Monday, April 18, 2011

Rattlesnake Arches, the quick version.

Yes, another quick post.  Two of the tests from last week got pushed to today, then I have one more tomorrow.  Also, I found out that my final speech is to be presented on Thursday, so you get a post with lots of pretty pictures this week, then more on the Geology next week.

Yesterday, PBF, some friends and I headed out to hike the Rattlesnake Canyon trail.  I cannot stress how beautiful it is.  It has one of the larges collection of natural arches outside of Arches National Park in Utah. We took a 4x4 road to get to the upper trailhead instead of hiking in from the bottom of the canyon, and for the views, it was worth it (despite the climb back up the cliffs).

On a side note, I figured all the running I've been doing since moving here would get me in shape for hikes like this, but from the feel of my calves today, I need to hit up the stair machine a little more instead.

A veiw looking back from the upper road.
 You can faintly see Mt. Garfield (left) and  Grand Mesa(center-right)  in the background

The first great view of Rattlesnake Canyon from the 4x4 road.
It is hard to miss this on your way to the trailhead.
The first view from the upper trail.
This is from the backside of Rattlesnake Canyon, looking out northwest into Utah and  the Colorado River Valley.

The white layer in the middle is leaching out salts.
 (I know because I licked it. Geology involves all of the senses.)

Two of the three arches you first come upon.
I couldn't get back far enough to get all three without falling off the cliff behind me.

One of the most well defined arches.
There is an overlook trail that comes out on top of the canyon rim next to the top of the arch.
Have to undertake that one next time.

A formation below the trail we were on.  PBF named it the Railroad  Spike.
You can see the faint trace of an even lower trail in the canyon below.

On the drive back to Grand Junction.
View of the Colorado Plateau from the 4x4 road.
 The pictures don't do the place the justice it deserves, but hopefully you get an idea of the beauty.   Next week, observed sedimentary structures!

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