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
Posted on August 28, 2019
We were heading west to the mountains and deserts of Colorado and Utah. Our new to us Lance 1995 travel trailer and GMC Yukon tow vehicle were acquired primarily, or so we thought, to explore and photograph the natural wonders of Florida for two months each winter. But now in the high plains of eastern Colorado where interstate 70 finds little reason to alter it’s course we were to encounter the first bit of “exciting” western scenery. In a place where the all encompassing sky and the land meet at an uninterrupted horizon, a wall of black clouds as far a the eye could see presented a seemingly impenetrable barrier between us and the small half ghost town of Siebert which was to be the day’s destination. Crawling along into the “wall”, with heavy rain and some hail pounding the car and fragile plastic vents and other pieces on the trailer’s roof, we passed cars stopped by the side of the road and even one or two that had found the ditch. Then almost as quickly as it began it was over, fortunately having sounded much worse than it turned out to be.
As we left Siebert the next morning what appeared to be relatively new grain elevators attested to the fact that someone in the town, who’s center is now comprised largely of abandoned sun bleached weathered storefronts, must be making some money. About seven hours later, after crossing the continental divide at Monarch Pass, a task that severely tested our until now very competent tow vehicle, we arrived in Montrose, Colorado about six miles from the entrance to The Black Canyon of The Gunnison NP.
Since no one in our party was in shape for extended hikes into the interior of the park or a 2000 foot near vertical descent into the canyon our exploring would be done by driving to trailheads and doing less ambitious day hikes to points of interest. Even so the trails ranged from easy to moderate in difficulty with the 8000 feet elevation contributing to the difficulty for us usually near sea level hikers.
Below are some pictures that we felt in a very limited way captured the essence of the park. To really do such a place justice would take many more years than we have.
The canyon rim:
Along the river:
There were an interesting variety of critters as well as wild flowers along the park trails. While we saw birds they were much more dispersed than what we are used to in central Ohio.
As we left western Colorado and headed for Arches NP we couldn’t help but wish for just a few more days to explore the canyon and surrounding area but have the suspicion that no matter how long our stay we would always want just a few days more. Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Black Canyon of The Gunnison NP, Central Ohio Nature, Nature Photography, nature writing, photography, Wildflowers Tagged: Clark's Nutcracker, Collared Lazard, Eastern Fence Lizard, Great Spangled Fritillary, Little Wood Satyr, Mule Deer, Orange Meadowhawk, Scrub Jay, Sphinx Moth, Townsend's Solitaire, Western Branded Skippers, Western Tiger Swallowtail
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