We depart the Little Colorado in mid-afternoon of an early May day, continuing on Day Four of our excellent Colorado River rafting adventure. The sky that earlier teased us with a warm patchy blue has turned again to cold gray. The sun is a vague, hazy blob behind the thickening clouds. We huddle beneath blue tarps in a futile attempt to stay warm and dry. The Tapeats Sandstone is about to disappear up, up, and away from the water’s edge.
The flattened, fractured layers of this formation are too captivating to let go so soon, though. With that in mind, here are a few still images and videos to consider for now, until the Tapeats reappears further downstream in a few days. Enjoy!
Motoring through the Tapeats (click on any pic to enlargenate)
The laminated nature of the Tapeats at river level belies its appearance from up on the rim. Up there, the Tapeats give the impression of a massive, coherent ribbon of impenetrable sandstone. Down here, it looks like a huge pastrami sandwich that someone sat on and squished.
You would look like a squished sandwich, too, if you had been covered up by tens of thousands of feet of sediment for hundreds of millions of years.
Tapeats Sandstone at river level
The white material oozing out from the walls of the Tapeats are salt deposits. This is a traditional Hopi salt mine. Since the area is sacred to the Hopi, our rafts are not allowed to stop and investigate.
Hopi salt mines
The salt oozes from within the sandstone layers for quite a distance.
We are always on the lookout for wildlife, particularly bighorn sheep, but do not see any along this stretch of beach.
No sheep here.
A small flotilla of rafts from another party has found its nest for the night. We continue downstream, to our own campsite among the rocks.
Around a few short river bends the scene changes dramatically. We are entering the biggest and the baddest of Grand Canyon sedimentary stratigraphy – the Grand Canyon Supergroup. John Wesley Powell’s Great Unconformity is around here somewhere, too.