There is lots to see besides dust and rocks in a desert. You only have to look a bit closer at things. There are a lot of lizards in the dessert, but they are more scared from you, that the other way round. When you are quiet and look carefully you will spot them. But do leave them in peace, and just enjoy looking at them.
I don't know for sure but I think this is a Collared lizard. One of my travelbooks explained to me that : 'The collard lizard can be shades of yellow, green or brown and is often found sunning itself on a rock'. Lizards are carnivores. You can spot them on top of a rock, basking in the sun, warming up enough to go out hunting. From these exposed locations, they claim their territory, attract mates, and search for food.
Please correct me if it's not the collared lizard. I am always curious to know a bit more about the animals I spot
Beware : don't reach blindly under bushes, rocks or into holes. Rattlesnakes, scorpions and spiders do occur within the park.
Utah is an amazing area in the USA, I've never seen something like it before. The landscape is weird, fascinating and breathtaking at the same time. In Utah you can find some of America's most beautiful National Parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley. Every time I look at my photos I am amazed; I've really been here! I've done many travels and hopefully will do many more, but Utah has captured a special place in my heart. This is only going to be a small page; a little summary of my visit to Utah. I know that there is much more to Utah then only the places I've been to, but I do hope I can give you a little taste of what Utah has to offer.
During my travels in Southwest US, I often came across these funny vertical stripes on the walls. Looked as if someone had poured down varnish from the walltop.Later on, I learned that this indeed is called "desert varnish".I checked the web, and found the following infos:(for more details please check NPS.gov website, the Canyonlands' one):Desert varnish only appears where water flows over rocks, and bacteria are present. It is composed of fine-grained clay minerals, which contain black manganese oxide and red iron oxide, or hydroxides.
Fondest memory: Now directly from NPS/Canyonlands Website:
Desert varnish consists of clays and other particles cemented to rock surfaces by manganese emplaced and oxidized by bacteria living there. It is produced by the physiological activities of microorganisms which are able to take manganese out of the environment, then oxidize and emplace it onto rock surfaces. These microorganisms live on most rock surfaces and may be able to use both organic and inorganic nutrition sources. These manganese-oxidizing microorganisms thrive in deserts and appear to fill an environmental niche unfit for faster growing organisms which feed only on organic materials.The sources for desert varnish components come from outside the rock, most likely from atmospheric dust and surface runoff. Streaks of black varnish often occur where water cascades over cliffs. No major varnish characteristics are caused by wind.Thousands of years are required to form a complete coat of manganese-rich desert varnish so it is rarely found on easily eroded surfaces. A change to more acidic conditions (such as acid rain) can erode rock varnish. In addition, lichens are involved in the chemical erosion of rock varnish.
Whole Southwest US is red rock wonderland. All is displayed due to the activity of Colorado River, who has carved it's way through the rocks since eons - and thus gives us magnificent insights of the single layers of Mother Earth in this part of the world.
The map below is taken from the booklet "The Story behind the Scenery - Heart of the Colorado Plateau", and shows the parts and National Parks of Utah, belonging to the Plateau.
Glen Canyon Recreation Park.
And much more, which are not here in the map.
Fondest memory: As I love the sight of each single rock in Utah (although far away of having seen each :-) I will describe more about the Colordo Plateau, it's geology, it's history, it's different places to visit - the famous ones and the less famous ones.
Yepp - and in this case, fulfilling the demand of VT to describe what I miss most when being away from Utah:
I miss the enormous variety in red colors' hues being present there;
I miss the way, the rocks tell me about the history;
I miss the atmosphere, the colors create, depending on the daylight;
I miss the plants who intelligently found their way to live in these dry regions -
I miss Utah !
When looking through bookstores in Utah, I always felt like in heaven, as there are so many excellent books on all and everything.
Consequently, I bought some (tons) of books on Southwest, usually hiking and geology books.
Fondest memory: The best hiking guide with excellent and precise little map drawings for me is:
"Hiking the Southwest's Canyon Country"
by Sandra Hinchman, published by Mountaineers.
(mine is ed. 1990 and was USD 12,95 in 1996).
