Monday, October 02, 2006

Professor Valley, Utah

Returned late last night from the Canyonlands Field Institute in Professor Valley, Utah, about twenty miles east of Moab. In addition to the wonderful energy and conversations of the Colorado River Convergence, I was able to sneak off for a few photos here and there:

The road through Professor Valley, with the La Sal Mountains in the background. The weather all weekend was gorgeous.

The Canyonlands Field Institute offers lodging in tents and teepees. I chose a teepee, along with new friends Erik and Mike.

The first evening we hiked a bit into the valley, where the rock formations become drunk on the redness of the last of the afternoon sunlight. Or maybe I was drunk, inspired by a Terry Tempest Williams quote from her book Red that was shared by our host Carla.

Half moon above redrock.

Sunday morning sunrise.

Red is not just a color, but a state of mind, state of being, in Southern Utah.

A small arroyo just west of our camp.

Sunrise on bluffs overlooking the Colorado River. We went rafting on the Colorado on Saturday, but the photos in the waterproof camera I took have not yet been developed.

Teepees and sunrise on a rock formation called the Priest and Nuns.

The Canyonlands Field Institute is tucked along Professor Creek, with its lush growth of cottonwood, rabbitbrush, reeds, and other water lovers (including, just down the road, free-ranging cattle).

The Priest and Nuns provided a sort of morning spiritual guidance for me, or at least for my camera.

There were lots of blooming flowers, much to my delight, such as this rabbitbrush.

And Indian paintbrush.

And this low-growing sage (?) with its tiny flowers that, combined with its green stems and leaves, made the plant purple from a distance.

The leaves were also turning on cottonwoods.

And oak, such as this young tree. Higher up, aspens flared orange-yellow on the mountainsides.

On the way back---a trip delayed three hours because we stopped an hour south of Moab to help a woman change her spare tire, then gave a 5th-generation Moabite named Hyrum Smith Wilson, who also stopped to help, a ride back to Moab after his truck wouldn't start---we detoured to Newspaper Rock about twenty miles east of Canyonlands National Park.

View 40 Professor Valley and Colorado River photographs at:

All in all, it was a fantastic trip (including the ten-hour drive up and thirteen-hour drive back thanks to good conversation with my navigator, Joni Adamson). Now I just need a day to recover!


jd said...

Delightful photos. Glad the trip was so enjoyable. Must have been a nice break from school, work, parenting, editing, etc.

Suzanne said...

These are stunning, Simmons. Thanks for posting!

Juliet Wilson said...

Stunning photos - it looks like a wonderful part of the world.

Anonymous said...

>WOW !!!<

Shann Palmer said...

amazing and simply gorgeous! you are so fortunate to travel such places!