Friday, November 2, 2007

Some of the little aspects of the Colorado Plateau

I decided to focus on some of the small aspects of the Colorado Plateau. Everything seems so vast and huge here that often the small points of beauty are ignored. My sister and I are photographers and artists and so we can sometimes ignore the big picture in favor of the little details. This can frankly get just a bit obsessive. We were photographing the intricate little holes and cavities in the wall of sandstone pictured below when two tourists walked past. She was oohing and aahing about the view pictured in the opening photo.

Her husband obviously wanted to hurry her up. He was trying to take the three mile scenic trail at Canyonlands as if it was the Boston marathon.

“Look at that cliff,” she said pointing toward where Deb and I were busy recording our miniture world.

“Come on. It is just more red rocks.”

“Red rocks?” my sister and I mouthed silently to each other. “How blind.”


Other people had used this wall to place little stones in the cubby holes. It is the I-care- about-nature way of saying, “I was here.” As is the photo below. This was taken at a conjunction of several trails in Arches National Park. But obviously it was a meeting place. The gathering of stacks of stones was like a congregation at a church.

I was here

Survival in the Utah wastelands takes a lot of hard work. Yo don’t just set off on what is going to be an hour hike without all the essentials to survive a lot longer if necessary. Water is especially precious. And as the photo below indicates for plants so is dirt. There really isn’t any except in the canyon bottoms but plants, even trees get a foothold here. Their roots seek out every single crevice in the sandstone. This tree did not survive but it is still hanging on.

Holding tight to the rock

The shrub below is called Mormon’s Tea. It is credited for the survival of the early settlers in this wilderness. My sister and I came to really love this plant. To chew on the hollow reeds that comprise what would in other plants be leaves is to receive a new burst of energy and decreased hunger. It obviously was invaluable in getting the family through the next portion of the forced march toward a valley that had water, shade and shelter from the winds.

Morman's Tea

And they profess to not believe in stimulants like coffee. This stuff was like a quadruple espresso.