Thursday, February 1, 2018

Scorpius Arch

I mentioned last week that most of the roads, campgrounds and hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park are scrunched up into the NW corner. The map below (hopefully) clarifies what I'm talking about.
The circled red area is what people mostly see when they visit the Park. I didn't include Pinto Basin Road in the red circle because there are only a handful of campgrounds and tourist stops and most of the area lacks the iconic boulder formations and joshua trees. The blue-dashed area is more or less inaccessible (Little San Bernardino and Cottonwood Mountain Ranges). The yellow-dashed area, which represents almost half the park (by acreage), is what I think of as "the great wide open"... no roads, no maintained trails, no people. Just pristine desert. Old Dale Road and Black Eagle Mine Road skirt the western end of "the great wide open", but otherwise there are no roads or trails. It's amazing to me how much of the park is never or rarely seen. Photos from last week and this week were taken in the NE part of "the great wide open" (black arrow) which is an area that is rarely visited.

I went in search of something called Scorpius Arch in the NE section of the GWO. I've seen pics of it, but it's exact location is a closely guarded secret. People are very concerned that knuckleheads will do stupid things (trash, graffitti, bonfires...), and rightly so. After exploring the area, I eventually found Scorpius Arch, and I wasn't disappointed. Not only is the Arch amazing looking, but the entire area has beautiful, weird, unique rock formations that make it very photogenic.
An important note of caution. As mentioned, this area is remote and there are no trails to follow. Take extreme caution if you explore the area. Make sure you have a good GPS device, set waypoints in advance, tell people exactly where you are going, etc. I searched the photo sharing site Flickr for "Scorpius Arch" and was surprised that I didn't find more photos. One photo was accompanied by the following comment that I think illustrates my point (a direct quote):
"Do not ask me for the location of this arch. I will not tell you. This arch is in a remote part of the park that is not often visited. If you get lost or hurt in this area no one will find you for days or weeks. I will not have that on my conscience. If you message me asking the location of this arch, I will ignore you."
Scorpius Arch in B&W. It's hard for me to make up my mind if it looks better in color or B&W, so I guess I'll share some of both!




I plan to post once more (next week) on my first hike to this beautiful, remote area. I still have some great photos I would like to share with you. And of course, I'm already itching to go back for a second visit!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

51 comments:

  1. Looks very alien, like it is laying there watching. Superb photos

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  2. I'll take the color photos over the B/W, because I know how colorful the desert really is. Great shots!

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  3. I like both but the black and white looks very impressive.

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  4. The arch is incredible. Lucky are those who see it in person; we are happy to see the photos.

    Worth a Thousand Words

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  5. That's an amazing arch and wonderful shots of it. So where is it? ;)

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  6. Beautiful in color--- otherworldly in B&W. Superb in both!

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  7. The photo comparisons are all beautiful. How big is the diameter of the arch, maybe it can shelter some animals there. Be safe!

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  8. I like it in both color & B&W and I love your edits.

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  9. You're always finding something fascinating, and getting fabulous pictures of it.

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  10. Wow, WOw, WOW!!! What a great find! I think you hit the nail on the head, most of our national treasures are largely unexplored. Some I prefer in monochrome, some in color, but they are all fantastic!

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  11. A beautiful arch! Stunning colors in the capture you posted for Sky Watch! Am glad you found it! Do you have any idea who or what it's named after? Sorry for my late reply of LAST week, but I wasn't feeling well, and our son was visiting from Holland, so not much energy was left for blogging.

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    1. Thanks Jeannette! I don't know who came up with the name "scorpius". I wondered the same thing. I googled scorpius... it's one of the constellations, and it's latin for scorpion. Why the arch has this name I can't fathom!

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    2. I first found the arch in march of 2016. I wouldn't say discovered because I've found out since that some of the locals knew of it. There were no footprints in the sand anywhere and you could tell no one had been there for at least a couple of years. It lines up perfect for a night time Milky Way shot, so in June I brought my friend Bodhi out to shoot the Milky Way over the arch around midnight. While sitting around waiting I was trying to come up with a name for the photo. I wanted something that kinda rhymed with the famous Mobius arch in the Alabama hills. Bodhi started pointing out different stars, planets and constellations. Scorpio was right above the arch. I opened the Stellarium app on my phone and there it was, Scorpius. The perfect name for my arch photo since I thought that it looked a little like a scorpion's tail and there were a lot of scorpions out on this warm summer night. We even found a scorpion hanging out in the alcove of the arch. I posted my shot on some of the Facebook groups and Instagram calling it Scorpius Arch and the name stuck. The park even posted the photo on their Instagram page a number of times calling it Scorpius, so I guess it's official. Here's a link to the shot.

      https://www.lastoftheancientones.com/fullscreen-page/comp-j59xdaxf/e3e02f44-3a02-4490-a340-018b4db53aed/24/%3Fi%3D24%26p%3Djd5lv%26s%3Dstyle-jfbgi60e

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  12. I like very much the color versions of this arch but the versions black and white do not miss interest especially as the quality of the bw is excellent

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  13. Wow truly awesome. Love both colour & monochrome pics.
    Greetings.

