In our latest research on places to photograph in the Page, AZ area, we found out that “Yellow Rock” is a must see location for photographers. In one book about photography, it is rated as “4 diamonds” out of five for photographic value. Hmmm, sounds good to me. I want to go. So, I say to Kas, “plan a visit to Yellow Rock, won’t you?” Maybe I should have said please. As she “planned” our visit, she found fewer write-ups and pictures of Yellow Rock than other locations in the area. She came to find out that few photographers have actually visited there. This begs the question, why do so few photographers visit and shoot Yellow Rock?
I can answer that question succinctly. There is a 750 foot elevation hike at 45 degrees (angle, not temperature). Ouch. Let me put this into perspective. When you are driving your car and come across a steep hill to climb (or descend), you may see a sign that says, “trucks, test your brakes. 8 degree elevation change ahead.” That means there is a steep hill coming up. So steep that you are advised to turn off your air conditioning (unless it is 45 degrees out) to increase your engine output. Now compare this vision of an 8 degree hill with a 45 degree hill. A 45 degree hill is more than five times as steep. I’ll say it again, ouch!
If the hike wasn’t enough of a deterrent, the road into Yellow Rock might as well be. It is a dirt road with much wash boarding (I’ll let you look this up), protruding rocks, holes, and hills to entice the most earnest four wheel driver. We traveled down this road for 14 miles before we arrived at the parking lot. It wasn’t really a parking lot but a small place in the bush to park a few cars. And there were no signs. Ah well, you only live once. We readied ourselves, 15 pound packs on our backs, and headed out to Yellow Rock. We walked through woods, a muddy stream, and loose sand for 1/3 of mile before we reached the ascent.
Climbing up a 45 degree ascent is akin to rock climbing, without the rappelling. I promised myself I would never rappel. And, I think it is a promise you should make to yourself. As we ascended, we grabbed onto every rock we could find, sometimes quite jagged, scrambling up the mountain face to our destination (I didn’t say “final destination place” though I thought about it many times). I can tell you now that grabbing a jagged rock is a lot more pleasurable than falling 100s of feet to my death. After 750 feet of ascent with at least 10 stops along the way to locate our breaths, we made it to the top. We spied Yellow Rock ahead of us. Was it worth the trip? We’ll let you be the judge.
I now know why there are so very few photographers who visit and photograph Yellow Rock. Maybe there should be two less.
One more thing. I figured out why it is called Yellow Rock. It looks yellow!
It’s all about the light!