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05/19/2006: Day 6: Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point
Map of the North eastern edge of the Colorado Plateau, where we spent the day. Do you notice that this geological feature is mostly in Utah?
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This was a day of wa-ay too many pictures. I thinned down the 300 or so to a manageable list for this blog.
Dead Horse Point was named for its role in helping ranchers herd wild horses, stopping them dead at a bottleneck.
Canyonlands, on the north-eastern corner of the Colorado Plateau, is about as rich in geological beauty as Bryce Canyon.
But, browse the pictures (and read the captions) to see for yourself.
Driving past all this goelogy, I pause to snap desert flowers. It's the end of the spring blooming season.
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Dead Horse Canyon, one of the many meanders of the Colorado River. That improbably blue lake is a potash evaporation pond. This is a state park that, like national forests, has to earn its keep.Potash is one of the constituents of the salt dome that this whole plateau rests on. The salt got there, millions of thin rock layers below the top surface, as ancient seas sat and evaporated in climate cycles when this edge of the North American Plate was still down at sea level.
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View of Dead Horse Point State Park from the deck of the Visitor's Center. Can you see John in the middle of the picture? Hang on, I'll zoom in...
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Here's a nice extended zoom shot from the deck of the Dead Horse Point Visitor's Center. My new camera has an effective optical zoom of 35-550mm (35mm equiv) at 5 Megapixels.It's a nice shot of John enjoying the view.
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A durable sign detailing some of the major distinctive geological layers before us, with brief descriptions of their compositions and probable method of formation.
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Dead Horse Point State Park has a wonderfully architected shed over the main overlook to protect visitors from the strong sun and frequent thunderstorms. We chose to use it for a picnic.
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Obligatory snapshot of a local chipmunk appreciating a piece of lettuce from Jade's sandwich. If I hand't reduced it, this size picture would have just contained his face. I like me new camera.
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This tiny transient occupant of the Fruitopia cup would rather be eating us. You can see by its proboscis that this is, indeed, a biting fly!(Again, I like my new camera)
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Jade tempts fate just like her daughter; always on the brink.
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More desert flowers and some resident pollinators at the edge of the canyon.
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John catches Dan in a moment of private puzzlement. My father would pat his bald pate when thinking, I rub my scalp. Perhaps I'm wondering why I have a St. Louis tee shirt on at 7,000 feet in Utah.Nah.
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It was a cloudy, hazy day. The colors didn't pop much, but the depth is easy to sense. It is hard to take an evocatove picture of a canyon; the reality includes the sound of ditance, the smell of dust, and the sliding layers of distance as you walk along the rim.
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Maybe you noticed the tiny Colorado river down in the canyon in some earlier shots. In this picture, you can see the wake of a large tour boat, and see that this river is comparable in size to the Mississippi near St. Louis.
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I like the patchy light on the textured desert with the white-capped mountains in the background.
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Karen catches Dan on the limestone canyon rim, with some rain falling partway from the sky, and red, gray and white goelogical layers nicely set out as a background.A few drizzles reached us, but it was a typical desert day.
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Turnabout! I heard Karen and Jade coming up behind me, and they stopped. I turned-about to see her about to take my picture. So I took a picture of her taking a picture of me taking...It's been done, but I am easily amused.
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Canyonlands National Park: Approaching Mesa Arch (lower right) with a view of the Irish Washerwoman formation in shadow between the brighter rocks before and behind.
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Snapshot of Karen in front of Mesa Arch
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Karen sits before the abyss.
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Karen does not fear heights; she sits on the overhanging edge of the canyon rim a yard or so behind the overhanging arch.
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Dan strolls comfortably along Canyonland's Mesa Arch, with a few hundred foot drop on either side. That arch is over a foot wide, after all. No worries!
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Karen is fascinated by flowering cacti...
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...like this one
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Karen and Jade look into the crater of the Upheaval Dome so named because 19th century geologists thought it was the result of volcanic upwelling, in spite of the lack of magma. But the 20th century discoveries/proofs of meteor and asteroid impacts, plate tectonics, seismic soundings, and hundreds of other new, provable ideas throws in the more likely theory that this was an impact site. The age of this crater is roughly contemporary with the Chicxulub impact.Yes, that gray hill in the center is salt.
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Jade takes a snap of Karen pensively feeling the depth of the Upwelling Dome crater and its nearby twin (another hint that it is more likely an impact site than an upwelling).
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I just liked this view in the late afternoon.
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Karen turns to lend her Pikes Peak souvenir binoculars to Jade at Canyonlands Grand Viewpoint Overlook. I hope that rail has a good grip on her butt.
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A view from the car of the Grand Viewpoint overlook, showing a Cliff swallow at the left.
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John took this picture of the overlook from near the car. I reduced it some, but left the full-sized inset so you can make out Karen, Dan (Black hat) and Jade.
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Textures in Canyonlands: Dead and living trees, red canyon, white-capped mountains, light and shadow.
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Karen watches John and Dan take pictures, while Jade just drinks in the scenery.
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Karen takes pictures of photographers at the . This one had a REAL camera.
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Karen takes a picture of her shadow, and Jade, John, and myself
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John takes a snapshot of Jade at the Grand Viewpoint Overlook
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I take pictures of shdows of and on rocks.
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A wider view of the rocks that I took in the previous picture.
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Jade plays her indian flute at random times throughout the day.
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The sun is very low. Only the deep red shows on the vertical west-facing canyon walls far below
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Okay, I wouldn't believe this color if I hadn't seen it for myself.Yes, it really glowed this neon red in the last minutes of sunset.
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John tries to catch the last glimmer of red light, as well.
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