. . . 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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky

Shafer Canyon Overlook
Canyonlands National Park near Moab, UT is divided into different districts. The first district that we visited was Island in the Sky. The whole park is an example of the effects of millions of years of erosion on rock layers deposited nearly 300 million years ago. This area of southeast Utah was flooded by tropical oceans, criscrossed by rivers, covered by mudflats, and buried by desert sand. Layer upon layer of sedimentary rock were deposited.

About 15 million years ago the sea level sedimentary layers were flat. Movements in the earth’s crust caused the whole area to rise; today the average elevation is over 5,000 feet above sea level. This uplifted area is part of the Colorado Plateau and has been eroded from the Colorado and Green Rivers that cut into the plateau and formed the 2,000 feet deep canyons seen today.
Mesa Arch

The Island in the Sky mesa rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding land. There are pullouts with spectacular views along the scenic drive through the district including overlooks at Shafer Canyon Overlook, Grand View Point, and Buck Canyon Overlook. There are several trails that criss cross the park but we only walked on the shorter ones: Mesa Arch Trail and the Upheaval Dome Overlook Trails, and only hiking 2.5 miles today.

Upheaval Dome Second Overlook

Grand View Point

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