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Natural Escape Archives

FINALLY - a long-overdue update to the Natural Escape section of the site. Given that this is the section of the site that I enjoy the most - because I enjoy the opportunity to visit the places that appear in the photos - it's embarrassing to see that several months have passed since I've added new slides and texts.

Fortunately, I have a supply of slides from some recent trips and look forward to sharing them with you in the coming months.

river bend
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"When your spirit cries for peace, come to a world of canyons deep in the old land, feel the exultation of high plateaus, the strength of moving waters, the simplicity of sand and grass, the silence of growth."
By August Fruge

This quotation appears on the wall of the visitor's center at the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona. August Fruge was a naturalist and environmentalist who was active in the 1960's and 1970's. It is ironic that these words show up on the walls of a structure that he probably abhorred - the dam that resulted in the creation of Lake Powell which covers the Glen Canyon, a spectacular canyon that is now fully submerged. This scene is from the Horseshoe Overlook about five miles from that dam - an overlook that shows clearly how the river has carved its way into the rock. I've photographed there many times, and this image is just after sunrise as the sun lights up the Vermillion Cliffs beyond the overlook, and reflects the red of the cliffs into the river's water.

"The Colorado Plateau is a land of incomparable beauty. It is an arid region of desert-varnished cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and rocks tinted in shades of pink, red, purple, yellow, beige and green. Plant growth is limited by lack of precipitation and the chemical composition of the soil. The result is an erosion-carved land Native people have referred to as 'the ancient place of spaces'."
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Last fall a group of us spent a day in the Coyote Buttes area, in northern Arizona just below the Utah border. This is a very special area, where each turn reveals a new scene that's better than the last one. With this view I tried to capture the sense of being surrounded by upsweeping rocks that tilt up to the sky, while somehow providing just enough soil and water to nurture an occasional bush or tree. The quotation, by the way, is from a tag that was attached to a T-shirt I bought at the Public Lands Information Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico - perhaps the most lyrical T-shirt tag I've ever seen!

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"What draws us into the desert is the search for something intimate in the remote."

From A Voice Crying In The Wilderness by Edward Abbey.

We spent part of a clear March day this spring hiking around an area called "The Gulch" and Long Canyon, off the Burr Trail just west of Boulder, Utah. This is an incredible area, part of the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument. As we walked through a box canyon, my eyes drifted away from the straight-ahead view of the canyon and caught a look at a small plant nestled in the rock wall to my right. It was early afternoon, and the sun was reflecting off the opposite redrock wall of the canyon onto this wall, where the plant was framed in a natural alcove. The plant was perhaps a foot tall, and nothing else was growing around it. I'm fascinated by these examples of life and beauty amidst the otherwise harsh rocks; for me, the chance to see and photograph that little plant was a moment of intimacy that Abbey refers to.

If You'd Like To Explore Some More...

There are several nature writers whose work I really enjoy reading, including Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez, Joseph Wood Krutch, and Henry David Thoreau and Everett Ruess. To see a list of their writings, please visit the Natural Escape Writer's page, and spend some time browsing through the titles.
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