Monday, January 28, 2013

Arches National Park, Utah

The Arches National Park is a Red Rock wonderland. Located in state of Utah, just few miles outside of Moab, it has highest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the country.

The forces of nature have acted in concert to create the landscape of Arches. The park lies atop an underground evaporite layer or salt bed, which is the main cause of the landscape here.

The scenic drive takes through several viewpoints. Some of the amazing attractions would require hiking ranging from small to long hikes. 
There was some snow during our visit in December. Visit during the off-peak certainly had its advantages ! The crowd was minimal, plenty of parking spots at all view points.

 The Park Avenue view point

The three gossips with Sheep rock on the right.

A closer view of the Sheep rock. The inward curve of the left side suggests that Sheep Rock was part of an arch at one time.

The small hike to the windows section. The reference of the person standing at the window might give you an idea of how huge the window is !

Turret Arch at the windows section.

The Balanced Rock ... one of the popular attractions of the park.
The total height of the Balanced Rock is about 128 feet. The big rock on top is the size of three school buses !

Double-Arch ...another popular feature of the Arches National Park.

  Delicate Arch is the most heavily visited of all the arches. It is no doubt the icon of the Arches National Park.
The trail to the delicate arch is approx 3 mile round trip and moderately strenuous trek. With icy conditions on the trail during our visit, it was really an adventurous hike. Kudos to my 4 year old daughter who pretty much walked most part herself.

The trailhead starting at the Wolfe Ranch.

The first half-mile is wide and has well-defined trail.

Upon reaching the slick-rock,  the rock cairns kind of guide you ! The trail climbs gradually with an elevation  gain of approx 500 feet. No where during this trail would you get a glimpse of this arch.  At the end, the trail goes along a rock edge for about 200 yards opening to a breathtaking view of this magnificent arch.

Walking this 200 yards was perhaps the dangerous and highlight of our trek. It was a narrow path which was super icy !!! Thinking about it now, it feels crazy we did this. I am so glad we made it back safely  !

All Photographs by - Anupama Puneeth

Information Courtesy :

Some Useful Information :

~ Delicate Arch is best at sunset. However hiking back in the dark isn't easy. 
Recommend carrying torch lights.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Horseshoe Bend - Colorado River, Page AZ

Horseshoe Bend is the name for a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page in Arizona.

Part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, this is just about 4 miles southwest of Page. Its a short 0.5 mile hike and it can be viewed from the steep cliff with Colorado river at approx 1,000 feet drop !

With the prime spots taken by professional photographers and their sturdy tripods, my only option was to shoot like in above picture :)

Information Courtesy :

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Antelope canyons - Page AZ

After several days of planning and re-planning, frequent visits to weather channel, several phone calls and email exchange...the weather site was my homepage and we had memorized every move of the snow storm Draco. Finally with all fingers crossed, we went ahead with our travel bookings, less than 24Hrs before our trip !

Antelope Slot Canyons are truly mother nature's awe-inspiring work of art.
This most-visited and most-photographed slot canyons of American south-west are located in the Navajo land near Page, Arizona.

Erosion of Navajo sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes formed these slot canyons. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways.

Over time the passageways are eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic 'flowing' shapes in the rock. 

Antelope Canyon is visited exclusively through guided tours due to flash flood danger. 
Rain does not have to fall on or near these canyons for flash floods to whip through. Rain falling miles away 'upstream' could funnel into these canyons with little prior notice.

One such flash flood in 1997 took lives of eleven tourists. 
At that time, the ladder system consisted of amateur-built wood ladders that were swept away by the flash flood. 

Today, ladder systems have been bolted in place. At the fee booth, a NOAA Weather Radio from the National Weather Service and an alarm horn are stationed.

This was the entrance to the lower canyon ! Unbelievable isn't it ? We were very surprised when the guide first told this. 

We were looking at was a piece of art which took mother nature millions of years to carve. This was a place of tranquility and peace. No doubt these canyons are very spiritual for the Navajos.

The Antelope canyons are a photographers dream. With my amateur skills, I do not have great shots to flaunt. These were a few of my captures, a humble attempt which perhaps makes no complete justice to this amazing place.

All Photographs by Anupama Puneeth
Information courtesy

Some Useful Information :
~ The visit to the canyons requires a guide. Advance reservation is highly recommended, specially during peak season and for the best time of the day.

(We didn't make the reservation and took a chance since it was off-peak season.)
~ Upper Antelope canyons would certainly be best during summer when the sun is at the highest elevation leading to streaming beams into the canyon. That sure would be a magical experience. (Hoping for another visit to see this !)
~ Walking through the Lower antelope canyons involves lot of stairs unlike Upper antelope canyon.
~ These canyons are pretty crowded with LOTS of tourists from other guides. Since you need to stick to your guide and keep moving ahead with him, be very patient :) 
~ In between all your shots, don't forget to take few moments to enjoy and feel the magic in this place !