Ranch Country photography
by Robert McCune
Utah. October 2009. Part Five
In the Capital Reef National Park area of Utah, at an altitude of 6700 feet and about 40 miles east of Hell’s Backbone Restaurant in Boulder. The formation in the 1st photo is called The Egyptian Temple. Just around that curve at the bottom of the grade in the 2nd photo, the paved highway becomes a dirt road. A sign warns, “Road May Be Impassable When Wet”.
The 3rd photo is on an intersecting road to the abandoned Pleasant Creek Ranch (for sale in Oct. 2009). The creek crossing was typical of a “100” crossings SHADOW CATCHER has made over the past eleven years. Some of those crossings were made in the late spring or early summer, and because the sreams were high with run-off from snow melt, they were quite worrisome.
There’s one thing to keep in mind at every crossing where there's no bridge. Stop, get out, and have a careful look at the stream bottom. If it appears to be soft and muddy, or if the water is roiled and murky from a recent heavy rain, you might want to turn around. Better yet, make camp near the creek and see how it looks the next morning.
Another thing in crossing such creeks where you’ll have to come back that way later on; keep an eye on the sky if it’s clouding up. An hour of heavy rain in the upper reaches of such creeks would, later that day, increase the depth at the crossing considerably. As you can see in the third and fourth photos, there was good cause for me to be cautious about staying on that road too long.
The 4th photo is of a small part of the extensive system of buildings and corrals of the “For Sale” Pleasant Creek Ranch, all in a deteriorated and neglected condition.
During the shoot, it began to rain lightly. I whipped my hat off and placed it over the camera. Luckily it stopped raining after a couple of minutes. About placing my hat over the camera: I do that too, when shooting alongside a dirt road and a vehicle approaches, raising a cloud of dust.