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Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Utah 2016, Part 2: Slot Canyons

05 Jun
Un-named slot canyon near Long Canyon.

Un-named slot canyon near Long Canyon.

A slot canyon is deeper than it is wide. They can be fun to photograph due to the light reflections. They are nice to explore in the middle  of a hot day, offering shade and cooler temperatures.  I hiked in several slot canyons on this trip.  Click on each photo for larger versions.

 

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Entrance to another unnamed slot canyon entering Long Canyon.

Entrance to another unnamed slot canyon joining Long Canyon.

 

This slot canyon has cottonwood trees growing near the entrance.

This slot canyon has cottonwood trees growing near the entrance.

 

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Willis Canyon

 

Willis Canyon

Willis Canyon

 

Looking straight up from the bottom of Willis Canyon

Looking straight up from the bottom of Willis Canyon.

It’s like being inside a giant mouth with molars.

Willis Canyon

Willis Canyon

 

Looking across the top of a slot canyon. You can almost jump across.

Looking across the top of a slot canyon. You can almost jump across.

 

Looking down into the slot canyon of Bull Valley Gorge.

Looking down into the slot canyon of Bull Valley Gorge.

 

 

Lick Wash

Lick Wash

Go forward to Utah 2016, Part 3.

Go back to Utah 2016, Part 1.

 
 

Utah 2016, Part 1

30 May

I recently spent about 10 days in southern Utah, both camping and staying with friends. I experienced all kinds of weather: hot, cold, wet and dry. Rather than present my trip as a travel log, I decided just to group certain photos together along with my thoughts. Click on any photo for a larger version.

 

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

For the most part, I hiked in areas less travelled. I had thought about going to Bryce Canyon National Park, but it happened to be on a weekend (not that a weekday would have made much difference), and the traffic leading into the park was heavy, so I turned around and headed for the dirt roads.

Being spring time and with the recent rains, many plants were blooming.

 

Yellow prickly pear cactus

Yellow prickly pear cactus.

 

Cactus with red flowers.

Claret cup cactus

 

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Evening primrose

 

This was probably blooming a million years ago. Fossilized plant material.

This was probably blooming a million years ago. Fossilized plant material.

 

Not exactly blooming, but pretty none the less.

Not exactly blooming, but pretty none the less. (Click for the larger version to see the detail.)

It always amazes me where plants choose to take root (probably not a conscious choice). There’s plenty of sand and dirt around for a plant to grow in, but perhaps these cracks have more moisture in them.

 

Growing in a crack in the canyon wall.

Utah fleabane growing in a crack in the canyon wall.

 

A shrub and a pine are sharing the same crack.

A single leaf ash and a pine are sharing the same crack.

 

Jack Rabbit

Jack Rabbit sniffing Scotch broom.

 

My friends George and Kristine as we explored Manganese Wash.

My friends George and Kristine as we explored Manganese Wash.

 

Go forward to Utah 2016, Part 2.

 

 
 

Water

07 Aug
From the Continental Divide

From the Continental Divide

 

I sat on the jagged granite of the Continental Divide, up at 12,000 feet elevation, contemplating water.  The water in front of me, if left to it’s own devices, would end up in the Pacific Ocean.  The water in the lakes behind me would end up in the Atlantic Ocean.  If the water were to meet, it would be at the tip of South America.  I was struck by the thought that if I poured out the water in my bottle, it would be split to take long separate journeys, probably never to be joined again.

Actually the water from here probably will never make it to either ocean.  It will be consumed for human use either directly or as irrigation, or both. Then it will probably evaporate and end up in the atmosphere. But this morning, sitting on the divide, my focus was on the long journeys in the oceans.

I hiked down through the wilderness in an area I’ve never been before.  I discovered the old wreck of yet another aircraft.

 

Aircraft wing

Aircraft wing

 

I wasn’t surprised by it.  Lux had once told me there were two old wrecks in this part of the wilderness.  I had forgotten about it.   I visited the other wreck 4 years ago in 2011.  There wasn’t much left of this one.  The fuselage and engine had definitely been removed from the area.  The only thing left were parts of the wings and part of the tail.  If some entity went through the trouble of air-lifting the remains out of this wilderness, then why leave the wings behind?

These days, all of the wreckage is removed from the wilderness if a plane crashes.  Anything that had crashed prior to the 1980’s was left behind.  A lot of planes have crashed here due to the tall mountains and the strong downdrafts on the east side of the Divide that occur in winter. In every case, it was ultimately pilot error.

For the next 3 hours I continued down the valley, mostly trying to find a suitable route.  The valley is full of small lakes, ponds, marshes and granite cliffs.  As I mentioned, I have never hiked in this valley before and I wasn’t entirely sure there was a passable route down.  The trail I had hiked up runs up beside the valley and the backup plan was to take that down if I couldn’t find a way.

After having to double back up the valley a few times due to a long cliff I couldn’t get down, I finally found some soft soil with a bunch of deer and elk footprints imprinted in it, which hinted at the route to take.  Once I was down through the steepest area, I stopped beside the creek and put my hand in it.

 

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The ice cold effervescent water was as clear as glass.  Although it’s much further downstream, this is the same creek that supplies my town with it’s water.  And knowing the source of this water is up in the wilderness, makes me happy.

 
 
 
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