During my 16 day drive through the American South West in January I visited most of the classic landscapes that I'd dreamed of. Monument Valley, Canyon De Chelly and Death Valley for example but a chance meeting of a fellow traveller in Zion spiked my interest in Canyonlands.
It was far out of my planned route and would mean that the remaining time at the other parks would have to be shortened. However it sounded too go to be true. I was told of a natural rock bridge spanning 30m that overlooking a vista rivalling anything the Grand Canyon had to offer and that was only the start of the wonder. At sunrise as the crystal desert sun begins to hit the cliff face below the bridge the glowing sunlight reflects. The brilliant warm orange light reflected off the 100m high sheer cliff below the bridge illuminates it from below. The bridge glows like nothing I've seen before, such a volume of vivid yet soft light makes for an equally inspiring act of nature. The combination of the bridge, the vista below and the light is one of those sights that stops you dead in your tracks and commands silent awe.
The sight was enough to forget the slightly ridiculous effort that it required. After the 500km drive through the night on unknown dark highways and arriving in the national park some time around 2am I slept for an uncomfortable few hours in the car. I had parked at the beginning of the walk and the only task that stood between my exhausted self and the shot was finding the bridge in the darkness, a small detail. The morning was freezing, it had recently snowed, but I began to walk along the path covered in nearly everything I could ware in an attempt to stay warm. It was dark, silent and the beam of light from my torch seemed the only link to the real world as I plodded along half dazed.
Finding the bridge was one of those times when you can just feel that something is there in the darkness. I remember walking the path head down in a mix of cautious action as the path was icy and sleepy exhaustion looking at not much more than my feet then coming to a quick sharp halt. In the cold dark blue of the morning twilight it was there silent and still.