Joe Roper

White Pocket

Joe Roper
White Pocket

White Pocket is one of the most magical places I have seen on this earth.

Plans for this trip started early on.  I had my eye on White Pocket and the Vermilion Cliffs for a few years at this point and I finally wanted to take the leap and go out there.  Coincidentally, my grandparents had planned a trip to Kanab and invited us to stay with them at their hotel so no camping needed! It was perfect.

White pocket and most of the Vermilion Cliffs area can be hard to get to and much of the area requires special permits to access.  One notable landmark in the area is called The Wave (you have probably heard of it or seen photos of it on instagram) which uses a lottery for permits.  Alex, Grandpa and I woke up early in the morning to go take a shot at the lottery in person at the BLM visitors center in Kanab.  We were not lucky but that's okay, we knew our chances to get a wave permit were slim and we had other plans anyway.  We met back up with Grandma who had wanted to check out a local bakery and see a local animal sanctuary.  Grandpa was less interested so he stayed behind and we went to go take a tour of the Best Friends Animal Society.  I had no idea but what a crazy cool facility they have there.  Lots of animals and really cool stuff going on there.

After that we met back up with Grandpa and headed out to White Pocket (Grandma stayed behind).   It was quite the long drive down numerous dirt roads that had probably seen better days.  Deep mud ruts and deep sandy sections.  Eventually we made it to white pocket and man I was blown away by how otherworldly these rock formations are. It was a photographers playground. The sandstone is just full of lines, layers, folds, colors, and the craziest formations.  I could spend days here. We spent hours exploring around these crazy formations.

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At the time of this trip I was focusing on building my film photography skills.  Until recently I hadn't shot film since I was 10 years old.  I was all over this sandstone playground with my old Konica slr.  In the end I wasn't super happy with how my film turned out but I had done some digital photography as back up because I lacked confidence in my film skills.  We chilled around waiting for the changing light and conditions and watched the sunset.  It was when we were wrapping things up that we decided to get a group photo with Grandpa.  I set up my tripod walked away after setting the self timer to turn around and watch the wind catch my dslr and slam it to the ground.  The body was okay but the lens was a goner.  A by-standing explorer saw the scene unfold and offered to take a photo for us.

You can almost see my dead inside look after breaking my camera...

You can almost see my dead inside look after breaking my camera...

I was kind of bummed out but at the same time I had just spend my whole day exploring one of the coolest places I have ever been to.  We made the drive out and found cell phone signal to find Grandma had been worried about us.  Always let people know where you're going and how long! 

It was a great trip and I have been itching to go back to that playground ever since.

-Joe