The Cathedral of Mother Nature. My Recent Adventures in the West, Part II

I was sipping my plain coffee. It was early and still completely dark outside. I sliced some strawberries into my oatmeal. I had slept well after all the hiking the day before and it was difficult to wake up. The dream world of the vast landscapes at Grand Canyon was still with me. 早上好! Good morning! I almost dropped my knife. Mr. Li was standing right behind me in the doorway to the restaurant where many of us were still working on our breakfast. Fifteen minutes and we should be at the bus…A-HA…if we wanted to come along on today’s adventures.

The first stop of the day was at Lake Powell soon after sunrise. This spectacular lake has over 2,000 miles of shoreline, it’s 400 feet deep and 186 miles long. We would take a boat ride and see a couple of miles of that shoreline. And needless to say it was dramatic.

The high rock walls were perfectly reflected in the water and a new waterscape revealed itself after every turn. I enjoyed this early morning boat ride, but was getting very excited about the nest stop. I covered my camera and lens in a plastic bag to protect it from dust and sealed it with duck tape. I got some curious glances, but knew that the Antelope Canyon was waiting and this slightly humorous improvised cover would serve my camera well .

We arrived at the Navajo Nation’s parking lot, about four miles from the Upper Antelope Canyon and were loaded up on small trucks to take us to the canyon the Navajos consider a spiritual place, a cathedral of Mother Nature. My Navajo guide was Abraham. He would take me through the canyon and back.

This sandstone slot canyon is about 660 feet (200m) long and 120 feet (37m) deep. It is amazing! The sandstone formations come to life like beautiful art work when the light hits the walls from the small openings at the top.

Some of the views of the formations have given names. The view above is called “the Heart” and the view below is known as “the Eye”. I am sure it sees some mysterious truths amid a continuous stream of visitors like me.

I was truly grateful for the opportunity to be able to access the whole canyon. No rain meant no flooding, just bright sunshine providing one glorious view after another.

Needless to say this amazing experience left me breathless. So before walking back through the canyon, I sat down on a rock to take in some fresh air. And my guide Abraham snapped a picture with my phone. I realized that my improvised camera cover looked like a soda can…but it was safe from the fine dust in the air that found its way everywhere.

Walking back through the canyon did not include any photo stops, but I could not resist the temptation to snap a few more pictures on my way back.

This canyon certainly made an impression on me. It was like walking in a huge gallery full of live art created over time by Mother Nature. And it felt, indeed, like a cathedral.

My journey continued to yet another creation of nature, the Bryce Canyon in Utah. It is also called the ‘red canyon’ and you can see why. Even here the views were breathtakingly beautiful.

It was cold and lots of snow still covered the ground. We left the red canyon when the sun was already low and started our long journey back to Las Vegas. What an adventure!

Part 3 of my adventure in the west will include some flashes of my whirlwind trip to a couple of cities in Nevada and California and of my impromptu work trip to San Francisco last week. Thanks so much for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the art of the nature as much as I did.


A flash report on the Osprey Family here at home: It looks to me that there are at least two chicks in the nest. I have not yet been able to spot them properly from the ground, but here’s one picture where I was able to capture the whole family about a week ago. The second picture is from this morning taken from my terrace. It is obvious the chicks are growing and I am just hoping both of them will survive.

74 thoughts on “The Cathedral of Mother Nature. My Recent Adventures in the West, Part II”

  1. WOW Tiny, it is so beautiful, what amazing artwork from our Creative Designer Father, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful journey with such great shots with those remarkable light captures. Good to see the new nestlings growing, and likewise we all would love to see them both survive to fledge. Enjoy the rest of your week my friend!

    1. Yes, that who trip to these canyons was absolutely wonderful! Happy you liked my pictures. The two Osprey chicks are growing and I am hoping to get good pictures for my next post. Have a wonderful week, my friend.

  2. Beautiful images Helen from two places on my wish list! I love your analogy of Antelope Canyon being an outdoor cathedral. I’m sure I would feel the same level of awe and wonder in those evocative canyon walls. Thanks for sharing and welcome home.

    1. Thanks Brad! Happy you came along. I hope you can visit the canyons in Arizona and Utah. You will appreciate the majestic beauty of these amazing places.

  3. Your photo gallery is fantastic! I’m glad that you had that adventure. having been to those places your photos helped me relive the wonderful times that we had there. I’m sure that you’ll remember them forever. Thanks for the post, Tiny. 🙂

    1. Glad that my post revived wonderful memories, H.J. 🙂 I loved that trip and will certainly remember the beauty of these canyons.

