Friday, June 9, 2017

Petroglyphs and Mountains

That's what the San Rafael is all about.  Every day we passed through and around the reef, canyon, valley and the effects of the San Rafael Anticline.  And everytime I see it I thought, what did the early settlers think?....what did the early explorers think? were they going to get past this?...what was this?...were they meant to get past it?   I think of the courage, determination and perserverance of those early settlers.

This shows the uplift and how it really looks.  As an early settler with a string of wagons, how in the world would a person every traverse this?  It looks insurmountable.

Petroglyphs are the other feature of this area.  It's easy to understand as the area can be so mysterious, no wonder former civilizations and people would think of post thier signs or their words so no one cold forget them.  You can click this photo to see it larger. 

Sometimes it gets a little boring to post what seems like the same photos over and over, but it really is a magical and mysterious part of the country.  And if you love geology, it's a great place to visit.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

More Geology

You would think I was a regular rock hound, but to tell you the truth, dirt is dirt or rather according to Walt it's not dirt it's SOIL!!!  But the truth is that this dirt, errr, that's soil, is actually fascinating.  You can't help but imagine how the early settlers reacted and transversed this part of the country.  There are all sorts of interesting tales.  That and taking into consideration how mysterious and other-worldly this landscape, it makes it very fascinating.

This morning we trekked out on I-70 west out of Green River.  This interstate cuts right through the San Rafael Swell, which includes the San Rafael Desert, San Rafael Reef and the Saan Rafael Swell.  So if there's a route you're taking east, take I-70 at least through Utah...if you're planning a trip west, take the route that's the best....Route 66!!!!

OK - to the photos
 This is Walt's high-performance wide-angle.  He'll give you all the details if you ask, but it's made for these sorts of shots.  This is THE shot on I-70 going east toward Green River.  What makes this so special is that if you miss it, it's an hour turnaround to get the shot again (30 minutes to find a turnaround and then 30 minutes back to this place).  And who would want to. It's super spectacular.
Part of what makes this shot so fabulous is that it's up close and personal view of the uplift or anticline (as the geologists like to say), of the many layers of the earth's crust to cause these beautiful colors.

This is the reef part of the uplift (to see how this is formed click on this photo from the blog the other day.)  The reason it's called a reef is because the early settlers were so stonewalled as to how to cross this, that it reminded them of how treacherous ocean reefs were.  Pretty good description.  Course today we settlers just cut right through it and build an interstate!

This is the other side in the afternoon light.  It really does look reefy and really, REALLY difficult to navigate with a prarie schooner!

I think in another life Walt was Christopher Columbus, or Major Seth Adams (you know Ward Bond in Wagon Train) or Jim Bridger or something cause we always love taking the road less traveled, or so we think.

We veered off I-70 pretty fast after we traveled through the reef part of the swell, and trekked up north - just cause!!!

The first thing we noticed was the San Rafeal River.  Like most rivers through very arid climates, this has a beautiful riparian environment.  The San Rafael isn't all that big, but it is vital. This is the only swining bridge in Utah an historic bridge which does wobble when you walk across it, therefore I had no desire whatsoever to participate in that. 

Here's Walt great lens on the river's edge.

Traveling further up we find some family photos - from long ago!!!  I actually like this one and thought it would make an interesting print on a fabric. 

So then I thought "Wedge Overlook" sounded like fun, so we decided to trek over there, after a few jaunts down some paths that were very loosely labeled "roads"! 

There was sure an overlook here, and for something who's not excited about being on cliff type environs, I was hugging the car door to make sure the car didn't tip over the side.  Walt, was out with his trust lens in no time flat!  Of course a beautiful picture came of it.  This is the Grand Canyon of the San Rafael Swell.  Looks pretty grand-canyon-ish!

I preoccupied myself with flowers!  The desert blooms are really spectacular no matter how big....
or small.

Further down, more beautiful landscape which at some point we have to wonder if it all begins to look the same to everyone but us.  These views are so majestic, that it's hard to say they are special.  but they are.

 This is a great view of the San Rafael River valley, probably a view into the beginnings of the canyon from closer to the flor.  This is my contribution to the canyon photography, not from the top cliff!
Our internet hook up is very slooooow tonite, so I will post a few videos when it gets a good night's sleep and is faster tomorrow!

Slont Canyons

So we've loved slot canyons ever since we did our first one in southern Utah in the Grand Staircase Escalante area.  Mostly these were in the Vermillion Cliffs, but if we went further north we got into the White Cliffs, and although the canyons had interesting construction and formations, the color simply wasn't there. 

 So when local people told us to come to the San Rafeal swell, which is north of Bryce Canyon (Pink Cliffs), I was a little confused how the canyons could be any more beautiful.

Then I started looking at the formation here, and discovered that there had been an uplift in the layers of the formation of this part of the country. This is easy to see when you see a cross section of the San Rafeal Swell.

 I know - this looks like a bunch of gobbledegook. 

