Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Magic Wand

Sunrise, Western Grand Canyon

Bouncing out a dirt road for 49 miles gave me time to think.  I wouldn’t trade this for anything, but if I had a Magic Wand, I might smooth out the drive.

I’ve concluded that there are two kinds of off-roaders.  The first I’ll call “Jeepers.” Their travel is primarily about the challenges of the road.  The more difficult, the better.  The most hardcore don’t mind so much if their vehicle turns over; that’s what the roll bar is for.  There seem to be quite a few of those, judging from the 50,000 people that flood into Moab Utah (population about 6000) each year for Jeep Safari.   I do
admire the skills of the drivers and the capabilities of the vehicles, but this is not for me.  

Lurch before dawn
I belong to the second group commonly called “Overlanders.”  These trips are about the destination.  There’s usually a multi-night component with emphasis on camping in the most beautiful locations.  It’s all about the quiet and isolation; a chance to clear the mental cobwebs.  This mindset is perfectly suited to a landscape photographer. Now that many federal lands are being overrun (perhaps due in part to a very successful “Find Your Park” campaign) and there’s talk of limiting access to the more popular National Parks (read about Arches, Zion, and Grand Canyon), time in the isolated locations is increasingly valuable.
Standing vigil over the Colorado River
The experience is intensified when I’m disconnected from the rest of the world for several days.  That disconnection, in turn, forges a connection with the natural world. I’m learning so much by immersion; about the land, astronomical phenomena, wildlife, botany, and weather. 

Cold weather travel is another strategy for finding solitude.  We love to pack up the camper (it has a heater) and dog, knowing we’ll be reasonably comfortable and alone out there at near-freezing temps.  Snow, if it comes, is a photographic bonus.
Lee's Ferry Sunrise
I’ve illustrated this post with images from last weekend’s (yes, we completely blew off Thanksgiving this year) overland trip to an undisclosed location, with one night on the way home at Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River, which by virtue of being well known is disclosable.

Come to think of it, perhaps I want to use that Magic Wand for something else.  If these drives were easy, maybe everybody would be doing them.  

Thanks for riding along.


  1. You obviously found a place more remote than my current favorite, just don't think I'd take the current not "Jeeper" that many miles. Immersing in nature is the best. You got some beautiful shots out there.

  2. Thanks Gaelyn. I think you'd love it out there!