Coke Smith Photography & Travelogue

Expedition to Canyon Country

A glorious sunrise over the Grand Canyon taken from the South Rim. 


This past summer in Namibia, I met some German travelers at the Kokerboom Forest of Namib Naukluft.  We were chatting about how much Namibia looked like the canyon country of Utah.  They were convinced that Namibia was in fact more spectacular, but I found that statement a bit odd.  I have a feeling that they wanted to put the American in his place, but I couldn’t help but wonder how you could compare different degrees of beauty, especially when you are speaking about such extreme examples like the canyon country regions of Utah and Arizona and that of Namibia!  Both places are beautiful beyond words.

Since my first trip to canyon country in 1972 with my father and stepmother, Rose, I was in love with this place.  Since then I have traveled to the national parks and monuments of the region many times.  I have spent time visiting parks like Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capital Reef and of course the Grand Canyon.  The scenery and landscapes of these places is beyond words.  The wildlife of the region is plentiful as well.

In 1985, I had the pleasure of camping and hiking in to the Grand Canyon for two weeks which was an outstanding wilderness adventure.  I have also traveled much of the region in the dead of winter one year.  The best part of traveling there in the winter was that we basically owned every single spot!  The crowds of the summer tourist season were completely absent and we could hear the echoes of the vast open spaces and chasms of these phenomenal places.  I have also experienced these spots in the heat of the summer months.  Som, Cokie and I have found some very secret spots to experience the canyon on the north rim (Point Sublime and others).  Experiencing the environmenta extremes of these areas gives me a special sense of the conditions the plants and animals have had to adapt to. 


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Grand Canyon & Canyon Country Landscapes Image Gallery


The images below present a small glimpse of the glory of Canyon Country!




Of all the canyons in canyon country, the Grand Canyon is by far the most impressive.  I have been traveling to the Grand Canyon for years now.  Every time I am in the Canyon, I am touched by how small I am in its presence. 



The colors of the Canyon are ever-changing.  Every angle of the Canyon provides a feast for the eyes.  The quiet grandeur of the canyon is a paradox.




The late afternoon and early morning are the best times to experience the beauty of the Canyon.




Grand Canyon Tower on the South Rim.









The sandstone formations of Arches National Park in Utah provide the framework for the most impressive assemblage of natural arches on earth.



Arches National Park, Utah.




No doubt my personal favorite in the canyon country of the USA is Bryce Canyon in Utah.  More fascinating geology would difficult to find anywhere.




The colors of Bryce are ever-changing.




I have been to Canyonlands National Park several times, but during the winter of 1997, Lien and I owned the entire national park!  We spent nearly a week in Moab and made daily sojourns to the park's interior.  We did not see another soul the entire time!




The vast chasms of Canyonlands are easily as impressive as the Grand Canyon.



Vista Point looking toward the eastern regions of Canyonlands.



Utah's Goblin Valley State Park is a surreal landscape filled with "ghostly" sandstone formations that defy imagination!



Utah's Monument Valley near the Four Corners Region of the US is an other-world landscape filled with massive sandstone cores that have yet to erode.



Zion National Park's Checkerboard Mesa is one of the most impressive natural formations in the park.




The amazing landscapes surrounding Moab, Utah are as beautiful as the national parks in the region!




The ubiquitous Black-tailed or Mule Deer is a common cervid species found in the region.  This subspecies is found mainly in the southwestern regions of North America.



Bighorn Sheep in southern Arizona. 



This female Bighorn herd was seen cliff walking in Arches National Park in Utah.


Please take a look at our North America Image Galleries!

Grand Canyon & Canyon Country Landscapes Image Gallery