2018 Calendar

8000 kms, 6 states, 18 days. The journey took us from Vancouver to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Vancouver. The main goal was to go to Utah and visit the ‘Mighty 5’ National Parks which are Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Here are the park stats from Utah 40 State Parks • 1 State Reserve 4 State Wildlife Management Areas • 5 National Parks • 12 National Forests 2 National Historic Sites • 4 National Wildlife Refuges • 3 National Recreation Areas So basically, the entire state is one gigantic park! I was surprised at the vast variety in the landscapes sometimes even only 30miles away. With the exception of 4 nights (2 being Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) we camped the entire journey.

The 2018 calendar is a collection of photographs from Utah. This is an amazing part of the world and I hope that my photographs inspire everyone to make the journey. You can click on the Blue text, it links you to more information about a park.

Cover Photograph

This photo is from Arches National Park. The shot was taken directly under a rock formation called Double Arch. The intense blue colour of the sky was pretty consistent through the entire trip. The walk from the parking lot to this arch is minimal and super easy but while taking these pictures, my body was at weird angles and ended up pulling all the muscles in my thighs. I was so sore I could hardly walk for days after!  One of the big jokes of the trip!




Bryce Canyon National Park

This was the only park that we did not stay in. It was absolutely freezing the day that we arrived in Bryce Canyon. It was a beautifully sunny and snowy day but the wind was strong and COLD and we were at elevations of 8800ft! I remember taking pictures of the info signs to read later because it was so cold I couldn’t stand out to read them. Much of the park was closed off but we did bust out our snowshoes and hike around a bit. This is definitely one I’d like to return to another time.



Capitol Reef National Park

One of the most wonderful things about being an off-season traveler is that there are very few people around. This was a long day in the car and I was ready to get out and stretch my legs.We were on a hike to Hickman’s Natural Bridge (which you will see later on in the year) This little cave was just one of the neat little surprises along the way.



Arches again! There is a definite element of danger here- one day that top boulder is going to fall. This is called Balanced Rock’ for obvious reasons.




Photographing the Mesa Arch at Sunrise is one of the things to do while visiting Canyonlands National Park. People set their alarms to see this. We were tenting in the park and there is nothing quite like being woken up, in what feels like the middle of the night by the sound of cars starting, engines revving. This particular morning we were feeling lazy so we got up and made our coffee before heading out. It is a short walk from the parking lot to the arch and we were happy and relaxed, coffee in hand, only to come across some of the grumpiest faces we had seen the whole trip. These alarm setting, car revving, campground waker-uppers were grumpy! The cluster of photographers all trying to get ‘the’ shot was amusing and within half-hour of sunrise, we had the place to ourselves.


The All-American Road. Scenic Byway 12. 150 miles of sheer beauty and wonder. If I could do this trip again, I would definitely spend more time here. Because it was winter, many of the towns were deserted. We had to be careful to fuel up whenever we had the chance because there was no indication as to the distance to the next open gas station. When we came upon this trailer in the middle of nowhere, it felt like we had just stepped onto the set of Breaking Bad.


If you have read my blog before, you will know that June’s photo is always my favourite in the calendar because it is my birthday month! Here we are again at Mesa Arch, sunrise. I got this shot by  walking away from the crowds and came across this brave soul. He and his friends had spent the night in their hammocks suspended over the canyon.



Here we are again at Arches National Park. I could have easily done a whole calendar on this park. It is so interesting. The cars in the parking lots had plates from all over the country. It was like being in a Disneyland parking lot except not at all like Disneyland but not- a giant park full of …rocks, Pretty cool! The mountains in the background are the La Sal mountains and you can read about them here.


A butte /bjuːt/ is an isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; buttes are smaller than mesas, plateaus, and table landforms. Factory Butte was so named by early settlers who thought its outline resembled a woolen mill in Provo, Utah, according to Wikipedia. This is on the All American Road.



Now we get to Zion National Park. This is a special place. From the east side of the park you drive along the Zion- Mount Carmel Highway (Dad this link is for you) through a 1.1 mile tunnel that was constructed in the late 1920’s and in May, 2012, designated as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. You can read more about it here (super interesting reading folks!)

This photograph was taken from the heights of the Emerald Pool trails.

A highlight of the Zion experience was going through The Narrows. This is a canyon hike that, in the winter, requires a wet suit because the water is so cold.


We first arrived in Arches National Park just before sundown. We took a peek into the park and this is what we saw, Park Avenue.


Hickman’s Natural Bridge- Capitol Reef



Ah! December already! In Zion in the winter there is only 1 campground open and within that campground, only a small percentage of sites are available. It was full every night. This was our site. Sweet eh?

I hope that you have enjoyed your 2018 calendar. As always, thank you for supporting me as an artist and I look forward to sharing many more new and exciting projects with you! Stay tuned!

Ali ox