Thursday, June 17, 2010

A busman's holiday...a Geologist on Vacation

We camped for 12 nights, visited 3 National parks, 2 wilderness areas and one fantastic national monument. We hiked about 80 miles and rode bikes for an additional 130 miles using some single track and lots of remote desert jeep tracks. We were also able to enjoy the melt water from an above average snow pack in Central Utah. A few of the canyons we visited sported full on rivers that felt so good in the usual desert heat.

To set the scene.
Riding the trails in Kodachrome State Park. The Entrada sandstone normally erodes in some great shapes, but here, the strange "sand pipes" add an interesting structure. Up close you can see that the sand pipes have a great variety of grain sizes compared to the run-of-the-mill sand stone suggesting a little more water in their formation.
Riding in the Grand Staircase. Entrada cliffs in the foreground. The cliffs Clarion limestone in Bryce Canyon in the back ground.
Wading the Escalante River. Above normal snowpack provided a full river. I used the USGS water level email service to keep me informed of the water levels prior to our visit.
Biology n the foreground and Chinle Fm in the background. The desert was in bloom everywhere we went.
Riding in the circle cliffs. The west side of the waterpocket fold in the background. The roads are made entirely of eroded shale making for a great riding surface in the dry. There was plenty of evidence that people had been caught way out here in the rain just the week before.

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