There are a lot of strange landscapes on the Colorado Plateau and otherworldly scenes. Some are famous enough as to not surprise first time visitors, such as the spires and hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. But others are hidden, strung along gravel roads far off the beaten track. Seeing them for the first time comes as a shock. These rocks just aren't "normal".
Our journey on this day would take us from Glen Canyon Dam to Bryce Canyon National Park via Cottonwood Wash Road, a gravel track that runs for thirty miles along the East Kaibab Monocline, known here as the Cockscomb.
|Part of the Cockscomb (East Kaibab Monocline) courtesy of Google Earth|
Pareidolia is the tendency of humans to build patterns out of randomness, seeing things that aren't really there: faces in clouds, and human or animal figures in rocks. Who does the rock below bring to mind?
The final rock in our little mini-tour of the Grand Staircase is Grosvenor Arch, which is really two arches, and which once was called Butler Arch until people on an expedition with the National Geographical Society decided to name it after their boss. They apparently had more pull with the Board of Geographic Names. It's not part of the monocline, but is instead at the boundary between two layers of different erosional resistance. The upper rock is a conglomerate equivalent to the early Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, while the lower layer is the Henrieville Sandstone of Jurassic age. The largest opening is 152 feet high and 100 feet wide.
Lastly I have pictures of flowers. Despite the ongoing drought, there were some beautiful wildflowers blooming in one of the side canyons we explored. There were Evening Primroses...
...and some beautiful Sego Lilies, the state flower of Utah.