Inner Strength

By: Biffy's Photography

Nov 25 2011

Category: Southwest

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Focal Length:32mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Today I am posting a photo from one of the amazing places I have ever been. In September of 2010 we ventured to the Southwest. I have posted many photos from that trip (See “The Wave” under Landscape photos). This photo is from “The Wave”. The Wave is a sandstone rock formation located near the Arizona and the Utah border on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes. It is famous among hikers and photographers for its colorful, undulating forms, and the rugged, trackless hike required to reach it. This rugged, trackless hike gave me the opportunity to dig deep and find my inner strength.

The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, which contains The Wave, is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A permit from the BLM is required to visit The Wave. The BLM limits access to the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area to just twenty permits per day. Ten of the permits are available in advance by an on-line lottery that is conducted four months before the month for which the permit is sought. The remaining ten permits are made available by lottery the day before one’s intended hike. I attempted to get a permit on line but was unsuccessful.

On the day prior to our hopeful hike to the magical wave, I ventured to the BLM. My husband, Dave stayed behind at the bed and breakfast. The lottery consists of a bunch of excited hikers and photographers  in a room with a number, while the BLM guy turns a bingo ball spinner. As they pick the numbers, the lucky few squeal with delight. Only one number left, they pulled number 9, my number. I am overwhelmed with excitement. The man that pulled  the number asked me if I want to go alone or forgo my opportunity and allow someone else to go. Without hesitation, I confidently said I would go alone. When I arrived back at the B and B, Dave was very supportive of me fulfilling my dream to see the Wave.

The next day I prepared my pack with 3 liters of water, snacks and all my camera gear. Dave dropped me off with a piece of paper containing directions to guide me. We set up a time to meet in the parking lot about 8 hours later. I felt really confident the first portion of the hike but as I neared the elusive Wave, I couldn’t seem to find it. I was almost ready to head back when I ran into someone who pointed me the in the right direction. Unfortunately, I was already running behind, but I knew Dave would want me to experience this amazing place, so I continued on to the last portion of the hike. Trekking uphill in the open sandy desert, I finally reached my destination.

I was so inspired by this unique and beautiful rock formation in front of me. I hurriedly took my photos, ate lunch and headed back. I was going to be way late but I knew Dave would understand. In my haste to get back, I must of taken a wrong turn. In the middle of a vast Arizona desert with not a soul in sight, I took a moment to pray and determine my plan. I took my time and back tracked for about an hour until I found the area that I took a wrong turn. I saw some footprints in the sand to guide me in the right direction.

When I finally arrived at the parking lot, I was filled with relief. Even though I was at least two hours late, I was proud of myself for venturing out alone and overcoming a scary and overwhelming situation.


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