. . . 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.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Canyonlands National Park: The Needles

View Across the Way with Wooden Shoe Arch on the Right

Wooden Shoe Arch
A second district within the Canyonlands National Park is the Needles that forms the southeast corner. It is named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. 
View of the Needles from Afar

We only had time to walk the Pothole Point Trail, unable to hike the longer trails to view the Needles close up (a disappointment). Those trails are at least 5 miles round trip and since we stopped on the way home from Moab, just didn’t have the time (or inkling) to hike to the Needles. But the Pothole Point Trail was a nice short hike among some really great sandstone layers that formed 250 million years ago.


Me Among the Sandstone Layers
Along the trail (and also at Island in the Sky and Arches) We saw a lot of biological soil crust. Cairns mark the walking trails so that you stay off of this delicate life form. This crust consists of cyanobacteria (the most basic of life forms) but also lichens, mosses, green algae, fungi, and bacteria. It forms the foundation of high desert plant life.
Biological Soil Crust
Maybe next time we visit we will stay at the quiet campground and go on some of the long hikes to see the Needles up close.

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