Photographer's Note

The North Coyote Buttes area is an awesome, beautiful and dangerous area. I visited the buttes this year for the first time. Not only was it amazing that we got 5 of the 10 passes they handed out through the lottery system on the first try, it was just incredibly beautiful and amazing how wild some places still are here in the United States. An 8 mile dirt road leads to the parking area and trail access. Dirt road is an understatement. In some areas, the desert road is almost completely washed out and the going is slow. About 45 minutes of bumpy, bone rattling road.

We planned to go to the wave that day, the main reason people hike into the buttes. It is a very strenuous trek, despite the trail descriptions saying the elevation gain is very small. The trail starts with a very fine sand hill that descends into the buttes. It tended to be about ankle deep, making walking difficult. Then we crossed a couple stone ridges that were inclined at a 40 deg angle to the side, not making very good footing and pressure on our ankles extreme.

To make matters worse, but an adventure (anything that gets the adrenaline flowing is well worth it), was the winter storm approaching that could turn the rough dirt road out of there a mud pit and the wind it brought as well. Sand constantly was kicked up into our mouths, ears and eyes. The cold penetrated all of our clothes easily. The only thing we could do was push on, keep warm, and go fast to out pace the rain. We made it in record time. Climbed the giant sand hill into the wave. I won't rant about that last push, but it wasn't very kind to our ankles and calves.

To end this little story, we made it out, no rain. This picture was captured on the hike into the buttes, just before the Utah / Arizona border. You can see the edges of the storm starting to come in, and believe me it looked far worse to the north.

*This is a repost from my original. I completely re edited the photo to look like an HDR photo, even tho it was taken as a single image. i wanted to bring out the sky a little more, increase the contrast and bring out some of the reds in the rock and sand in this magical place.

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Additional Photos by Brad Betts (abadlovesong) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 50 W: 16 N: 38] (274)
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