    1. Thank you, Tish! I was amazed by the beauty of Mother Nature’s art. This trip left a lasting impression and a desire to go back one day.

  4. You look quite contemplative in that shot . . . and also tiny! 😀

    What a panoply of rock formations. We’ve been to Bryce and Zion, but not Antelope Canyon. How fantastic!

    1. Thanks Nancy – I felt really tiny there…around all the different canyons. The Antelope Canyon was my favorite and I hope I can go back one day.

  5. Helen, your photos are sublime. I feel myself tear-eyed as I look through them, they are truly stunning – a visual feast that touches one’s soul! Thank you so much for sharing. The Grand Canyon is no. 1 on my places to visit – with your post today I feel as if I’ve started my journey there. 😀 As I glanced at the shots from Bryce Canyon I’m glad I was sitting down as I felt such strong vertigo I almost toppled over. Sensational! Also great news about the two chicks – fingers crossed all goes well for the family! Name draw in a bit? 😀

    1. 🙂 Here it is! Your comment popped up just now. Yes, we’ll draw a name for the ONE chick that has survived in the osprey nest. I can’t yet tell whether it is a boy or a girl…but hopefully in a couple of weeks.

  6. Sweet Tiny I cannot think of words or a word to properly describe what my eyes have seen in this post. I am in awe of not only what Mother Nature has painted but the fabulous pictures you have taken. I cannot begin to imagine what all of that must look like in real life. Happy to see your sweet, beautiful self in one of the pictures. Thank you so much for sharing and for the update on the babies. I too hope both of the babies survive. Love and hugs to you and nose kisses for sweet Dylan from Chancy and me.

    1. I am so happy you enjoyed the pictures. The Antelope Canyon was the highlight of my trip – a play of light coloring the wonderous formations. I hope I can go back one day and also visit the Lower Antelope Canyon. Dylan and I send you and Chancy hugs and nose kisses.

  7. These views – and how you shared them with us – are simply amazing. Thank you for reminding us about some of the wonderful things in this world. And how exciting for the Osprey family ❤ I too, hope both chicks will survive and flourish.

  8. Wondrous images, Helen. It looks like you were wandering through a gallery of modern abstract art. Nature is so utterly amazing. Bryce Canyon is truly breathtaking.
    I’m happy to see those two baby ospreys. I hope they’ll stay safe. xx

    1. Thank you, Sylvia! It was indeed like visiting a huge art gallery! Nothing short of amazing! I was happy about the two hatchlings…but it seems only one survived beyond three weeks. But s/he is growing fast and an update is coming shortly. XXX

  9. Helen, I just wanted to say that I wrote two long comments yesterday but they seem to have disappeared. (Actually all comments I wrote on blogs yesterday just vanished!) WP Support advised me to ask if you could check in pending and spam if my messages are there. Thank you so much … your posts are stunning and uplifting. Beautiful and I wrote at length on them both. hugs xx

    1. Hi Annika! I found your comment, which was ‘stuck’ in moderation (for an unknown reason) and I approved it, but it seems to refuse to come onto the page. Maybe it will ‘pop up’ later 🙂 Thank you – I am happy you enjoyed the art of Mother Nature. The visits to all these canyons were amazing and left a lasting impression on me.

    1. Thank you Sally! Yes, this experience will stay with me for a long time – the canyons are amazing testimonies of Mother Nature’s ‘art’.

  10. Fantastic photos of the canyon, dear Tiny. The close-ups are amazing. Lovely to get the update on the ospreys too. Love and blessings from Izzy 💜💚💙

    1. Thank you Izzy! the canyons, all of them, are truly beautiful and majestic places. An update on the Osprey family will follow soon.

  11. Oh Helen, I am immensely jealous of your Antelope canyon visit. We did Bryce and Zion (of course loving both) but Antelope was flooded so no canyon for us. Maybe someday. But in the meanwhile I’ll simply have your beautiful photos to remind me of nature’s glory!

    1. Thank you Tina. I was so lucky with the weather, no rain and mostly blue skies and cool temperatures. The Antelope Canyon was my favorite…the play of light is amazing there. I hope you will get an opportunity to visit one day, you will love it.

  12. 早安 Helen! 您拍的照片太棒了!Loved every piece of this post, from the incredible opening photo to your peaceful photos of this place throughout. You have titled this post perfectly, the Cathedral of Mother Nature indeed, you’ve done it justice. The sunshine adds so much in those shots, perhaps it is the one place where shooting in the afternoon light is a greater benefit than at other times. Wish you a great week ahead.

