Southwestern US

Goblins and goblettes – Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

We pulled into the mostly empty parking lot around 8:30am and stepped out into the chilly November air to take in the view. On the way to the overlook, we stopped to read a sign. “Like nowhere else,” it read. I looked up at the bizarre landscape in front of me. Back down at the… Continue reading Goblins and goblettes – Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Southwestern US, US National Parks

The Waterpocket Fold – Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (part II)

As I mentioned briefly last week, Capitol Reef gets the ‘reef’ part of its name from the fact that, from a distance, the towering line of colorful cliffs appears to be an impenetrable barrier. This 100-mile (160 km) long wrinkle in the Earth’s crust is called the Waterpocket Fold. Sometime between 50-70 million years ago,… Continue reading The Waterpocket Fold – Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (part II)

Southwestern US, US National Parks

Among the hoodoos – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part II)

Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is not a canyon. It’s a sequence of amphitheaters located on the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. This name was given to the plateau by the Southern Paiute people, who lived in and around Bryce Canyon for hundreds of years. The word hoodoo is also derived from the Southern Paiute… Continue reading Among the hoodoos – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part II)

Southwestern US, US National Parks

“It’s a helluva place to lose a cow” – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part I)

Thank you to Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea documentary series for this gem of a quote. If you haven’t watched this series, I highly recommend it. We really enjoyed it! The quote is attributed to Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer who homesteaded near Bryce Canyon in the 1860s and began taking visitors… Continue reading “It’s a helluva place to lose a cow” – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part I)

Montana

Montana road trip, part VI: acoustic geology at Ringing Rocks

The final stop on our six-day Montana road trip was quite possibly the most bizarre place I’ve ever been in my life: Ringing Rocks. Which is – as the name suggests – a collection of rocks that ring… when hit with a hammer, that is. It’s not entirely clear why this happens. Geologists think it has something to do with the composition of the boulders and the way they are all piled up together. If you remove a rock from the pile, it will no longer ring.

Southwestern US, US National Parks

Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

After spending the other days of our long weekend exploring Dinosaur National Monument from above, a guided whitewater rafting expedition now afforded us the chance to see the Utah side of the monument from below. Our one-day trip took us along 9 miles (14.5 km) of the Green River through Split Mountain Canyon. The geology… Continue reading Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, Colorado Hikes, Southwestern US, US National Parks

Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

By far, most people who visit Dinosaur go to the Utah half of the monument. It’s the side with the dinosaur bones for which the monument is most famous. It’s also the more accessible part of the monument, with developed campgrounds and easy river access. However… what the Colorado half lacks in dinosaur fossils, it… Continue reading Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

Colorado, US National Parks

The Land of Prehistoric History – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

(Gold star to anyone who can figure out the random inspiration for the title of this post. Hint: it came from the TV show I was bingeing at the time I sat down to write this.) If you’ve ever heard of Dinosaur National Monument, you probably specifically heard about the dinosaur quarry… a building that… Continue reading The Land of Prehistoric History – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Midwestern US, US National Parks

Landmark on the Oregon Trail – Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Back in May, Chelsea and I headed to the Dakotas for a long weekend to do some highpointing. Since we were driving all the way up there, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to detour through Nebraska along the way and visit some national monuments in the western part of the state. Our… Continue reading Landmark on the Oregon Trail – Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Colorado, Colorado Hikes

Colorado Day Hikes: Chair Rocks

Have you ever walked along a trail mere minutes before a car went flying off the road and landed on said trail, right where you’d just walked? No? Me neither…  until December 2020. My friend Savannah and I set out early one Saturday morning, the landscape beautifully dusted with snow from an overnight storm. The… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Chair Rocks