|Shafer trail takes off near Island in the Sky visitor center - La Sal Mountains in distance|
Time gets away from us, though. Life happens. I don’t know what took me so long to return, but I knew that I wanted to reconnect with my old friends once again. I also hoped to hike in Canyonlands, if only for a few hours. With all that in mind, I chose a weekend to invite myself and made it happen.
|Massively vertical cliffs of Wingate Sandstone dominate the Island in the Sky area|
Lee had to work, but Alicia was happy to oblige. She is a patient soul, delighted to show me her side of our state and more than willing to indulge this geology geek’s passion for photographing rocks. We were in absolutely no hurry on this gorgeous early spring day.
|The incised meander of the Green River (upper left) courses through Canyonlands|
Just as the Navajo Sandstone does in Zion National Park, the Wingate Sandstone forms massive vertical cliffs in Canyonlands. Both are eolian, or windblown, sand dune deposits, although the beds of ancient river systems appear to occur within the Wingate.
In the Island in the Sky area of Canyonlands, we hiked across Early Jurassic rocks of the Glen Canyon Group. The Wingate, which does not outcrop in the Zion area, is around 200 million years old, older than the Navajo Sandstone by perhaps 10–15 million years or so. In Canyonlands, the Kayenta Formation is sandwiched thinly between the Wingate and the overlying Navajo Sandstone.
I discovered something this weekend, about the relation between rocks of the same geologic time period that are separated in space by mere hundreds of miles. Seeing the Permian rocks of Canyonlands, a light bulb went on in my brain. I had a Eureka! moment. Another piece of the geologic puzzle fit. I really must not wait another thirteen years before I get over there again. I can’t get enough of the place. Alicia is too good of a tour guide!
|Tour guide extraordinaire!|