An oversized compilation of Tim Fitzharris' photographic work from the past 20 years: 72 panoramic wilderness landscapes of the North American West, organized by 6 regions and includes personal observations by the photographer.
- Firefly Books, Limited
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 15.25(w) x 11.25(h) x 1.00(d)
Read an Excerpt
My words are tied in one
With the great mountains
With the great rocks
In one with my body
And my heart
A rattlesnake lies coiled a few inches from the cliff edge, heedless of the abyss that falls in a sheer drop thousands of feet to the Colorado River. It has spent the day in a cranny out of the heat. Now as darkness floods over the red sandstone walls, the atmosphere cools quickly. The thick serpent, sheathed in leathery scales, rests on the warm mass of rock. Nearby is a packrat's den, a bushel of twigs, bones, foliage and cactus pads blocking the entrance to its nest in the rock face. The snake's broad head is supended in the darkness, its arsenal of sensory and attack weapons fully engaged. Its nostrils pick up the first scent over the edge of the cliff. As the rodent pauses to monitor the night's sounds, the snake's tongue flicks through a notch in its upper lip, fork triangulating the distance to its prey. Infared sensors housed in pits between the snake's eyes are also on the target, calculating its shape, size and distance. Scales on the reptile's belly rise slightly and then pull down and backward against the sandstone, inching the serpent forward. The viper's hollow fangs fill with venom. Scratching at its belly with a hind paw, the packrat belches softly and pulls an inquisitive sniff out of the night air.
The rattlesnake and packrat are denizens of the Colorado Plateau, a territory like nowhere else in the west., like nowhere else on Earth. The plateau sits like a great basin, tinted in shades of pink, vermilion and amarillo, sprawling 130,000 square miles (337,000 square km) across southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and western Colorado. Lightly populated, it boasts the largest roadless area in the contiguous United States.
The landscape is a fusion of the infinite and the intimate. Cliffs descend in ten-story leaps, plunging a vertical mile before sliding over rock rubble into a snarl of buttes, terraces and alcoves. Out of the grit and cobble of the desert floor sandstone formations loom like celestial chess pieces hundreds of feet high. Purple crags backdrop labyrinths of hoodoos, domes, stone dunes and voluminous amphitheaters lined with pillars. A hogback runs out in a straight line to diappear over the horizon, not once breaking its formal geometry. The dry air, sparse vegetation and huge scale generate mesmerizing vistas. Yet the same elements make hiking the staircases, corridors and box canyons of these convoluted reaches an intimate, somehow familar, experience.
The diverse topography is nearly matched by its biota. Isolated in chasms and restricted by precarious walls and ledges of naked rock, coping with limited moisture and extreme temperatures, flora and fauna of hundreds of species call the Plateau home. Rarities like the Mexican spotted owl, California condor and peregrine falcon take flight over the ponderosa pine groves and extensive pinyon juniper woodlands. Where water collects in the tens of thousands of miles of canyons and sub-canyons, hikers are greeted by hanging gardens, tall rushes and grasses, oaks, maples and Douglasfir. Grass and sagebrush lightly dress the dry flatlands.
The Colorado Plateau boasts a record concentration of famous national parks and sanctuaries, hosting tens of millions of visitors each year. The most popular include Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde. Areas just as spectacular but unspoiled by crowds can be discovered in abundance, offering perfect solitude for those willing to abandon the tourist routes.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >