Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence
Well, we are back at Arches National Park for our second visit, a 5 hour visit, in which we will take 2 short walks, I will shoot almost 370 photos and we will be exhausted and overwhelmed (again) with the delight, the views, the WOW factor! Let's start with the drive in, starting at the Visitors Center, stopping at the pulloffs and special viewpoints.
We have barely begun our drive into the park when we pull off to read signage. We learn we are pretty much living on the Moab Fault our entire stay in the area. This is our first trip out west, and OK, I'll admit it, it is a bit unnerving for a few moments to realize you are in earthquake country, standing on fault lines. We will have that uneasy feeling a few more times (if we allow ourselves to think about it, or signage flaunts it at us! LOL) during THE Trip, especially at Yellowstone. But, once I take this photo, we try to forget that little fault line thingy and venture forth to see what Arches has to offer.
Below, the Moab Fault line, which pretty much runs just about where the road runs. That is the entrance to the park and the Visitors Center off to the right of the road.
Below: Once in the park one of the first viewpoints is at Park Avenue. I'm not much of a shopper, but, I could shop here for hours and hours!
I quickly turn Sony loose with the zoom feature, I can't get close physically, but, I wanna see.
Below: Looks like someone gave that stone a shove, doesn't it??
Below: Now, HOW did they do this? Looks off center, tis larger on the top, (see that line/crack ?), tall and you know it is H*E*A*V*Y, and yet, it stands there, balanced just SO!
Next stop, according to signage: Tower of Babel on the left, The Organ on the right. If you go to the map of the park, it does not look as if they are right beside each other. I suppose this is an optical illusion due to where we stopped to take the photo.
Below: Meet the Three Gossips.
This next structure is called Sheep Rock and could have been formed as an arch fell. They believe that The Sheep was connected to another structure far to the left with an arch, now fallen. The drawings indicated the arch connected right about where the sheep's nose is now. You see it right?? I did, kinda fast, once I saw the name. (I was delighted as I can even see the eye on the sheep!)
Below, this area is known as the Ancient Sand Dunes. The signage nearby explains that about 200 million years ago winds from the northwest carried in tons of fine sand. This sand over time formed dunes and drifts, which were eventually covered by other layers of sediment and cemented by quartz and calcite. Next step, erosion, which left the "petrified" dunes as we see them today.
As we drive further into the park, we get our first glimpse of the Double Arch. (Sony was really zoomed on this one, taken from a rolling Big Butt, focus is a tad bit off.) I'll be bringing you an entire post on the Double Arch area later.
Below, another shot of the Double Arch, from a different vantage point, still a LONG way off.
Below: This is a close up of the structure to the far left you can see in the photo above. I don't know the name. It may have a name, but, I don't need to know it to appreciate the forces that formed it and left it magnificent. Another wonderful example of strata of rock, and the affects of Mother Nature and her brats, carving out spectacular shapes.
Soon I'll bring you Balanced Rock. I think you might find it interesting.