20130518-IMG_0657I woke up with a headache.  That’s not unusual for me but in this case it was troubling.  Usually when I wake up with a banger it’s because I’m stressed over something and in this case I was waking up to photograph a sunrise at one of my favorite places on the planet.  Saturday morning at the RNMP Spring Fling in Utah and we were meeting up to hit the sunrise at Grandview Point in Canyonlands National Park.  What’s stressful about that?  Pop some Advil and move on.

Later in the day, after lunch and a presentation on SEO at the Edge Gallery in Moab, the headache was back.  We were scheduled to meet up again at 5:00pm for a hike to False Kiva for sunset which I was really looking forward to.  I tried to find this place a couple of years ago with no success.  One trail went to the right and one to the left and I exercised the Yogi Berra theory:  “When you come to a fork in the trail, take it.”  Thanks Yogi.  I took the right fork and it turned out to be the wrong fork.  But that was then.  Now I was going with some photographers who had been to the Kiva before and they knew the way…but damn, the headache was back.

We met at the trail head at the appointed time and I made a crucial decision.  “Guys, I’m going to take some pain killers and sit here for a while.  Show me the trail and if I feel better in a while I’ll hike down and meet you there.”  Off they went and I plopped down in the Nitro to relax and close my eyes for a few minutes.  After about 30 minutes of relaxing the pain was still with me but I had a revelation.  It was kind of cloudy and boring light (more on that in a moment) but there was a break near the western horizon that would give some sunset light.  Then the little man in my head started yelling at me:  “Been 3 years…..when will you have this chance again.  Look at that horizon break…light is gonna be epic.  OFF YOUR BUTT AND ON YOUR FEET MORON.”  So I went.

The trail was pretty much as described and the rock cairns along the way guided me straight and true.  The first half of the hike is a breeze…mostly flat.  The second half is a nightmare.  Steep downhill over loose rock followed by some steep uphill to the alcove where False Kiva is located.  I fell twice going down the loose rocks.  First time I hit my bad shoulder and must have popped it back in place cause it stopped hurting.  Second time, 30 feet later, I suffered a high ankle sprain which served to take my mind off the headache.  But I was determined to make the hike and finally I arrived at the Kiva.  My friends were all there, cameras and tripods set up, some even shooting already.  Nobody would beer me…selfish bahstids.  A few minutes to catch my breath, a few minutes to get set up, then the magic happened.  I was right about the light and somehow, the pain and angst was worth it.  It even made the hike out tolerable.

While I was sitting in the truck before the hike a couple of folks came up the trail, got in their vehicles, and left.  When I got to the Kiva my friends said on the way in they met a gentleman with a heavy French accent on the way out.  “Zere ees no light”  he told them.  Take a look at this image:  In the immortal words of Inspector Closeau, “Ah sink zere EES somme laht zere.”  f11 and be there.