Saturday, April 25, 2009

Names in Stone--The Pioneer Register

Traveling to the end of the Scenic Drive into Capitol Reef NP brought us to the Capitol Gorge.

There a one-mile gravel road led us into a narrow gorge with steep, towering walls. Because of the frequent stops, it took us most of the morning to cover the one mile drive and another mile hike.

One of the intrepid Wanderers is shown above walking along this road.

This one wall caught our attention. I believe the cavities are called "potholes" and are caused by differential rates of erosion. We hadn't seen cavities of this enormous size at any other point in the Park.

This photo and the one below are close-up views of the cavities in the stone wall shown above. Photographed up close, the holes appeared very different from stone. The swirls in the stone caused by erosion look very similar to the grain in wood.

Fortunately, there was no traffic during our time of photographing these effects of water and wind. They deserve a more artistic name rather than "potholes."

We have some bowls (left) made from the burls of trees by Robert Woods of Bear River, Nova Scotia that looked very similar to the cavaties in the wall of stone.

We became quite fascinated with these formations in the wall of stone.

At the end of the gravel road, a one-mile trail began. This trail followed the dry stream bed, which ranged from 10 feet to 50 feet wide. Signs alerting hikers to the risk of being in the stream bed during a thunderstorm were posted at several points in the Park.

The trail merged with the stream bed within a short distance. It was hard to believe that this stream bed was the only road through the Waterpocket Fold portion of the Park until 1962.

It was along this road that turn-of-the-century travelers recorded their names on the canyon walls. Extending for a distance of about 75 yards, the wall must have a couple hundred names carved on it.

The names "C F Brownlee, Oct 17 96" (above) and "M Larson Nov 20 1888" (left) were just two of the many names carved into the wall, announcing the passage of these travelers.

When we returned from the Pioneer Register, we saw this artist in the parking lot just beginning to pack up his paints and canvas. Judging from the canvas, he seemed to be in the early stage of putting his impression on the surface.

As we headed north on the Scenic Drive toward the Visitor Center, we passed this imposing formation. Called The Egyptian Temple, the formation did indeed appear to be a temple.

This seemed to be a fitting last impression of this Drive.

1 comment:

Killer said...

Disclaimer - I'm not a geologist. I think that 'potholes' are typically in horizontal surfaces, the holes in the walls are called Tafoni and are caused by spot dissolution of the rock. Basically a spot on the surface is eroded for some reason and the hole grows out from that in the underlying rock. You may have noticed that many of the holes have small rocks in them - that's due to a phenomenon called Wayne County Basketball 8-)