They call it a "Mystery in Stone", I call it a hard day of hiking in the heat! It was the hottest day of the year I was told by the Ranger, hottest so far right? as the year still has much more to go! I don’t know what I was thinking when we decided to spend the day at the Park as I forgot my backpack and that in itself makes it almost impossible to carry water, a bit of food, the camera and Spirit’s spring loaded leash which luckily goes in my pocket. No full hat either, only a cap for the sun to beat on my neck, no belt to rig my water bottles around my waist and a harsh sun making it almost impossible to take some good pictures throughout the day. Nice scenario! What was I thinking?
The main paved road going to the campground is only two miles long and hiking is a must to truly experience the Park. There is a little store, cabins and horse rentals also at the start of the "Grand Parade Trail", one of many. The whole outfit is actually for sale as I chatted a bit with the owner who has been there for 22 years. Not much offered, a few cans of food and a few drinks in the see through coolers, business is slow, not much inventory. Nice spring water outside from a faucet by the parking lot and somehow with the help of a waist bag that I always carry, I managed to hang a couple bottle of water for the hike. Realized then that I also forgot Spirit’s water bowl… will use my cap then for him to drink out of it! Will freshen up my head when I put it back on, a dual purpose solution, I thought things did not look so bad after all.
Did I say it was "hot"? It was hotter once we started to hike the "Grand Parade Trail", 1.7 miles, as the air was now stagnant and the temperature went up about 10 degrees and fairly quickly realized that Spirit was not going to do very well, specially on that hot sand as he was going from shadow to shadow. I tried boots on him at one time, it turned out to be a hilarious show if you can just picture him imitating a ballerina! They never stayed on either, it was a short span of hope and actually cannot even find them.
We truly took it slow, almost playing a hide and seek game with the shadows as the sun was not yet up at high noon which by then would make it almost impossible to find some shade. I keep thinking we both need more exercise than what we have been getting, Spirit himself is not in the shape he should be, it is hard with this weather, it really only leaves fall and spring to truly get in shape as the winter flab also grows on us! Excuses and more excuses. Using my cap as a water bowl actually worked great!… and the scenery, well, amazing and intriguing to say the least, dramatic also is a good word to describe the surroundings.
We found some very short slot Canyons to rest in, cool inside and almost wished that I had brought a book so we could just hide for the rest of the day. Of course we made it back, both relieved, somehow we did not get into the hike as we normally would and decided this would not be a repeat experience, not with this weather. I did not notice this picture below till I started going through them upon our return, I see a man with kind of a sailor’s hat with one knee on the ground facing right… yes? I can even see his right arm, hand and right eye. You have to stare at it!
A bit further up the road was the Nature trail, no sand on that one as it has a paved walkway for .7 miles. Very nicely done. Spirit stayed in the sidecar, in the shade and the cover on with a bowl we finally borrowed from the store.
It is a walk as through a history book, as the exposed formations range from the middle Jurassic period, 180 million years ago, to the upper Cretaceous period, 95 million years ago. The Geologist are actually unsure about how the pipes which are also known as "sedimentary pipes", have actually began to form. There are about 67 of those pipes that have been mapped within the Park and adjacent area.
I have read two theories about the come about of those pipes. One, as injections of liquefied sand, triggered by earthquakes or as the remnants of ancient springs. There are many evidences in the layers of rock indicating that the Kodachrome Basin area has been influenced by great seismic events throughout much of its geologic history. Those earthquakes may have provided the forces necessary to cause coarse, water saturated sediments to scour pathways through the overlying formations.
These pathways became filled with the coarse sediment and were eventually re-cemented to become harder than the surrounding rock layers. Through time, the erosion has stripped away the soft layers revealing the pipes. That is one theory… Another popular theory is that the pipes were ancient springs that became choked with sediments and were re-cemented to form a more erosion resistant sedimentary rock type. Either way, they are imposing figures throughout the Park, figures I could not help staring and just imagining the time it has taken to be presented as such.
The clouds finally started forming, as they now do everyday including also much rain, and the temperatures finally dropped. We both just laid under a big tree and had my lunch which I had brought with me, "our" lunch since that "look" makes me share it for sure! Amazing how eyes can talk and get right into the "guilt" area of not sharing. We met a couple from Germany and chatted quite a bit as they were also doing some hiking with a camera and a tripod. We then on rode to the Shakespeare Arch trail where another "pipe" was standing, this time all alone and a giant one as maybe you can tell from the rig parked right next to it.
We stayed there a long time with more shade found. It is away from the Park with by then a nice breeze blowing, no rush as sunset was still a few hours away. Here is another shot.
I am going through all my pictures right now, finally! Here is the complete Gallery of the two Antelope Slot Canyons, the best way is to set it up on the slide show which you can even control the speed. Here is one of Spirit I am working on… one of Sunsets and Sunrises… This is the main Gallery. Monumental task in progress, Smug Mug makes it so easy to move things around and feel free to order any pictures you would like to have. From a 4×6 all the way to large canvas mounted, mugs, magnets, stickers… you name it! I am actually switching very soon the T Shirt orders also directly to them. I will probably have a sale (!!!) on my own stock for the sizes I have here in inventory.
Smug Mug has been supporting us since we have left, it is taken me this long to finally realize how much they offer in their ways of storage, display and merchandise. Back to the Park! Then came the moments for the reason of its name… Kodachrome. The sun setting down slowly transforms the colors with almost fluorescent hues, it does not last too long as either the faces get lost in the shadows or quickly the colors loose themselves into the darkness of the night coming up.
Despite its shaky start, we end up having a great day, a comfortable one as that is what determines its outcome. Being uncomfortable, either too cold or too hot just does not do it, for us anyhow, taking away the pleasure of being one with our surrounding. Hope you get to visit the Park yourselves also sometime soon… it is definitely a worth while experience.
What a great location for a little summer cabin!
As always, you be well…
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Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples, Fl 34108
Ara & Spirit