Utah Travel Diary - p 1 of 1

14 June 2013

It is possible to travel back in time.  Back to a place eons in the making, where change is slow if at all.  Where empty roads wander through wastelands and time itself seems irrelevant.  The place is Utah.



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Our restaurant near Bryce Canyon, neat and homey, is lost in a time warp.   Both patrons and staff are, one and all, cheerful Caucasians.  As we dine on bacon and eggs, cooked to perfection, we hear on the radio Hank Williams and Tammy Wynette, country singers who've been gone for a long time everywhere except here.  Our smiling waitress hurries to refill our coffee cup each time we take a sip.

But one comes to Bryce to see what nature has done with red sandstone and limestone and dolomite.  The canyons are cities of stone, complete with palaces and grottos that sit silently as a million years go by.





Limestone Rocks
Bristlecone-pine.jpg (521498 bytes) Even the vegetation here seems indifferent to time.  Consider the bristlecone pine, Pinus longaeva, one of whom is known to be 5062 years old.  They are, of course, quite at home in Utah.




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Bryce Canyon, according to geologists, was once the coast of a shallow sea, with pterosaurs flying about.  Over the past 70 million years, it was lifted up to form a high plateau.  Seventy million years of summer rain, seventy milliion winters of and freezing and thawing have eroded away mudstone and sandstone except where covered by deposits of insoluble caprock.   The pterosaurs are long gone.  Now White-throated Swifts and Violet-green Swallows soar above the rock.


Trails-through-hoodoos.jpg (528682 bytes) When we look for pattern and meaning in nature, often we find it.  But not here.  There is neither rhyme nor reason to the the shapes of the hoodoos, dunes, or rock castles.   They were created by random weathering and nothing more.


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