Winter White Pocket

If you had told me that I would visit White Pocket twice in one year, I would have told you that you were insane.  But Mr. Misadventures was so enamored with the area when we were there during our 10-day roadtrip that we returned to camp there for 24-hours so that he could take photos at sunrise and sunset.

It was to be a quick trip.  I flew into Las Vegas on a Thursday evening in December (we were going to have a nice dinner on the strip, but that didn’t turn out so well).  On Friday morning we headed to Whole Foods for picnic supplies and gently made our way three and a half hours up the road to Kanab, Utah, the starting point for our adventure.

In the evening we headed to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park for some sunset photography.  It is a 40-minute drive from town (although it felt much shorter) and a fun spot to play around on the dunes (when it is warmer).  As it was December and not warm, we just set up the camera equipment for the sunset and focused on warm thoughts!

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah

Sunset begins at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

On Saturday we were ready to get to the reason why we were in Kanab, photographing White Pocket.  To do that we met up with our old pal, William, owner of Dreamland Safari Tours, who we had once again hired to be our White Pocket guide.  We had such an exceptional experience in May that there was no doubt in our minds who we would turn to for this trip.  Dreamland Safari Tours is the premier provider of guided Southern Utah Tours and the exclusive regional provider of Toroweap Tours (super important if you want to have a great tour of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim).  They rock. Seriously!

William had taken care of everything, his truck was loaded with the camping gear we would need plus food and water supplies.  All we had to do was bring ourselves, our clothes and our cameras!

It takes about three hours to drive from Kanab to White Pocket and we passed the time easily chatting about the area including making a few stops for adhoc photos like these moqi marbles, little (some large) pieces of iron concentrate and hematite which are over 180 million years old.  That’s right I said millions.  And they are everywhere!

Moqi marbles near White Pocket

We made it to the entrance of White Pocket and our home for the next 24-hours and headed out to set-up our equipment while William started unpacking gear, starting a fire and prepping dinner.  It was cold.  Very cold.  The temperature was in the upper thirties, but it was the wind that chilled you to the bone.  But you must suffer for your art right?  And here is me suffering!

Andi at White Pocket

It is not as bad as it seems.  Don’t get me wrong, I was cold but I also had 4 layers on and wasn’t going to freeze to death! And as you can see, the photos that Mr. Misadventures captured are worth it.

White Pocket Sunset

White Pocket Sunset

Once the sun went down, Mr. Misadventures and I headed back to camp where William met us with a roaring fire and pre-dinner appetizers, a man after our own heart!

Because of the wind, setting up the tents was more than a single-person activity, so we pitched in to get the tents set up.  Little did we know that underneath the sand in the spot we selected was a whole bunch of dead cacti with thorns that still could do some damage.  Mr. Misadventures does everything with gusto and ended up with these little thistles all over his hands.  (And the next day, despite being super careful, I got them on my upper thigh…sigh, that is why this spot is called misadventures….).

They only stung a little bit and it wasn’t enough to ruin our dinner masterfully prepared by our host.  When you are cold and hungry anything tastes good, but who doesn’t like steak and potatoes and Brussels sprouts cooked out in mother nature?

We spent some time looking at the millions of stars and multiple constellations that were visible in the unfettered-by-city-light sky.  But after awhile the effects of the wind and the cold had us pretty tuckered out and we made our way to bed.  I slept in two layers including ear muffs, but we also had plenty of duvets and sleeping bags to be comfortable.  When the alarm went off at 6 a.m. I only had to stick one toe out to know that I was not going to be attending the sunrise photo session.  It was bitterly cold!

I get to enjoy the sunrise the same way you do, in photos.

White Pocket Sunrise

White Pocket Sunrise

White Pocket Sunrise

White Pocket Sunrise

Instead of witnessing the sunrise, I slept two more hours before joining Mr. Misadventures for the after-sunrise hike around the area.  The wind was less of a factor but there was a storm threatening to make a presence.  It sure did make for dramatic clouds.

White Pocket

White Pocket

After spending an additional hour or so capturing the last of what we could, we headed back to camp for breakfast.  Once again William came through with hot coffee and hot eggs, just what we needed to revitalize ourselves for camp tear-down.  The wind decided to pick up a bit which made folding the tents a lot of fun, but we got it done, the car loaded and headed off down the road back towards to Kanab.  Once there, we returned to Vegas for our flight home.

