Sometimes I do not listen to Mr. Flower and it gets me in trouble.
As we were enjoying the views of Canyonlands from Island in the Sky visitors’ center , he pointed out a narrow road snaking down into the canyon. “Look at that car going down through there.” he would say as he pointed out a tiny moving speck.
I had paused and wondered, “What’s up with that road?” It never occurred to me there was a plan involved.
I knew I was in trouble when he mounted the Go-pro camera on the dash of the truck.
Yes, folks. There is a video. I am thankful that most of my comments and squealing are not audible.
The road less traveled is Shafer Trail Road.
It zigzags perilously close to open canyon.
It was a thrilling trip down.
It was an adventure. I did get to see the Bighorn Sheep. I did get to see canyon rocks up-close.
I did get to see the Potash pits up close and take photos of potash crystals. (Future post)
I did learn to listen to Mr. Flower’s casual comments…once in a while.
It is a big deal to spot Bighorn Sheep.
They are shy and stay away from frequently trafficked areas.
Mr. Flower decided to take the road less traveled.
As we were descending deep into the canyons of Canyonland,
I spied sheep silhouettes along the rim.
I was lucky to get these shots before they climbed out of view.
I was thrilled to see this set of four almost among the clouds.
Next comes “The Road Less Traveled.” You don’t want to miss this one.
One of the jaw-dropping moments of the trip in Utah was looking up on a tall rock formation
and noticing a colorful speck moving up its surface.
It gave a new sense of scale to the towers.
I am sure it is a thrill to reach the top after a long climb.
Moab was full of folks doing amazing things.
I was inspired to keep moving…
Mr. Flower wanted me to say that it was he on top of that pillar.
He did climb up into an arch to be photographed.
I sunned on a boulder below, while waiting for him to find his way back down.
I may be “Everybody’s Mama”, but I am not his mama. Ha!
It’s time to turn our attention from the rocks of Utah to the plants.
I have great respect for desert plants.
They must be thrifty with water and growth.
There are no big showy leaves.
They must be frugal with their surface area.
They cannot get exposed to too much sun or lose too much water through evaporation.
So the plants in the desert must be conservative to survive.
They stay low and small.
Here’s a sampling.
Cliffrose (Click on photos in masaics to enlarge images and to read signs )
Four Wing Saltbush
Claret Cup Cactus
I was happy to find all these plants with markers At the Island in the Sky visitor’s center in Cayonlands. The rest of the trip I took photos of unknown plants while saying, “Wonder what this is? I’ll have to look it up later.”
For anyone wondering if I purloined seeds this trip, the answer is “NO.”
I have too many needy, green babies as it is. I do not need to propagate a whole new crop from another climate. (See post next week.)
Flower on the GO
I understand why hoodoos are believed to be spirit people.
There are stories in the stones in Utah.
The stories change as the sun moves across the sky.
Light and shadows add to the details to form faces.
The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon
and towers and pinnacles in Arches National Park defy gravity.
Balanced Rock looked as though it could topple any second.
Some formations have names like the Three Gossips, Tower of Babel, Courthouse and The Organ.
Mr. Flower and I made up names for the many we noticed.
It was our “Game of Stones.”
Flow on the Go
Arches National Park is where my brain went into overload.
It was as though gravity had different rules out in the desert.
Erosion removes rock layers below and leaves arches hanging in the sky.
I even stood under some of these to get shots of them from below.
It’s like a magic trick.
The most dramatic ones have names like Delicate, Pothole and Tapestry.
Each has its own character.
We visited our favorite on our last day at Moab.
We spent a lot of time just hanging out under Double Arch.
It seemed like trick rings made from rock instead of metal.
Moab was mind boggling in many ways.
Stay tuned for more.
Flow on the Go.
We took hundreds of photographs in Utah.
I was afraid to put down my camera for fear of missing something.
Here is the perfect example.
As we pulled into the parking for Turret Arch,
our attention was taken away from the arches by a site in the parking lot.
Behind a truck on a trailer was on old house trailer from 1959.
I immediately thought of the Lucille Ball movie The Long, Long Trailer.
The owners came up as we were taking pictures.
They had a restoration company and were hauling it home to fix it up.
They let us take a peak inside.
It was like looking into a time capsule,
complete with original appliances.
If you find this treasure irresistible,
contact American Travelers Restoration.
Brooke & Brian are in Hemet, California.
Flow on the Go
I was in awe of the powers of wind and water this whole trip.
Looking over the rim of Bryce Canyon was like looking into another world.
The different areas are called amphitheaters.
The formations have names like chimneys and hoodoos.
Utah was formerly a desert (erg) on the equator.
I have had to go back and brush up on my geology.
The fractured layers of sandstone, limestone and mudstone are differentially eroded.
This leads to the hoodoo formation.
These processes continue today with freeze thaw cycles, rainwater and wind erosion.
Another beautiful example of nature’s art.
Our first stop in Utah was Zion National Park.
This area was originally named Makuntuweap (strait canyon) by the southern Paiute peoples.
The canyons here were formed by the Virgin River cutting into red and white sandstone for millions of years.
The canyon was cool as we strolled through, due to the shade from the tall walls and evaporation from the river.
There were even pockets of Maidenhair ferns around weeps in the walls in this desert oasis.
Photos will not do it justice.
My great thrill while there was seeing a rare California Condor in the wild. It was nesting with one chick.
As a biologist, I never thought I would get to see one due to their low numbers.
Stay tuned. There is much more in store from Utah.