Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What Rocks!

Before setting out on this trip, Penny and I agreed that Utah has the most incredible rock formations in the country. That’s based on our first trip through southern Utah and Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Then driving through the southern Rockies in Colorado we thought that maybe Colorado’s rocks are pretty neat also. But now  returning to Utah—no contest.

DSC_0011 Our GPS wanted to take us to Capitol Reef National Park via the northern route, up to I-70, then west, then south again. I thought the southern route looked more interesting. This route took us through Glenwood Canyon National Recreation Area. This image is a portion of the Colorado River that winds through this section of the huge recreation area.

Then we entered Capitol Reef.


Awesome, magnificent, spectacular, amazing; none of these superlatives suffice. Created by an upthrust 65 million years ago, Capitol Reef is a 100 mile stretch of rock originally sand at the bottom of an inland sea.


Geologists call this formation a Waterpocket Fold. It consists of many layers of sedimentary rock formed over hundreds of millions of years from ancient seas, tidal flats and deserts.


The official Park brochure describes the geology as an “eroded jumble of colorful cliffs, massive domes, soaring spires, stark monoliths, twisting canyons and graceful arches.”


Although the Reef looks like an arid, desert landscape, the Fremont River has supported life here for thousands of years. Native Americans left petroglyphs as almost the only evidence of their habitation between 700 and 1250 AD, but little is known about these people of the Fremont Culture. Mormon pioneers and others populated the valley in the early 1800s.


The name Capitol Reef came about because early explorers thought the upthrust walls of rock resembled coral reefs, and some of the domes look like the dome of the US Capitol Building.

The immense beauty of this place is almost unphotographable, to quote an old song. But I tried, so I’ll end this entry with a few more images of this almost indescribable place.


















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