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Ansel Adams

Beauty awaits the adventurous at Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Beauty awaits the adventurous at Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Lying on the ground in Coyote Gulch, the night sky framed by openings in a natural arch and a curved canyon wall, I peer at the cosmos as through a Mardi Gras mask. My legs and shoulders ache near the end of a 70-mile backpacking hike in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. This is the reward for exploring remote places: a long and challenging trek culminating in an otherworldly vista. A short distance from Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks, the national monument shares some of the red-rock wonders of its better-known neighbors. During a weeklong visit in May, I saw natural arches and bridges, Indian ruins and drawings, slot canyons and more, all contained...

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