Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fantasy Canyon, Utah

Fantasy Canyon is a strange area of eroded gray sandstone about 40 miles from Vernal, Utah.  It covers about 10 acres and has an easy trail.

The entire site is covered with fantastically eroded pillars and gargoyle-like figures.  Early names were the “Devil’s Playground” and “Hades Pit”.

The quartzose rocks of Fantasy Canyon were deposited 38 to 50 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch.  This area was once prehistoric Lake Uinta.

These rocks were on the shore of the lake and different minerals have weathered at different rates, creating the fantastic figures here.

Fantasy Canyon is very fragile.  As old formations erode away, new ones will be formed.

You should be aware that Fantasy Canyon is the territory of pygmy rattlesnakes, although I didn't see any.

Getting there can be tricky.  After driving on good roads for about 35 miles, you turn into a maze of dirt roads in a desert gas field, but the BLM has posted very helpful signs.  We have been told than even a small amount of rain makes these roads impassable, so stay out if clouds are moving in.

As usual, my photos are copyrighted, so please ask for permission before you use them for any purpose.  In most cases, a small fee will be charged.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Moonshine Arch, Utah

Linda and I are visiting her sister, Pat, in Vernal, Utah.  This is wild country near Dinosaur National Monument, and we have explored it several times.  But until now we have never heard of Moonshine Arch.

Getting to the arch was half the fun, and at my age I wasn’t sure I could do it.  I drove about a mile on dirt roads before hiking another mile or so, including about a half mile up a fairly steep, rough ridge, and back down again.  It wouldn’t be a big deal for a younger person, but I was glad to find I could still do it.

The arch is remarkable.  It parallels a huge rock alcove.  Obviously, thousands of years of flash floods have roared downhill, scoured out the alcove in a huge curve, and worn through a wall of rock to form Moonshine Arch.  The arch is about 85 feet long and 40 feet high.

I made the hike in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat, and the light was on the back of the arch, visible from the alcove.  The outside of the arch was in shadow.

If you plan to go, take plenty of water, park outside the fence, and hike the rest of the way.  An ATV or jeep might make it part way, but the ruts and rocks are a real challenge.

Please remember, my photos are copyrighted.  Please contact me if you want to use them.  My fees are reasonable.