But wait till you see the photos from our first slot canyon visit.   You can REALLY see the uplift in the formation of the walls.  Of course Walt's photos are really beautiful of the canyon.  This one really shows the uplift angle of the whole San Rafeal Swell.

Mine were portrait since I had the zoom on my camera (which weighed a ton, hence the sore buns this morning!!!)

Boulders, rocks and various other impediments are frequently lodged in the canyons caused by the rushing waters through the canyon. 

 Of course Walt and I can not resist catching the other in action photos!

 Yes, we took Bruno with us.  We had a little problem with the A/C and didn't want to come home to a dead dog.  The problem with going through a year of puppiness, is that you grow so immensely close to the dog, you don't want to have to go through that again. We look upon Bruno as a beloved member of the family now and Walt has the dog he's always wanted.  Bruno and Walt are big buds and Walt does so much for the dog - that's a whole other blog for another day.  But here are the dynamic duo on this 6-mile hike.  That sounds like a lot and we ended up having to carry him out of the canyon and he sat down in the shade and that was that.  But Bruno is a trouper.  He wants to run with the pack, even though it's the alpha male, alpha female and he's the alpha dipshit!!!  Running with the pack is what he loves. 

Hope this isn't too boring.  We're headed out today to show more of the topography of this part of the country.  Even though the geology sounds so boring ( and I'm president of that club cause most of the time when someone says geology to me, I start singing Zzzzzzzz's!  But you see it, and it's a whole other exciting experience!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Quoth the Raven "Nevermore!"

....unless of course that is until it's time for feeding the kids and then getting more food and then posing for the tourists, and this flying around looking cool and then...oh yeah....feeding the kids.....and......

So we're up on Rustic Falls doing the waterfall thing when both of us keep hearing squawks coming from the canyon below.  We look all around, it's quiet, then more squawking.  Finally one of those Yellowstone Forever trucks comes up and they pile out and the first thing the leader points to is the waterfalls and then ravens' nest across the canyon.  Well, there it was all along, and there were babies squawking like crazy looking for Mom and Dad....oh sorry.....I meant looking for food!

So this is a brazen little bird - has no probs coming and posing for the tourists, and of course Walt with his gazillion mm lens draws all sorts of attention.  If he's out there taking pictures, it's almost an immediate jam - what's up?...what's that professional taking pictures of?...and the Yellowstone Forever bus has stopped?....must be a bear jam!!!!

As you can clearly see here, Baby Huey is about ready (read:  past due) to leave the nest.

 To make matters worse, Baby Huey switches places in the nest so the parents think they are feeding a different chick or ravenette or whatever you call baby ravens.

 And once again, B. Huey is at it again.  No wonder he's so large!

 So Dad is a ham deluxe.  Probably comes from the tourist gawking while the chicks are squawking.

 I can hear him right now.....Nevermooooooooore!

And it is getting warm, but posing for Walt, he couldn't resist.

Ever the contrarian, I'm looking the other direction, when a storm is blowing in and the shadows are too much for an old art hound like me.  This IS going to be a painting - not sure when, but I have it all figured out in my mind.....all I need now is an afternoon to do this!

And finally, of course, there's a video....with a littel Christopher Lee.  Guess who's going to be the October page for next year's calendar!!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Word of the Day Is Water!

Yellowstone is known for its thermal heat and water.  It's what makes Yellowstone special.  The thermal features are great, but the water is spectacular.  There's supposed to be tons of waterfalls in Yellowstone, and here are some of the best.  The truth is that with the abundance of snowfall this year and the late spring, there are many more waterfalls because there is so much snow melt this year.  For the first time, I wanted to capture some of those falls while they were huge!

This is Wraith Falls, a short hike from our daily jaunt into the Northern Tier of Yellowstone.

The next falls isn't even on the YNP map, but it's beautiful and when you pass by it, it's hard to resist.  I found out its name is Rustic Falls.

One of the big falls is Gibbons Falls from the Gibbons River.  This is a close-up view (this is in the caldera zone so the yellow obviously means there are minerals added to the river from the thermal action in the caldera).

Here is a further view.  It's really big this year.

This is one of the big falls, and again its larger this year because of the snow melt.  The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. 

And the water in Yellowstone is not limited to waterfalls....there are lakes - beautiful lakes - like the large Yellowstone Lake

But it's very cold still, and since the lake is higher than a lot of the other part of the park, ice still lingers on the surface of the lake.

But even the small ponds can be beautiful with the reflection of the mountains that border Lamar Valley

And this is the view of Lamar Valley with the Absaroka Range which is the east end of the valley in the background.

But lakes, ponds, and waterfalls aren't the end of the water.  The Yellowstone River is the main river that runs through the park.  The odd thing for me is that it always seems to be going the wrong's going west.  When you grow up east of the Continental Divide, it's hard to get used to seeing rivers flow west!

This is Walt's gorgeous shot of the river after a storm rolled through.  This is the river our RV backs up to so we hear the rushing river all night long.  Pretty idyllic in my view.

Finally a video cause these are not complete without the volume and the sound of rushing water!