Posted on September 12, 2019
We were looking forward to cooler weather as we left Arches and Canyonlands on our way to Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon National Park . Several days of waking up at 4 AM to beat the heat, and sometimes the crowds, had taken it’s toll. In addition, shorter drives to trail heads and points of interest, as well as a shuttle bus at Bryce, promised a more relaxed pace.
Capitol Reef embraces a geological formation called the Waterpocket Fold which is a nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth’s crust, a step-up in the rock layers. The most scenic portion is found near the Fremont River where one can see white domes of Navajo Sandstone and the park’s colorful cliffs. Three steps, each of which occurred over millions of years, created the captivating landscape: deposition, Colorado Plateau uplift, and finally erosion. The erosion that sculpted the current landscape occurred within the last 20 million years with the major canyon formation probably occurred between one and six million years ago. Putting this into perspective, the oldest human fossil is 2.8 million years old while at the other extreme some of the oldest surface rock in north America, between 2500 and 3800 million years old, can be found in the Canadian Shield.
Leaving Capitol Reef and travelling about 100 miles to Bryce Canyon takes one to a very different world. Situated along a high plateau at the top of an area known as the Grand Staircase, the park includes a series of natural amphitheaters and contains the earths largest concentration of irregular columns of rock (hoodoos). It’s geology is unique but along with sandstone formations the stretch the imagination the park is home to numerous beautiful wooded and meadow landscapes.
As we explored the parks, and hiked the trails, we were always on the lookout for wildlife and we were usually not disappointed.
As we wrap up our stay at Bryce, our westernmost destination, we look forward to a different type of adventure at Mesa Verde NP where we will travel back in time. Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Central Ohio Nature, Nature Photography, Wildflowers Tagged: Black Phoebe, Black-throated Sparrow, Bristlecone Pine, Connecticut Warbler, Desert Spiny Lizard, Eastern Fence Lizard, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Indian Paintbrush, Melissa Blue, Mountain Chickadee, Rabbit Bush, Rock Wren, Short Eared Lizard, Steller Jay, Utah Prairie Dog, Weidemeyer's Admiral
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