Back to Arches National Park
October 31-November 1, 2016
Very grateful for surviving the tire mishap, we were back in Arches at about 4:40pm.
It was exhilirating wide open country and we were blessed with a fine day on which to view it. We had decided to make a quick tour of the main roads since it was now almost 7pm, with the plan to come back in the morning. At the very bottom of this view you can see the shadow of one of the rock formations to the west of us, so the shadows were already lengthening.
This area is known as Salt Valley. The next day we saw it in a wider view from a high ridge. The display describes it thus: "Beneath the valley floor in front of you lies a thick layer of salt. Formed by the evaporation of ancient oceans, the salt became thousands of feet deep. Over the next 290 million years, this salt was buried by sand, silt and other sediments. Under pressure, the less dense salt rose into a dome, partly dissolved, and then collapsed, creating Salt Valley."
Left: "Windblown and waterborne sediments buried the salt. The weight of the overlying sediment forced the salt to flow, like a glacier, along its rock bed. Where the salt encountered a fault, it bulged upward, forming a salt dome." Middle: "Unable to bend, the overlying rock cracked. The cracks allowed water to seep into the salt, dissolving the upper layers. No longer supported, the overlying rock collapsed, creating Salt Valley. Right: "Rocks along the edge of the valley stretched and cracked in long lines, parallel to the length of the valley. The free-standing fins you see across the valley formed as erosion enlarged the parallel cracks. The process of erosion continues to sculpt a scenic backdrop for Salt Valley."
The view of the famous Delicate Arch from the lower viewpoint. We had driven past the main parking area were people take the 3 mile hike to get close to the arch. We went on some distance to this viewpoint where you get a more distant view of it and its surroundings.
I decided to take the trail to the upper viewpoint in this area. It was about a half mile and steep, but did give a clearer view of the arch. You can see the canyon that prevents you from going all the way to the arch from this approach. You can also see the tiny figures of those who hiked up the other trail for a close view.
We saw one last arch in the distance as the sky darkened toward sunset at about 8:20pm. It was interesting to see this much color in the eastern sky, almost a reflection of the color that was happening behind us in the western sky.
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