On the second day of our photo expedition we traveled from Green River, UT, to Torrey, UT, near Capitol Reef National Park. Along the way we stopped to photograph some fascinating geological features.
First stop was Goblin Valley State Park, north of Hanksville, UT. The park encompasses about 3,600 acres of small to medium-sized hoodoos in a dry lake-like depression.
The hoodoos are made of weathered Entrada sandstone which was deposited during the Jurassic period about 170 million years ago. Erosion by wind and water have carved the sandstone into fantastic shapes.
I have previously posted about Goblin Valley in this blog. Click here to see that earlier post.
After Goblin Valley we headed west on Utah highway 24. Along the way we stopped at the Factory Butte Recreation Area. At first glance, the most prominent feature on the landscape is Factory Butte itself:
Just down the road, however, is an area managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) specifically for the use of off-road vehicles such as ATVs and motorbikes. If you are a rider, it's clearly a great place -- filled with hills and steep slopes. But the hills are made of Mancos shale, a very fragile surface that crumbles at the touch of a hand . . .
. . . and is literally destroyed by the motorized vehicles.
Heading west on UT 24 toward Capitol Reef, we passed lots of interesting and, to me, beautiful formations:
We arrived at the "front door" of Capitol Reef National Park in the early afternoon.
Capitol Reef seems like an odd name for a park located in south central Utah, especially since it is nowhere near a "capitol" nor an ocean where a "reef" might be. The name comes from two sources:
1. Geological formations of Navajo sandstone that, to the early settlers, looked like the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
2. The "reef" part comes from a nearly 100-mile long warp in the earth's crust -- a classic monocline -- that runs north-south and forms the backbone of the park. To settlers coming from the east it posed the same bar to travel that a reef would in the sea. Here's a view of a small segment of the fold:
Along the entire length of the fold there are only a few places where wagons (or, today, cars and trucks) could get through. I'll share photos from our exploration of the fold in the post for Day 4.
In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the geology of Capitol Reef NP, click here.
If you would like to see these images in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.