Thursday, July 2, 2015

Secret Slot Canyon

Last year I had been looking at Google Earth around some areas of Big Bend National Park when I spotted something that I thought might be a narrow canyon.  It was!

I explored it in 2014 and covered it here in my blog  Secret Slot Canyon 

This spring I returned to the canyon to again explore what it had to offer.  Although I am sure a few others have walked through it, I have never seen it mentioned in any publication nor images posted from it.

Where you start into the canyon there is little sign of what is to follow.  It looks like nothing more than a sandy wash.  A few turns ans the walls begin to grow until you are in a 40' deep and narrow canyon. 

As we made our way into the canyon we found while the geology of it looks pretty much the same some of the plants have really grown with one particular cat's claw bush making getting around it a sticky affair.

The deeper you trek you find a few sections even overhang above you.  It is not quite what you would expect to find in Texas and seems almost Utah like.

As the walls get taller the canyon it become more fun and a nice little canyon experience.  The canyon is often only 3 or 4 feet wide at the bottom.  The bottom is sometimes rock, sometimes sand, and sometimes rocky.  The canyon has some narrow sections that get very narrow and then it will widen out to 10-15 feet before narrowing back down again.  

Those overhanging areas make it seem even narrower as you see just a band of sky.

This last spring I had rented a Sony A7R for the trip, wanting to test out a 36mp camera in Big Bend.  I have a Canon to Sony adapter that allowed me to use my Canon lenses on it.  That works but it also makes the camera rather bulky and seem front heavy.  Wanting to travel light and try the camera with a smaller lens, I took the A7R camera but used my crop sensor NEX lenses on it.  Those lenses are much better sized for the body making it very small and compact.  However they do not have a big enough image circle to fill the sensor.  So the image you get is about half of the frame.  Normally that might be bad, but with the 36mp of the A7R I was able to get about a 17mp image still.  Since my normal little NEX6 is a 16mp it really works out pretty similar.

So I put the little kit lens as well as the fisheye to work and ended up getting some nice images as I explored the canyon.

Because of the rains over the winter we eventually got to some water obstacles.  I had to navigate up and around some rocks so I could complete the canyon to the chock stone boulder and get the picture from the top.  It was a good way to spend a couple of hours and I even got a few neat images.

All in all the canyon part is maybe 200 yards long.  No not very big, especially when Santa Elena Canyon is 1500' deep and 8 miles long.  Still it is a neat off the beaten path kind of place and one I think is a great find.  It is certainly one I put on my list to visit again and again.





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