Looking back, one of the things that took me by surprise were the colors. I had expected to see lots of earth tones when heading into a large desert ecosystem but was surprised at the color everywhere. Being in the bottom of a canyon, I hadn't expected to see much of the sunrise or sunset but instead every morning and evening we were treated to spectacular sunrises and sunsets that took hours to fade away. Light seemed to bounce this way and that and just when you thought the best part was over, another area would begin to shine like a diamond in the ruff. This picture didn't scan the best from the negative but it gives you a sense of the colors and how vivid they could become.
Even as we hiked during the bright sunlight washed out part of the day, there were always rocks and flowers competing for our attention. The rocks came in all colors of the rainbow and occasionally when the color was some boring earth tone, rainbow colored fungus would adorn its surfaces. Many times I found myself feeling like Charlie inside the Chocolate Factory, not knowing where to look or what magnificent thing would show itself next.
When packing for the trip, I brought along 25 rolls of film thinking that I would fill only half of them mostly with shots of the canyons and the river. Instead I filled them all and more than half were of flowers. They were everywhere, even in placed you would expect anything to be able to grow such as in a crack of a large slab of black schist rock.
Even the springs and streams in the various side canyons came in a rainbow of colors. It felt as if one only had to stop, breath, and look around to see something worth taking a picture. I had to force myself at times to put down my camera and just live in the moment for awhile. At the above waterfalls we hike too and climbed up using a rope, I made myself sit by the running water for an hour and just soak in the beauty. It worked well because even today nearly 14 years later, I just have to look at this picture and concentrate a bit and I feel as if I am right back there again.