Trip from Panguich to Gold Canyon

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After my afternoon visit to Bryce Canyon National Park, limned in this post, I stayed overnight in nearby Panguich. In the morning, it was cloudy and rainy in Panguich. Bryce Canyon, meanwhile, was lost in a thick fog, as these images show:

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The weather forecast, far from promising more auspicious atmospheric adventures, warned of a fierce winter storm, with sub-freezing temperatures and high winds. So it was time to head off Arizona, where the weather seemed more promising, and a late afternoon rendezvous with Lost Dutchman State Park, on the west side of the Superstition Mountains, which would seem to present, for the intrepid photographer, ideal conditions, with the final remnant clouds of the day’s system clinging to the mountains and bathing all in beautiful, cloud enriched late afternoon sunshine. Leaving Panguich shortly after eight in the morning, if all went well, I should have arrived at Lost Dutchman before four in the afternoon.

The trip involved taking Route 89 — which runs through Sedona, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, while passing nearby the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Glacier National Parks — from Panguich to Flagstaff, then heading south on Interstate 17 to he Phoenix area, from which I’d commence through Scottsdale, Mesa, and Apache Junction to Lost Dutchman State Park. Here’s a map showing the route:

It rained at a good clip from Panguich to Kanab. Traveling east along Route 89, I finally outpaced the rain, coming to a dry stretch, though the clouds cast a gray pall over the firmament:

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Before arriving at Page, I stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor center and grabbed a few obligatory shots:

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From Page I headed on Route 89 south for Flagstaff. It was windy and cloudy, punctuated from time to time by blasts of sunshine:

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The drive from Flagstaff south on Interstate 17 was beautiful, with a mixture of big clouds and splashes of sun. No photos from this part of the trip, as there was no place to stop; but at certain sections of the highway, I could get glimpses of Sedona, to the west. With the storm breaking, one found that ideal mixture that only occurs with the passing of fierce, cold winter storms, where the air has been cleansed by the wind and the rain, but now is enriched by the sunshine, which peaks through cracks in the immense gray and blue clouds that pass over, and lights up the beautiful red rock landscape of the unique and thrilling Sedona landscape.

All was going well until I arrived in the Phoenix area. There was a major accident up ahead, and traffic was diverted into the side streets of Scottsdale, to fend for itself among the endless intersections governed by stingy and sadistic traffic lights, with the streets completely and unrepentantly choked to the gills with noxious traffic. It took me several hours to get through that mess, and by the time I got into the clearing it was too late to get to Lost Dutchman State Park, although I could see the Superstition Mountains in the distance, covered in gorgeous clouds, with the late afternoon sunlight bathing all in a beautiful warm light.

Here’s one last shot, taken while trapped in traffic on a bridge, of the sunset that evening:

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