Sunday, August 30, 2020

Hiking the Reef

That title might make you think we are near the ocean.  But I don't think it is possible to hike that sort of reef.  We are in Utah, exploring Capitol Reef National Park.  We have done 3 hikes on the Waterpocket Fold.  That is an uplift revealing "a nearly complete set of Mesozoic-era sedimentary layers," according to the park's Geology information.

Our first hike was a 3 1/2 mile hike to Cohab Canyon.  This is the backdrop for the Visitor Center.

Many of the cliffs are covered with these holes--called water pockets.  These holes are caused by water and wind.

This canyon wasn't quite as narrow as it appears. 

We didn't walk up this narrow side canyon.

Our second hike was to Hickman Bridge.  A bridge looks like an arch but it is carved out by water, rather than wind and sand.

The rocks in Capitol Reef come in many different colors.  The deep red stone is rich in oxidized iron.  Here is a hill of light pink stone.  We saw this as we were driving through the park. 

This was our view of that mountain as we climbed toward Hickman Bridge.

In places we found trees for some welcome shade.
One of  our views from under Hickman Bridge.

The center of the bridge is really narrow, considering the heavy rock it is made of.

Here are two views looking through the bridge.

Finally, a view of the Fremont River that carved the bridge. 

More interesting shapes on the landscape.

Our third hike was through the Grand Wash, a gorge that cuts its way through the upper portion of the Waterpocket Fold. Though the trail is long--3.5 miles one way--it is almost level, with only a 200 foot change in elevation. The trail was the busiest we have seen here in the park.

One hiker who passed us asked if we would like him to take a picture of the two of us together in the Wash.

Looking up at the sky.
I'm not sure how these plants get enough sun to make chlorophil in the bottom of the wash, but they sure add to the beauty of the place. Notice the windows--holes--in this rock formation.
If we didn't know that we could get out the other end of the Grand Wash, we might wonder where we were going or if we would ever find out way out.
John sure looks small against the massive wall.
Here are some more water pockets. If you look closely, you can see some the smaller stones in some of the holes or pockets. They must have been carried by the water rushing through the gorge.

To really get a perspective on the size of everything in the Grand Wash, look closely at this photo.  There are two people walking away from the camera just under the right side of the overhang at the back of the photo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Come Ride With Us

 Yesterday we drove from Moab to Torrey, Utah.  We had been exploring the area around Arches National Park and now we are in the Capitol Reef National Park area.  More and different rock formations.  Utah is amazing.

As we left Moag, we were surrounded by cliffs of red and pink stone.

Then, suddenly, there was this outcrop of pinkish white rock.

I would name the white formation below Table Mountain.  We passed signs with name for a number of the formations.  But I was busy looking at the scenery and taking photos and didn't keep track of what they are called.

Maybe this is a guard tower.

I thought this looked like a house on top of the mountain with a large overhanging roof to shade the people inside.

This is just a jumble of rocks.  It probably doesn't have a name.  I sure wouldn't want to hike up to the top.

I think this was called Ghost Mountain.  

And suddenly, we were surrounded by a forest of pinon pine and juniper trees.

We saw several signs warning we were in  open range and we frequently crossed cattle guards.  But this was the only cow we saw on the road.

I hope you enjoyed the scenery driving south from Moab to Torrey.  We plan lots of hiking in the next couple of weeks so I will be showing a lot more of the wonderful Utah scenery.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Hiking to See the Rock Formations

The landscapes and geology of Utah are spectacular.  We first discovered that in 2003 on our first long RV trip after retirement.  We have returned this summer for another extensive look.  Many people take  in the views from a jeep.  We are doing our sightseeing by hiking.


 This is the view driving up to the office at our RV park in Moab.
This grass is used for landscaping some of the RV sites.
Our first hike was through Park Avenue in Arches National Park. The cliffs on either side dwarf human hikers. The rock colors range from yellow to dark red.
This is a window in the rock wall.  Given a few decades more, the rock above may break away and this will become an arch.  It is the only place we have seen an arch.