Escalante holds a special place in my heart. The "Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument" is huge, and even after 5 years I have not finished exploring all of it. The exploration or this area has marked a drastic increase on my appreciation and understanding of the American Southwestern Wilderness.
Before moving to Utah, I made my pilgrimage to Escalante twice a year on Spring and Fall. I would pour over maps and books, mainly Steve Allen's Canyoneering books, and plan hikes and photography destinations in the area. In the spring of 2013 I decided to explore Willow Gulch. During that morning, as I walked down the canyon, the walls soared higher, water ran deeper and cottonwood trees started to become prominent in the canyon floor. Cottonwoods or "Populus deltoides" (botanical name) they belong to the poplar family with other poplars like quaking aspen and Lombardy poplar.
I stopped to filter and re-fill my water bottles when a sudden wind blew through the canyon. As the wind blew through the cottonwood trees, the canyon air became engulfed with these fluffy cotton balls. This cottony material causes the small whitish cottonwood seeds to float on the wind for long distances.
It was a wonderful unexpected spectacle. I got my camera out and enjoyed the event for several minutes.
Cottonwood Storm from the Canyons Collection
Broken Bow Arch from the Canyons Collection