CairnCanon 7D, Canon 70-200 ƒ/4L IS lens, 1/200 sec at ƒ/4, ISO 100

I woke up really early this morning (3:30 am) to photograph the stars and sunrise in Arches National Park. It was another beautiful morning … I think this will be the last planned photo venture of my trip. I might take it easy the rest of the day and check out the town. I photographed this image of a cairn in the wash near Three Gossips after getting all of my other shots in (Three Gossips is one of my favorite sites here at the park, btw).

The first night I was here I hiked out to Delicate Arch to photograph it at sundown. It was a nice hike and I made it up there with plenty of time to set up and get a bunch of great images. I stuck around until dark, along with another girl named Renee, who was also hanging out to check out the stars. There were too many clouds in the sky so we decided to leave, but it was pitch black out, minus a little bit of moonlight and the light from our flashlights. It’s not a paved trail, so we were relying on finding the cairns to guide us back. I’ve always seen them in photographs and used as “zen” or “spa” imagery, but this was the first time that they ever had real purpose and meaning for me. If it weren’t for those little pillars of stones it would have been a real challenge to find the way back to the start of the trail.

It sure would be nice to have these things guiding me through life … I feel like I’m stumbling around in the dark with a flashlight most of the time. ;)