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  14. Great shots of one of nature wonders. It looks fantastic indeed.

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  15. Spectacular rock formations and an awe-inspiring landscape. It's good that not every geological miracle doesn't have a tourist trail, viewing platforms and information boards.

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  16. Scorpion Arch looks awesome in B&W !

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  17. So many awesome photos. It's hard for me to say which is my favorite. For once, I liked the color photos better than the black and white.

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  18. Hello, what a cool arch! Awesome series of photos. Pretty sky captures. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  19. Fantastic photos of these great rock formations !

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  20. Such a huge section of the park is not seen by people. Nature is so amazing, great shots!

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  21. What a cool arch! Lovely shots.

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  22. These are truly awesome pictures, Peter.
    That arc is a wonderful wonder of nature. Just curious: how high is the arc?

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    1. Thanks, Jan! The arch probably looks a little larger in photos. The arc height is, I would estimate, perhaps 6' or so. I remember thinking a person or model could stand on the inside and it would make a cool photo!

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  23. Awesome is exactly right. In general, I prefer the B&W images [that's what makes horse races]. Your posts never fail to please!!

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  24. Wow that is amazing---love it in all colors,
    MB

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  25. I can't imagine why anyone at any age would vandalize something in a national park. Your black and white treatment brings out something special and the whole area has a unique Star Trekkian look to it. I expect a Gorn to appear with a boulder over its head.
    And congrats on finding it, quite a feat.

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    1. Vandalism is a huge problem in Joshua Tree National Park. It's really sad that they constantly have to repair damage caused by morons and A**holes!

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  26. Again, you and your adventures. I love them. What a great find. I wouldn't tell where it is either, nor would I ask. I like both the color and black and white versions.

    Be safe out there in the desert!!

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  27. Love the arch! I'm a B&W fan, but both versions are beautiful!

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  28. Stunning pics! Looks like a big eye is watching!

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  29. Awesome rock formations and creative photography!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  30. As you know, the clarity and strength of colour in your photos always delights me (and fills me with envy!) but I really like the black and white images, especially four down. The rock formation looks like prehistoric bones! Very interesting to see a map of the park and to get a better idea of it's scale.

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  31. The rock formation are absolutely beautiful. The landscape looks so alien but lovely to see. I'll leave the exploring to you and enjoy viewing your photos. :)
    I like both the colour and b&w, it's too hard to choose.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  32. What beautiful photos of this arch! I am partial to the ones in full color. You are fortunate to be able to explore parts the park that most people aren't able to see. I'm glad that photographers are cautious about giving out a location for this arch, both for the safety of the arch and the curiosity seeker!

    I am in a wildlife photography group and we just changed our rules to let disclose the locations of animals we photograph, as it may lead to droves of photographers going to try to get the same photos, or worse, hunters looking for a trophy.

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  33. You are adventurous!!! I hope you went with at least another person. The formation is quite amazing. I like the color photos better. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  34. Oh wow! Absolutely gorgeous photos!

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  35. This is so beautiful Peter ... thank you so much for sharing. I'm more fond of color (possibly because I'm old enough to remember when all photos were only B&W and 'technicolor' was such a welcome thing)....but I suppose that the B&W is more 'art'....

    anyway, I am so grateful to you for sharing this beauty -- we wouldn't be able to get there if you'd hand us a programmed GPS (or even if you led us) but I definitely appreciate your reasons for not disclosing the location. Sometimes people are just terrible. I am so worried for our National Parks, not just because of horrible individuals, but also because of our politicians.

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  36. Awesome place! Interesting how a change in angle makes the picture very different.

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  37. Gosh, I guess by the sound of it you would have to be quite experienced in the ways of hiking and understand the area plus the land pretty well.

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  38. Beautiful arch photographs. It's impossible to pick just one.

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  39. certainly a beautiful spot. I could never go there. I would be lost forever. Unless I had a GPS with me. Some places is better left alone. Except for people who know how to treat it. And share it with the rest of us. :)

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  40. Fantastic photos Pete! Stark, barren, and beautiful...

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