. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Red Rock State Park

This morning we went to Red Rock State Park to hike. The park is a nature preserve and environmental education center that has trails winding throughout it. We took a 2 mile loop trail called "Eagle's Nest Trail" that took us along Oak Creek, up about 200 feet to an overlook, and back down. Although we started off among the riparian vegetation, enjoying the coolness of the shade, we quickly heated up as we climbed up out of the creek floor.

Along the creek were willows, cottonwoods, and sycamores, and we saw some blackberry bushes with fruit not quite ripe yet. A couple of striped lizards skittered away from us as we passed them and we heard cicadas as we walked. Once we climbed up out of the forest, we encountered chapparal (it's that stinky stuff Youngest Son doesn't like), shrub oaks, pinon, juniper, and prickly pears.

We were walking in the Hermit Formation, older than the Schnebly Hill Formation from yesterday's hike. The Hermit Formation is a siltstone formed on an ocean floor some 280 million years ago. Hematite (iron oxide) colors the rock red here too.

At the top of the hill was a great overlook. We could see the greater Sedona area with Cathedral Rock in the distance (photo, right). We didn't stay too long at the top because of the heat and were glad to walk downhill back to the visitor's center where we got drinks and candy to reward us for our efforts. Next hike had better be in the cool forest or must begin at 8 am!

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