As we bopped down the 10 miles or so of dirt road, the excitement was starting to build for the Falls. By this time, buddies Scott and Dee had joined us as well. Only Mike had been there before, and his shots from his first trip were amazing. As we were driving you really got a sense of “Man, we are in the middle of nowhere”. No power lines in sight, just flat ground covered in knee high tan grass with the random cow every now and then. Then the landscape started to change. The grass fields now contained large (desk sized and smaller) black rocks… volcanic rocks. Ken informed us these were “lava bombs” from the ancient volcanic eruptions common in the area. Once we turned off our dirt road, the impacts of volcanic activity became even more apparent. Instead of a nice and bumpy dirt road, we were now driving on a very rocky road made of of sharp volcanic rocks. Then we saw the falls. To say they were “awesome” would be an understatement. Everyone scattered over the next 3 hours or so as we shot the 180′ tall Falls and surrounding landscape.
This shot is one of the last I took and is from an observation deck near the top of the Falls. We were blessed with great clouds all day, but somehow the sunset never materialized into the spectacular oranges, reds and pinks we all hoped for.
Overall, the trip was absolutely fantastic. I drew the short straw and ended up driving Mike, Chris and Ken. This seemed to work out well as I took my wife’s ultra “fuel efficient” car. I think we averaged something like 15 mpg for the entire trip, which is not bad for a Range Rover loaded with 4 dudes and a bunch-o-gear. While normally reserved for playing the likes of Thomas the Train, Clone Wars, and the Polar Express, I did throw on a grown up movie for Mike and Chris who were riding in the back seat. We all laughed while watching/listening to The Hangover… that was at least until the 50 mph wind gust ripped off a piece of windshield molding while we were driving down I-40 going 90 mph ourselves and causing Ken to ride with his hand out the window holding it on until I could pull over. However that is a different story for a different day.
Here you can see our chariot for the day, the volcanic landscape and a glimpse of the 2 minutes where we had a bit of red sky after the sun fell below the horizon.
Well, this wraps up the series devoted to last weeks killer road trip. Thanks for tuning in. I know I had an absolute blast, and could not have gone with a better group of guys. In addition to being great photographers, Mike, Chris, Ken, Scott and Dee are also all around good guys. I can’t wait for the next trip when we can have a few more folks join, like Justin Balog from Light As Magic… if he is able to solve his iMovie woes by then.