USA edition, and a generous use policy.
Readers who are interested in response, attitudes, and viewpoints about the natural world, may enjoy Gil Gordon Associates' Natural Escape web site. The main site is about 'Telecommuting: Telework & Alternate Officing', an ethos that Gil himself lives out, and documents on the mini site. Since May 1997 he has written 65 or so 'monthly' columns; the quotation marks indicate to those with arithmetical skills that there are a some missing months! Editions are more frequent in the later years.
Gil's sub heading is 'Views and Viewpoints', so there is discussion of issues concerning the great outdoors, but not in a sufficiently high dosage to classify as lecturing, accompanied by images. Recommended for dipping into for refreshment. If our two opening paragraphs raise any issues for you, please ensure you have thoroughly read everything in Gil's Suggested Reading list, before getting in touch with us.
From Our 2002 Archives: Mountain Madness Maid - Tuesday 27 August 2002
Mountain Madness Maid Ann Bowker, accompanied by her swain Roland if our eyes do not deceive us, recently camped on top of Haystacks. This delightful mountain in the English Lake District was beloved of Alfred Wainwright, the author of the Pictorial Guides. It was also the place he chose to have his ashed scattered. Ann brought back this moody sunset picture, though regretfully on the following morning the dawn was less spectacular. The lakes in view from there are Buttermere, and Crummock Water, with the Irish Sea far away beyond the coast of West Cumberland. You may visit Ann for more mountains than you knew existed on the Sceptered Isle, and beyond.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)