Fall 2020: Vermilion Cliffs

Preliminary

The term “vermilion cliffs” has too many definitions.  As used here, I refer to the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.  (Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the areas within it known as The Coyote Buttes or The Wave or most of the equally famous Paria Canyon, so you’re getting a subset here.)  I was impressed by the intensity of colors in the rocks.

The first pictures are from Paria Canyon, which is a famous 38-mile backpacking route, generally considered to be one of the premiere backpacking routes in the southwest. I didn’t have a permit for the entire trip, so I hiked the bottom 8 miles. It blew me away. Never have I seen such vibrant colors in a landscape (unless it would be Bryce Canyon). The photos below don’t quite show all of the brilliance, but you’ll get the idea.

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Sometimes, the the green vegetation seems to both clash with the rocks and enhance them.
An especially colorful stretch
An especially colorful stretch

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Can you spot the natives?
Can you spot the natives?

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Yes, it really looked like this.
Yes, it really looked like this.
After all that excitement, a quiet view with a wandering river can be relaxing
After all that excitement, a quiet view with a wandering river can be relaxing
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The light could catch the trees and set them on fire, but it was very hard to create a good photo of them. This might be my best attempt. Sorry if you don’t like it. You can apply for a full refund at the office.
Conical sandstone formations
Conical sandstone formations
The vertical walls of the slot canyon known as Buckskin Gulch
The vertical walls of the slot canyon known as Buckskin Gulch
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How did that long get there? When you figure out the answer, you’ll be afraid to go there. Hint: It’s about 15 feet above the canyon floor.
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How can rock be “flowing” so irregularly? And surely we’re not supposed to go through that crack, are we?