August 29, 2022
I’m still working extra hours as the park works on hiring new employees, but we still make time for plenty of fun. My week started wonderfully. I finally found a hairdresser in town and was able to see her to get my roots fixed up. She was very sweet and did a fine job so that just made me love Escalante even more. I also heard that one of the photo competitions I entered (which was a worldwide competition) had a photo of mine selected to go to the final round of judging. I was beside myself with glee. You have seen it before, but this is the finalist photo of White Pocket in AZ at sunrise.
I’ve been put on the late shifts this week so I’ve been able to spend more time with Luke as he is my late night partner. We have even had some clear skies at night and were able to do some amazing stargazing and grab a few shots of the Milky Way. My friend here Sara told me about a dirt road with some really cool rock formations on it so on my day off we set out to find it. We brought the dogs along as they love wilderness adventures when they can run around like wild animals. All four of us were overjoyed when we stumbled upon a rocky area that resembled White Pocket a bit. We do not know if it has a name so we are calling it Spencer Pocket since we found it on Spencer Flat Rd, otherwise known as BLM 103 in Escalante. It’s a bunch of what we call brain rock with mounds and bits jutting out and lots of colors in the rock.
This spot might be a new favorite for us and the dogs. We spent a couple of hours exploring, climbing, and taking photos out here. Next time we will go out further to this fantastic butte down the road.
A couple of nights after this it was slow at work so they let me leave early and luckily, the clouds were starting to clear for us so we went back to this spot for the Milky Way.
With all the rain that we have had lately, I have become interested in quicksand. I find it to be a fascinating phenomenon. I’ve read a bit about it and watched a couple of videos in preparation of going out to look for it. A few co-workers have told me where they have found it near the river in town. Some have cautioned me not to go looking for it and not to play in it as it can be very dangerous so I will be careful, but do want to find it. I know that we should bring some rope and that we should test the ground first with a stick to see how deep it goes. I wouldn’t want to jump into some only to sink quickly up to my chest and be unable to get out. We have learned that people will generally not sink past their armpits due to the buoyancy in the body caused by air in our lungs. However, people do get stuck in quicksand and die, usually due to exposure, dehydration, or I suppose becoming a snack for a cougar. A person could also drown if they get stuck in a place where there is flash flooding. The common advice if caught in quicksand is to slowly move your limbs to get more water around them and make them easier to free and to try to lean back to float up on your back. Quicksand is basically loose sand with water. It may look normal when you encounter it like a sandy patch or dry cracked mud. If you hit it with a stick or jump up and down on it, the vibration activates the quicksand and turns it into super wet mud that one can quickly sink into. I figure if Indiana Jones can escape it, then so can I. If you don’t see a blog from me next week, you know that my assumption was incorrect.
I am also still on the lookout for scorpions. I know they’re out here, but they hide from me every time I have taken out the blacklight for a quick look around in rock piles. Just beyond Spencer Pocket is a place where you find Moqui Marbles. These are round iron deposits of various sizes. Luke stumbled upon them when he went out to take beautiful sunset photos there while I was at work. He also may have found an ancient predator still roaming the Earth. They are in fact digging up a new T-Rex fossil somewhere in this area. If we are able to stay here during the off-season, I plan to try to get a volunteer gig with one of the groups involved in the dig. How cool would that be!!
There is a never-ending amount of adventures to explore outdoors here. I’ll keep trying to bring you to a new place each week. It is getting cooler in the mornings and evenings and we can see the stars again at night so outdoor play will increase for us in the coming weeks I am sure.
Luke helped me to set up my first attempt at a star trail time lapse so now I must go learn with him how to process the images into something that looks cool. Wish me luck!
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.