The late fall sunlight was beginning to fail me down in the canyon bottom. I wished I had been there an hour earlier, or two. But I wasn’t. I would have to see what I could make do with what I had left.
So I hiked down the mere 0.7 mile from the parking lot and trailhead down to Katsina (Kachina) Bridge. A beautiful winding trail that drops 400 feet in elevation in that short distance.
Crossing the shallow riffle flowing out of the mouth of Armstrong Canyon, I hiked up onto the sand bench above the stream, then down onto the floor of White Canyon. The approach to Kachina Bridge, awesome as always.
The Fremont Cottonwood trees to the left were already in shadow. Darn. I’d wanted them lit up by the low sun. But now it was too low for that. Still, the combination of sunlight and shadow on the western face of the bridge was interesting. I was rather pleased with the composition.
I walked underneath Kachina herself, to the far side of the stream and up the opposite sandy bank. Turning around, the pool of water beneath the bridge reflected those cottonwood trees still lit up by the sun, dazzling with their fall colors.
Satisfied that I’d done what I could given the conditions, I returned up the trail. The lung-exercising, sweaty climb back up. Partway up I met a group of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) backpackers. They were going up White Canyon and then Deer Canyon. They use Natural Bridges as part of their trip. I quizzed the leader a little bit about where they had come from and where they were going to camp. Then I let them move on, because they were running low on daylight.
Further up the trail, in sunlight again, I stopped to admire some of the small tree species in their fall colors glory. Their leaves would very soon be on the ground, quickly losing their color.
Photo location: Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, Utah.
© Copyright 2015 Stephen J. Krieg