    1. 谢谢! I loved the canyons, such majestic, peaceful places…and the Antelope Canyon where the sunlight plays on the sandstone formations, was my favorite. It truly felt as a sacred place and left a lasting impression on me. I hope to go there again one day. I would love to see your pictures from there … they would be magical 🙂

  13. This looks like quite the adventure out, Tiny. Lake Powell looks dramatic indeed – expanse and towering rock formations. The Canyon looks every bit out of this world. Amazing captures all round. As you mentioned, your camera cover did look like a soda can 😂 It was wise of you to cover your camera and lens with plastic to avoid dust getting into it – a good tip for other photographers.

    1. Thanks Mabel! Glad you enjoyed the trip to the canyons. As to the camera cover, I was happy I made it with a plastic bag and tape…a fellow visitor had to hide his expensive camera under his coat because the dust crept in everywhere – he got only cell phone pictures.

  14. Beautiful photos of your West trip, Helen! We ventured throughout the mid-West summer of 2016 in our motorhome and camped at Lake Powell for nine days, took the same boat trip looks like (ours went to the dam also) and road the full rim of Bryce Canyon. It was July so we didn’t see snow, love yours! We did not get to do the canyons which I was VERY disappointed but it was 100 degrees. Us being from the mid-Atlantic states, it actually didn’t feel too bad without the high humidity but we knew it was not a good idea still. Your captures are stunning!

    Great news with Sandy and Stanley’s two new chicks, they’ll be so big before we know it! It’ll be at least another month before I know/can possibly see how many hatchlings our Bella & Beau successfully produce. The incubating period is such a long wait!

    1. Thanks Donna! I had wonderful cool, even cold for me, weather – spring is a good time to visit the canyons. At the osprey nest only one hatchling survived…more on that soon.

  15. Wow… what a fantastic trip you had, Helen!! Great photos of these majestic places. I always want to go back there…

    1. Thanks Amy! I remember seeing your great photos and been inspired by them to go there myself. And yes, I also want to go back one day 🙂

  16. Like all before me, Helen, I can only repeat – glorious and wow!
    The images are truly overwhelmingly beautiful. It would be hard to fathom just where they were captured if not for your adventures and story telling. The colours are amazing; particularly of ‘the Heart’ and ‘the Eye. You must have simply loved it all.
    It’s also great to see the Osprey Family. The two little heads are delightful.
    Give a hug to Mr. D.

    1. Thanks Carolyn! I am happy you liked the natural beauty I tried to capture on this remarkable trip. Unfortunately the smaller osprey chick only lived for about three weeks, but the first born is thriving and in a few weeks will be flying. I’ll try to post some news soon.

  17. I shall now pick my jaw off the floor at seeing these incredible photos of Antelope Canyon. Very clever camera protection and lovely to see a photo of you!

    1. Thank you for your visit and kind comment, Sue. My camera protection, while a bit creative, worked well in that super dusty environment – no dust inside or outside the camera 🙂

  18. What a powerful post, Helen! Your pictures are stunning! Absolutely phenomenal! I looked and I looked and I looked some more. What an adventure you had! Oh to be able to travel! Some day I tell me! I was just so moved by your pictures …. what Sacred Land!! And yes ….. totally enjoyed seeing you! XOXO

    1. Thank you, dear Amy! The Land was truly Sacred and I could sense Mother Nature’s breath clearly while in the canyons – a long-time dream come true to visit this Land. Happy you enjoyed the pictures ❤

  19. Dear Helen, somehow you were able to express the sacredness of this land in your exquisite photos. I thoroughly enjoyed each one. Slowed down, as if I was in a church, and took in each photo. Lake Powell is gorgeous, and the slot canyons are like a planet all their own. I appreciated hearing what some of them are named, too. The light, purples, the shapes and swirls. Your fine photography here was a gift for me this morning, my friend, thank you. Great to see a photo of you, too.

    1. Thank you, dear Jet, for your visit and kind comment. It was indeed like walking on sacred ground – amazing beauty and play of light in the slot canyons. I would love to go back with more time to enjoy and take in all the canyons.

  20. The photos wonderfully capture the awesome, beauty of these incredible canyons. I enjoyed being able to virtually visit them via this post.

  21. Hi Helen…You have been on my mind so much lately that I had to look you up and make contact! I hope that you are well…I see you have not posted in a while. I don’t know how we lost touch but I just had to try to make contact and tell you I am thinking of you and sending all good thoughts ❤

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