Fossil Springs Backpacking

Recently a group of friends and I went on a backpacking excursion to Fossil Springs just West of Strawberry in Northern Arizona. We arrived in the trail parking lot at about 9pm and started adjusting our packs for the 2 1/2 hour trek into the canyon. The moon was full and cast a defined shadow of myself and the enormous pack I was bearing upon the ground. While staring at the shadow of my tripod upon my pack, I pondered the thought of shedding a significant amount of weight in camera gear. I had done this same trip a year before and was disappointed in the images I had taken on it, but I didn't bring my tripod last time. I had to make up for it this year, my goal was to take long exposures of the waterfalls and springs to make a nice photo set, and that I had already made up my mind about.

After a long night of hiking, skirting around rattlesnakes and getting lost, I emerged from my tent into a lush green atmosphere that I could still barely believe was Arizona. Endless rain clouds above made for soft light upon every blade of grass, berry bush, lichen, and tree alike. I setup my camera and tripod along the water and started firing away. Silky white lines molding around river rocks spilled out from the stream into the pond we had camped alongside. My first few photos were a success, I was instantaneously energized and inspired to capture this geographical area as best as I could for all to see.


We decided to adventure out from our campsite and hike to the nearby waterfall and whirlpool for some swimming fun. The trail required us to walk alongside the river through enormous bushes of raspberries and blackberries. On shore 10 feet away, we could easily see the mossy stones at the bottom of the river as if viewing through a pane of glass. Further along the trail the thick greenery weaned back exposing the red rock of the canyon walls towering above us. There was no denying that we were in Arizona from this vantage point, it reminded me of the endless treasures this state has to offer when you open your eyes to them. The roar of water plummeting from a vertical drop increased with every footstep, we had reached our destination. The sight of a red rock plateau bleeding into green trees and finally into this beautiful cascade of liquid struck me with such awe, this is Arizona.


Following much swimming, bouldering and photographing, we headed back to camp. The part of Fossil Creek that we were camping at was named after the natural springs in the area. Collectively the springs gush out 20,000 gallons of water per minute, the nearest of which we collected our drinking water from. Click.... 15 seconds pass and click, I pull my neutral density filter from in front of my lens and wait for an image to show on screen. My eyes are met with a variety of movements. Porous rocks and steadfast tree roots contrast swaying grasses and feathered paint strokes of blue and white. I continue hiking and photographing until I reach the spring, it's an extremely beautiful sight seeing such water production in a servery parched state. I gathered many great images in this excursion and feel successful in my overall goal for the trip. It was a difficult hike out with my equipment but in the end, absolutely worth it.