I can’t say that camping in thirty-something degree weather in December in the desert is something I want to do every day but it certainly was an experience and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was really cool to see the changes in the rocks with the light of a different time of year and we had another fantastic experience with Dreamland Safari Tours with plans to hire them again for future trips.

So how about you? Have you done any winter camping or something equally as dedicated in order to get a shot (or do something else)?

NOTE: All photos except the first two were taken by Mr. Misadventures.

Comments

  1. Gorgeous photos… and love the little nod to misadventures!

  2. Wow, what INCREDIBLE landscape photos! Looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book!

  3. @Katie, thank you, those are the misters!

  4. @Walker, thanks!

  5. I agree, these photos are incredible! As for what I’ve done for the sake of a photo op, I’ve climbed farther and higher than I probably otherwise would have just to take a picture of an incredible view. Not just to SEE the view but for the picture I can take and look at/share later–ha!!

  6. @Patty, I feel you on that, I am not one for physical exertion, but to get content for the blog I have pushed myself a lot :-)

  7. These pictures are amaaaaaaaaazing!!!! I didn’t know you were a camper!

  8. @AndiP, I totally am NOT ;-)

  9. Those photos are FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC. And I’m with you: as much as I like pretty scenery and photography…I would have stayed in bed =)

  10. These photos are magical. They remind me of my Magic Window with blue and white sand from the 70s. Have I said that before? Anyway, I think you are so brave and generous, Andi. Most women would not do this for their husbands. I hate being cold. You’re a trooper. I liked the line about unfettered-by-city-lights sky very much.

  11. Jane Biggers says:

    I wish I could go there as it is too remarkable to be real..too magnificient to be real and too Awesome, beautiful for simple wordage…How do I share this to my facebook?

  12. @Jen, oh I remember those window things – you are so right! The sky was pretty awesome. I guide has a great Google sky app that you just put to the sky and it mapped out all the constellations there were hundreds! My hubby and I couldn’t do it with our iPhones – no Google apps!

  13. @Kristin, hee-hee, it was pretty damn cold. And not something I would initiate to repeat!

  14. Hi Andi,
    Great story and awesome photos! I would love to visit White Pocket and thanks for sharing the info about the guides. I have been thinking about taking a road trip there and it is so nice to have these .great resources!
    I have a home in Las Vegas and frequently visit a place 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas called “Valley of Fire.” It has very interesting rock formations and looks a little similar to the ones you are showing in the photos. If you visit Valley of Fire, you will see several different majestic landscapes all in close proximity and all very different. I would highly recommend Valley of Fire for a photo shoot and it is very easy to access.
    Looking forward to reading about more adventures!
    Henri

  15. @Henri, hello there Instagram friend! Thanks for the compliment on the photos. My hubby and I actually love Valley of Fire. We head there every time we go to Vegas and I have posted about some of my visits. Such a beautiful place and relatively unknown.

  16. The photos, the story – just GORGEOUS!

  17. @Jennie, merci!

  18. shawna durk says:

    ty so much for sharing this. this is so beautiful I never even knew it exsisted :D

  19. There’s something magical about the desert sky. I love visiting my grandpa (who coincidentally lived in both Utah and Arizona) just so I could stand outside and stare at the stars. Isn’t it just lovely?

  20. That is a gorgeous landscape & looks perfect for picture taking! I can see why anyone would want to go back for more!

  21. Judith S. says:

    I really enjoyed your photos and story of the Vermillon Cliffs. Your pictures are incredible. I am an amateur photographer who enjoyed taking photos on some of our hikes. I have hiked Canyonlands, Zion and Arches National Parks in Utah. We have also hiked extensively in Arizona locations of Walnut Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and the Chiricahua Mountain Range. and many more If you haven’t already done so you might want to photograph Chocolate Falls (officially Grand Falls) in Northern Arizona. No hiking envolved but certainly an incredible sight.

  22. Andi Fisher says:

    @Judith, those are some great spots you have mentioned and others I don’t know about. I am going to have to look them up!

  23. Beautiful photos!

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