A break from the rock swirls. Not only did native people used to live on this land but much of it was quite heavily populated. All of the Mesas in this part of North Arizona are covered in living areas from the Natives that used to live here. Days down in the valley's tending crops, nights up in their protected communes. They were probably able to see the firest and smoke of their neighoring living areas, the entire tribe living up on a much larger mesa that is almost impervious to access from the North, East, and South.
The Eye of Sauron!
White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs.
Actually I guess it's not Sauron if it's below the peak? Or I'm just overthinking the cool shapes and swirls all over the area. If you're a sucker for cool textures and shapes etched into the rock you'll love this place. I spent 90% of the time just photographing the ground under my feet.
White Pocket Resevoir
Back in the 1920-40's local ranchers put up concrete dams to hold water running off the slickrock for cattle to drink from. There are cattle pathways worn through the rock leading to these permanent watering holes from all the hoof traffic.
Amazing natural sculpture due to wind erosion. Some of these rocks were paper thin.
This area was within the Coyote Buttes South permit are at (much easier to get than CB North where the Wave is). After seeing how delicate the rock is here I can understand why they limit access to 20 people per day. This section should definitely stay low traffic, regular park traffic would have destroyed this sculpture by now.
Finally got all my pictures edited, the trip to Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was a gold mine! In my head it was the "Not The Wave" trip, too many people waste time on The Wave when the surrounding area is just as beautiful. I wanted to show what they were missing by focusing on one single place that has been photographed a million times instead of spending their trips exploring the entire monument.
This rock is nothing, it has no name off the side of the road (I parked here to air down my tires); it's one of those things you drive past on your way to some place more well known. I just thought it was pretty.
For a single day in May over 2000 people joined the lottery for a permit to The Wave; They only issue 10. Another 100-200 people will spend one of their vacation days waiting in a cramped room to see if they can get one of the other 10 permits.
2200 people competing for 20 slots for the day. Some sacrificing prime sunrise/golden-hour times just for that chance. If this rock outcropping is ordinary and overlooked, imagine what the rest of the place looks like.
Afternoon shot from one of several visits to Fossil Lake. Check out my feature story about a newly published study that identifies & analyzes fossilized Columbian mammoth trackway on #publiclands at Fossil Lake: goo.gl/CzQhHw