Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bryce Canyon - Still Magnificent

After Capitol Reef NP, we headed over here to Bryce Canyon NP. We'd been here before, in October of 2011, but knew we had to see it again.

Rather than bore you all over again with the details....Bryce is so unique, the photos tell the story themselves. Oh, these spires are called Hoo-Doos. For all of you geology buffs...we've put the explanation of their formation at the very bottom.

This is the highest viewpoint in the park. We were gasping for air!

Early one day, I took off on the Queen's Gate hike down to the bottom of the valley to be among the Hoo-Doos. These are from the bottom looking up.

So many contrails daily shooting across the sky. I remember so well looking out the window wondering, "What's down there?" ...and now we're "there". What a hoot.

Taken with my HTC 8X Windows phone. 

One of our days, we went on this Mossy Cave hike....somewhat easy...about 200 feet elevation gain but there was a great waterfall at the end.

While Kim took a breather, I climbed up and above the waterfall and posed for her.

In the 1890s, the settlers dug this channel to get water out of the mountains down to Tropic valley where they had crops. 14 miles long! Took them 2 years.

Kim's Sherpa getting water to put on our face and arms for cooling.

Shhhhhh.....The Master Photographer caught in action!

The view from underneath the waterfall.

Bryce is unlike any other place you've visited. It should be on your Must-See list.

Kim and Steve

Formational Process:
Hoodoos are formed by two weathering processes that continuously work together in eroding the edges of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The primary weathering force at Bryce Canyon is frost wedging. Here we experience over 200 freeze/thaw cycles each year. In the winter, melting snow, in the form of water, seeps into the cracks and freezes at night. When water freezes it expands by almost 10%, bit by bit prying open cracks, making them ever wider in the same way a pothole forms in a paved road.
Four step formation process (Plateau-Fin-Window-Hoodoo)
In addition to frost wedging, what little rain we get here also sculpts the hoodoos. Even the crystal clear air of Bryce Canyon creates slightly acidic rainwater. This weak carbonic acid can slowly dissolve limestone grain by grain. It is this process that rounds the edges of hoodoos and gives them their lumpy and bulging profiles. Where internal mudstone and siltstone layers interrupt the limestone, you can expect the rock to be more resistant to the chemical weathering because of the comparative lack of limestone. Many of the more durable hoodoos are capped with a special kind of magnesium-rich limestone called dolomite. Dolomite, being fortified by the mineral magnesium, dissolves at a much slower rate, and consequently protects the weaker limestone underneath it in the same way a construction worker is protected by his/her hardhat.
Rain is also the chief source of erosion (the actual removal of the debris). In the summer, monsoon type rainstorms travel through the Bryce Canyon region bringing short duration high intensity rain.



1 comment:

  1. Great photos, glad you got to visit Bryce. Hope you missed out on that horrible wind storm the other night.

    Aerial Photos of Bryce Canyon