Mesa Arch – Island in the Sky -Canyonlands NP, Utah

While driving through the “Island in the Sky” section of Canyonlands NP recently, I was surprised how many people stopped at the Mesa Arch to have their picture taken. Indeed, the view over the Canyon is amazing with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

People waiting at Mesa Arch to have their picture taken.
View through the Mesa Arch over the Canyon with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

Art by Nature

Over the last 200 Million+ Years, read and white sand formations were built up in Canyonlands, Utah. Then, the Artist named “Wind & Weather” started to chisel sculptures. If made by Henry Moore, those sculptures would be catching dust in a museum or private collection.

The Stone Creatures in Canyonland, Utah

Another artful object arrangement, first grown by nature and after death, sculptured by “Wind, Weather & Others”.

Artful Arrangement

Visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

On a little road trip after/between Covid. The first stop is the North Rim. We were lucky and got some nice, somewhat colder weather on the first day.

North Rim of the Grant Canyon

On the second day, we hiked the Kaibab Trail down towards the Phantom Ranch. Because more and more people decide to go down the trail on a mule, the trail itself is very sandy and plenty of mule dropping. The trail itself has the texture of desert sand.

Kaibab Trail overrun by lazy tourists traveling on mules.

Standing at Cape Royal (not s slot machine in Las Vegas, but an actual site along the North Rim), we could see the Colorado River down below.

Cape Royal Viewpoint down to the Colorado River

Just before reaching Cape Royal, there is a rock formation with a hole in it, called the “Angels Window”. From the right view point, the Colorado River can be seen through the Angels Window.

Cliff with Angels Window

Pismo Preserve

Last Year (2020) a new hiking trail complex has been created above Pismo Beach in California. Finally, I got to hike it. I took the longest trail, the YELLOW one, just about 6 miles.

As soon as you gain some elevation, you get a clear view of the Pismo Pier.

Pismo Beach Pier

Suffering from very mild double vision without the need of alcohol, I pushed it a bit further.

Pismo Beach Pier during a double vision earthquake.

Who says California has no Tuscany feel? Oh yes, I know, as soon as you enter a restaurant in real Tuscany you experience the difference.

California Tuscany Feel

The wild mustard is in full bloom, adding to the Tuscany feel. Hey, we are still on the Pismo Preserve Trail!

Wild Mustard in full bloom

Finally, my vision clears (putting on glasses and especially turning off the camera double photo overlay function) we come by the ancient oak trees, often several hundreds of years old, typical for the coastal foothills.

Costal Oak Trees

Yosemite Park – First Visit of the Year – 2021

Although Yosemite Park is my next-door neighbor, I have not been there this year. Friedhelm suggested to visit the park. First, we stopped by some waterfall. Naturally, it’s too early to have the mighty roaring falls.

Next, we were hiking in knee-deep snow along the Merced River and trying to capture the reflection of the nearby trees in the water.

From the same location, we could see the rocky valley walls lifting up to a line of trees.

Also, the beautiful mountain top was shining in the afternoon sunlight.

Next, we went to the Horsetail waterfall. Apparently, around this time of the year, the sun, just before setting, casts the waterfall into a yellow glow. Here, an image one hour before sunset, everything looked fine, but clouds were moving in.

Well, the clouds moved in and obscured the sky. The sun went down. But, just a bit after that, the clouds broke open just a bit and the red light from the sunset illuminated the waterfall. I have not seen this phenomenon before and although it can be easily explained by physics, it surely was a magical moment. Friedhelm got the same image standing close by. Here, the Nikon version of it.

Piedras Blancas Beach

In recent months, I have been several times to this beach that has a wonderful hiking trail (Boucher Trail), a lighthouse (Piedras Blancas Light Station), and the well known Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rockery.

Just a bit out in the ocean, not far from the lighthouse is an island called Haystack Rock. I used a 500mm lens with my Nikon D500 (750mm) to get the picture. It harbors a great number of birds and seals. Just great to look at closely.

Many different birds can be seen close by and at distance. Here just a pair of pelicans that I watched for a while. They were flying close together, swimming together, and hanging out at the beach together. I guess, they must be a couple.

Seals and the fairly large elephant seals (I guess that’s why they have their name) are enjoying themselves in the water, before coming on shore, to hang around lazily.

More … another time. In the meanwhile enjoy the photos and maybe even drive there. I think, the beaches are still open in California.