A Good Story to Tell

This is a case of where the adventure was much better than the pictures.

During a recent trip through the Four Corners region of the United States, we visited Monument Valley, the goal, a visit to the top of Hunts Mesa to complete a previously unfulfilled trip. A colleague at work suggested a visit to the top of the Mesa several years ago when I told him we were planning a trip to Monument Valley.

I did some research and it looked like a great adventure with the possibility of some good photographs.  On that trip, when we got to Monument Valley, a horrible windstorm prevented our trip to the top of the Mesa. Our guide advised that we would be miserable and the pictures, well, there would be no pictures. So we opted for a different type of visit, and managed to make some nice photos, while keeping the sand out of our cameras. I wrote about that trip here.

This trip was destined to be different. We made our reservation with our guide who said we could follow him to the top of the Mesa. He was driving a Yukon or Tahoe or some such large GM SUV. We, well we had our Toyota FJ Cruiser…certainly if the Yukon could do it, we could do it too.  So over the river (it was dry) and through the woods (scrub is more like it) we followed our guide. Highway led to gravel road, which led to a sandy river bed and then the uphill climb.


Well, we almost did not make it through the river bed. The Yukon got stuck going up the sandy jeep trail, so we had to back down to try again. No problem.  Except then I had lost all my forward momentum.  Stuck in the sandy river bed, I had visions of having to leave the FJ where it was, our trip to the top of the Mesa in jeopardy.  We lowered the tire pressure (I knew that was a good thing to do when driving through sand) and turned off all the “nanny” stuff in the FJ so I could get some wheel slip and off we went, or should I say, up we went.

After a short bit, we came to a large slick rock, and as the Yukon got ready to charge up that rock face, I looked at my wife, Carol, and told her there was no way we were driving up that. Well, we did, and it was easier then the sand. About two hours into our journey we paused on our ascent to the top of the Mesa. Our guide got out of the Yukon to pick up a piece of metal. He said it was left by the Land Rover that was unable to make the climb during a previous outing. That did wonders for my confidence.

Then we came to another sandy wash, this one going uphill. Momentum is your friend, except that the sandy trail curved to the left and to the right,  as you might expect, a drop off. So, I waited at the bottom while the Yukon went first. I took the time to let some more air out of the tires (yes, we did remember to bring a compressor with us).  And up we went, sand flying, FJ shifting around, and we made it.

Once at the top, the journey had taken us about 4.5 hours, we set up our tents and went to make some pictures. Except there were not pictures to be made. The sun and clouds did not cooperate with us. No pretty evening light. No strong shadows.  It was pretty boring actually.

The steak dinner afterwards, while quite good, did not make up for the lack of a worthwhile sunset. And the clouds eliminated the possibility of making photos of the stars at night.

Well, there was always tomorrow morning’s sunrise.

Well, in this case, NOT. The morning light was even less photographic. Not a hint of blue sky, no sun on the horizon, no shadows, nothing, nichts, nyet,  nada.

So after breakfast, we broke camp and made the descent. It took two hours to go down, and while not quite as daunting as the way up (we took a different route), we only had one challenging bit on the way out, but I must say it was more challenging then anything we had seen the previous day. We had to drive through the river bed, make a sharp hairpin turn (there goes the momentum again) and then proceed up the sandy, narrow trail up.  The reward, some cliff dwellings visible from the road.

Hopefully our third, as yet unplanned, trip will be the charm.  So what does this have to do with Digital Asset Management? Not much except once I came home, I used my workflow to copy data from a dozen camera cards to my local storage, complete with metadata and updated my catalog with searchable content.

By David Breslauer/MerlinOne Inc.


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