For most of the hikes, I did by myself, or which I will recommend here, I'll add some of their map drawings.
Which should animate you to eventually get your own copy of the book - if you like hiking :-)
(no, I'm not payed for this recommendation :-)
Highway 12 passes directly beneath a naturally occuring arch, which is similar to the one found in Bryce Canyon. Aftere Red Canyon, the road levels a bit and then dips into a valley. Another level stretch follows before the road climbs Boulder Mountain before ending near Torrey.
This 120 mile drive could easily consume an entire day. This is one of those roads where every turn offers an unexpectedly different view. With mountains, rock formations and colorful plateaus, the highway 12 scenic drive gives you an overview of all of Utah's finests scenery. And there's a National Park at either end. This is one not to be missed.
Favorite thing: There are 5 national parks in Utah: Zion and Bryce in the south, the lesser known Capitol Reef which is east of Bryce and Arches and Canyonlands in the far eastern portion of the state. These parks are fascinating in their diverse scenery and varied recreational opportunities.
Favorite thing: When to go can be a challenging decision. In the summer you will find that many of the parks and monuments are unpleasantly hot, having very little shade to protect you as you hike the not to be missed trails. Carrying LOTS of water is a MUST if you are going to survive much hiking. In Arches National Park, for example, you can expect 90s and even higher in June-Aug. Also in many parks and monuments the summer months are the most crowded time of the year. In the winter, you may find snow or ice on the trails, and sometimes trails may be a closed due to slippery conditions, or falling ice. Note that some of the parks normally get very little snowfall. We went in January and early February, and the only park we really couldn't hike in was Bryce Canyon. Snow can, however, add another element of interest to your photos. If you plan to hike in the National Parks, stop at the visitor centers, watch their informative videos, and ask for advice on trails. Most National Parks will have trail maps you can pick up. The photo is of Bryce Canyon the day after the snowstorm.
Favorite thing: Highway 12 is an east-west route which begins just south of Panguich and runs for approximately 150 miles. It is one of the most scenic drives in Utah. This route also has one of Utah's National Parks at either end- Bryce Canyon near the western beginning of the highway and Capitol Reef to its eastern terminuns. Heading west along this highway, the first scenic stop is Red Canyon. Here the route passes some impressive red sandstone formations which serve as a preview to the spectacular scenery just up the road in Bryce Canyon.
Favorite thing: Utah has many National Parks (6 in total), in addition to its National Forest Areas, National Monuments, state parks and other recreation areas. Large portions of the state consist of recreational playgrounds interspersed with scenic drives. This picture was taken at the entrance into Red Canyon along Hwy 12, one of Utah's most scenic highways, while heading to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Favorite thing: If you are going to the Four Corners area, get the AAA "Indian Country Guide Map." It has details of the national park and indian reservation landmarks that you won't find on the typical highway map. There is a lot of tape on the folds of our map - we found it invaluable.
Favorite thing: Utah has a dry desert climate. Rainfall is minimal in much of the state. It can get cold in the winter, but summers are very hot and dry. Temperatures are often above 100 degees during the summer and no matter how many people call this a dry heat, its still very, very hot.
Favorite thing: Visit the Family Center in Salt Lake and research your genealogy. The Mormoms are very family-oriented, and they have done much to help document genealogy (including helping with Ellis Island database).
Okay guys, here I need some help, I did not write down the name of this dam, can anybody help out here.
I have always been impressed by the sheer size and power of a dam, the ability to control so much water behind a concrete wall.
There are so many things to see that it is hard to choose just one "don't miss" site. Arches is unique and most sites are easy to get to. Bryce and Zion are totally unique parks and close enough to see both in a short time. Capitol Reef is relatively unknown and Canyonlands is undeveloped and rugged.
Fondest memory: In the summer of 2001 I finally took my long-awaited whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado through Cataract Canyon. I was able to see this area from a totally different perspective than any previous trip. It was also the most relaxing time I can ever remember. Wonderful for those willing to rough it.
Stayed for 3 nights. The room was very clean and spacious. Housekeepers were always prompt and did a...more
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It's more like a motel that a hotel but it's nice and it's the best place to stay in vicinity of the...more