We were exploring the western part of the Colorado Plateau a year ago last summer–a region of the United States that runs through the “four corners” area encompassing parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico and includes some of the most wild, treacherous, and beautiful canyon systems in the world. A number of popular National Parks and Monuments are found there, a great deal of the land remains undeveloped and untouched.
We were traveling in July and the summer monsoons had begun to make their mark. One thing you learn very quickly in this region, is never be caught in a slot canyon during a storm. Flash flooding is a constant threat and not something you mess around with.
We’d gotten lucky and had spent the day as a family canyoneering just outside Zion National Park, AZ. As we were leaving, we saw, rather, HEARD, the thunderstorm blowing in. I knew it was going to hit over Zion just before sunset during the coveted golden hour and I couldn’t resist.
On a tip from a local, the hubby and I set out on a dirt road leading up to a bluff that overlooked Zion. Being on high ground, we weren’t in any danger of flash flooding, but there would be other risks. I planned on shooting through the sunset which meant we’d be heading back down the dirt road with limited visibility and we had no clue if the storm would wash out the road. We both mentally prepared for the possibility that we’d be camping out in the truck overnight.
When we reached the top of the bluff I was not disappointed. I immediately climbed up to the roof rack and set up the tripod. The storm was fairly isolated to the the left of us and moving over Zion, but it didn’t mean we weren’t getting a sprinkle or two or that the wind wasn’t threatening to blow me of the roof. It also didn’t mean that the thunder wasn’t booming in my ears OR that there wasn’t lightening flashing all around me. It was frightening and exhilarating all at once, adrenaline lighting up all my senses with a clarity I can’t remember feeling before or since.
I photographed the storm over Zion from the roof of our truck for about 45 minutes with my camera covered by a waterproof windbreaker until the light was just about gone and my hubby had had enough. We didn’t get enough rain to wash the road out, but we definitely took our time driving around the curves and edges to the base of the bluff and back to our hotel.
This was just one evening out of an unforgettable ten day trip. I’ve posted images before from this trip and if you are interested here’s a link to some of those posts. Believe it or not, I still have images to share from Canyonlands, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon. Hopefully I’ll get to posting those soon. In the meantime, here’s a few more adventurous photos from the trip.
Want to play, too? Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure