Tag Archives: Canyons

Roadside Views from HWY 89

Until our hiking trip through southern Utah a few summers ago, I disliked driving. Previous to that summer, my long distance automotive experiences had been heavy with interstate hauls through billboard jungles and carpool driving that racked up almost as many miles but with more predictable signage. Bo-ring.

Utah’s mesmerizing Highway 12 changed all that for me. And a couple of years later as we zipped up SR 17 and Highway 89 toward Flagstaff, and eventually, the Grand Canyon and Page, Arizona, time once again lost shape and substance.

As the landscape shifted from a flattened desert dotted by saguaros, prickly pear cacti and ocotillo plants into the more vegetated Verde Basin and then to the exposed sedimentary rock of the Colorado Plateau, my mind decelerated, simply absorbing the transitions.

I found my pause button.

Photo ops diminished as the landscape shifted from vast expanses to don’t blink cuts through mountain passes, but I imprinted enough beauty in my brain to make it a lasting memory—and began savoring the simple pleasure of driving from here to there.

More album photos: Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook

Flagstaff Things To Do

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I Spy from Sky High

Aside from its 7000 foot elevation and lack of community garage sales (or garages, for that matter), it was still a different sort of neighborhood.  While I might glance across my street to admire lush landscaping or to see if the neighbor who occasionally rides to my lawn’s rescue on a John Deere lawnmower is headed my way, Walnut Canyon tenants watched the inhabitants of their cliff side community for more serious considerations.

The Sinagua people’s version of the neighborhood watch was an ongoing monitoring of cross-canyon villages.  Awareness lowered the probabilities of surprises in a place where the unexpected was unlikely to be a positive event.  A cliff side perch allowed for controlled access and a passive defense.  It was community living at arms length and with a roughly 600 foot drop-off in between.

Water could be found far below.  Sometimes.  Water storage was critical as the dry season was desert dry —the Spanish words sin and agua translate to “without water.”  Food was hunted, gathered and grown on the relatively fertile soil of the cliff rims above.  Observing the neighbors in 1125 AD was more about computing essential survival information than today’s mundane curb check to verify trash collection day.

The cliff dwellings: Sinagua Style Sky-boxes

The lifestyle: Just a Wild Guess?

 

More album photos: Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook

Flagstaff Things To Do

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Sun Beams of Sand


Deep shadows and bursts of overhead sunlight, paired with limited sight lines and cramped spaces, created some interesting photographic challenges in Lower Antelope Canyon. At times I found myself flush with an on-the-edge exhilaration similar to that felt at cliff’s edge on a steep climb. Anchored between sandstone ledge and sandy floor, bent to catch an image that would live only in my own mind until the shutter snapped…it was an intense yet fun way to spend a morning.

More than once, light became the subject, not simply an essential element to creating the photograph. Here, as the sun makes its daily route from east to west, its rays thread sandstone windows at anticipated times. A handful of sand tossed into the light beam highlights its path creating an awed hush amongst observers, broken almost instantly by a flurry of camera shutters.

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