Burr Trail, Part 2: Adventures Near Camp

During the five days we explored the Burr Trail we camped in the midst of gorgeous sandstone plateau that was punctuated by buttes and petrified dunes. We had already concluded it was a lovely location to kick back for a few days but once the sun went down the first day I discovered just how beautiful it was. I had finished making dinner when the ethereal blue light reflecting off the wash caught by eye, the white sand glowing under the moon. It was gorgeous. Then, waking up the next morning before sunrise I discovered the wash still tinted, but now a cooler blue, dense and heavy due to the absence of bright moonlight. Enthusiastically, I grabbed my camera and threw on a jacket just in time to witness the sand begin to warm as the sun got closer to the horizon. I scrambled up a few of the nearby buttes and then sat to enjoy one of the loveliest sunrises I’ve seen in awhile, watching as the sunlight kissed the white sandstone and brought it to life. The opague cream-colored rock began to warm and glow the closer the sun came to rising until it finally exploded and became a glowing, peachy-orange.

The next few mornings were overcast and even rainy, but I was treated to another lovely sunrise the morning we left, this time complete with the super moon hanging in the pink misty clouds to the west. There was more intense pink and blue to the south and a few beautiful golden, apricot-colored clouds to the east just before the sun rose over the buttes that I had climbed a few mornings prior. It’s an understatement to say that the light here was incredible.

As I mentioned, we had some overcast days while we were staying here, but one of our ventures during a cloudy afternoon really paid off – not just in terms of an enjoyable hike, but also in providing great lighting for some closeup shots. And this was perfectly timed, for our exploration that day yielded a slew of unique twisted sandstone formations, some tree bark that resembles melting wax (if anyone knows what kind of tree this is from, let me know), and an abnormally-vividly colored juniper bush dotted with steely blue berries. The vistas were dulled by the flat gray reflecting off the prairies and buttes of the petrified dunes, but colors and textures popped when seen closeup; even the yellowing cottonwood tree leaves had a glow to them under the overcast sky.

There wasn’t a trail we followed for this hike – we took off walking cross the valley from where we had camped. Staying between the two lines of peaks, we wove our way around pinyon and juniper until we reached a section of raised buttes which we climbed up and crossed over. It was there we found the neatest twisted pieces of sandstone, incredible shapes coated in minerals long ago precipitated into the loose sand that had petrified. Continuing on we found a canyon that we followed for awhile, admiring the pretty blue of the stream, the green grass, and the stately cottonwoods below before turning back towards where we had started from.

Wash near camp glowing blue in evening, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Wash near camp glowing blue in evening, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Blue sandstone at night, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Blue sandstone at night, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Before sunrise on the Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Before sunrise on the Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp on the Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp on the Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

On our hike from camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

On our hike from camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

On top of a butte, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

On top of a butte, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Me taking pictures on top of a sandstone butte, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Me taking pictures on top of a sandstone butte, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sandstone, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Overlooking a tributary of Deer Creek in the canyon below, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Overlooking a tributary of Deer Creek in the canyon below, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Abby shows some tongue for a selfie, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Abby shows some tongue for a selfie, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Some beautiful juniper berries, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Some beautiful juniper berries, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Creek below in the canyon, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Creek below in the canyon, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Looking into the canyon, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Looking into the canyon, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sittin' on the canyon rim, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sittin’ on the canyon rim, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Creek below, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Creek below, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Crossing petrified dunes, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Crossing petrified dunes, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Weird bark, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Weird bark, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Super moon near camp at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Super moon near camp at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Pinks to the south at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Pinks to the south at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Valley near camp at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Valley near camp at sunrise, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Sunrise near camp, Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah