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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Beautiful But Deadly


Stark Beauty: or Beautiful But Deadly. A trip to Surprise Canyon was just that, a surprise. I have traveled over much of the region specializing in the Mojave Desert and I only say deadly because places like these can bee if one is not prepared for the elements. This is one of the few places I have found that actually surprised me in its natural diversity and eco system in such a stark and generally inhospitable land. The other areas in the Mojave are: Afton Canyon, Round Valley and Providence Mt. State Park. Although, Round Valley in the Mojave National Preserve was burned during the Hackberry Complex Fire of ’05. I created a slide show of Surprise Canyon, which as I understand it, had a road through it at one time and Mother Nature took it back. The canyon is now the center of a national lawsuit by off roaders to be able to access the canyon again. I hiked in several miles with a little climbing up waterfalls with some water, trail mix and two camera bodies with a lens range of 14mm to 600mm and yes I used it all. The writer and I did not attempt to make the eight-hour hike to Panament Ghost Town at the top of the canyon.

Ballarat Ghost Town however is near the base of Surprise Canyon. With Rock the caretaker and his dog Potlicker, the grave of Seldom Seen Slim the prospector and Charles Manson’s ‘50s pickup truck. I started to use a 50 1.4 lens, see if you can pick out which images are from that one.

Suprise Canyon
Ballarat Ghost Town

2 comments:

Tom Budlong said...

Eric, you have a good eye. Your Ballarat and Surprise Canyon pictures are as good as I have seen.

Should the extreme 4WDers ever get back to crawling and winching in the stream and falls it would provide more opportunities for creative photography. But it's such a precious place it would be a tragedy, with horsepower and motorized energy out-competing its naturalness. A hundred years ago, before the West had developed it's sensitivity, it would not have seemed so bad. But now, using motors to get up is inappropriate. I hope Surprise stays for gentler and more passive activities.

BTW, the Surprise slideshow gets a bad link. No matter for me, since I saw it on the Sun site. But others will be disappointed.

Eric Reed said...

Thanks for your comment. I need that kind of feeback to make sure things are up to snuff. I fixed the link stat. Cheers.