We pulled out of the Blue Mesa Badlands, packed up again into the minivan, swigged some water and aimed southward on the main road. Right after passing the exit for the Jasper Forest, I saw some yellow wildflowers in the road. I backed up, parked on the road shoulder and crept gingerly into the thicket of grasses to photograph them. They had three petals, were vibrantly yellow, and were between 10-15″ above the ground.
It was quiet enough that I could hear breezes rustling the dry grasses around my feet. I enjoyed seeing the vivid yellow color of this flowering plant and the few others scattered near it. I needed the time-out to examine something on a small scale after feeling engulfed by the massive Badlands we had just left behind.
We drove further south and finally landed our car at the Crystal Forest: a very busy, popular site. Here the trail offered a brief 3/4-of-a- mile round trip, on foot, that was very accessible, especially for those of us with baby strollers.
Some photographers argue against taking photos in less than ideal light. Well, when you are visiting some special place once in your life, figure out how to cope with a lack of blue skies and sunshine. In this case, the weather forced me to move to toddler height and ground level for my vantage point. Being so low to the ground and in the case of a few of these next images I was in cobra asana, I was one with the petrified wood remains. These next photos may speak for themselves: this was of course, the main reason why people venture here from around the world.
Within this national park there is the opportunity to visit quiet wilderness. There is the opportunity to stay in the car for a drive by peep at breathtaking scenery. Somewhere in the middle, one also may step into a site crowded with lots of people, and feel like a glorified tourist, gawking at natural wonders up close. Vacations offer limited time. Typical visitors want to take the easiest route to inhale, visually speaking, the most memorable vista with the least exertion possible. I encourage you, my reader, my sister, my friend, to carve out at least one hour in an area more secluded or distanced from the larger crowds. Let the space speak to you. Tap into being in the moment, free of the grid; you are allowed the batteries in your camera. Turn off the phone and be amazed.