Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kanab, UT (5/2/2016)

After a couple days of weather delay, my last full day in Kanab had a favorable forecast.  Hoping that local dirt/clay roads had dried up enough, I left with the intent to explore some of the back roads between Kanab and Page, AZ.  I picked up a BLM map to help me decide which roads I should try.  On one road, I was stopped short by a huge mud bog.  I might have been able to get through it, but just didn't want to take the risk.

Another dirt road took me onto School Trust Land, owned by the state, so it was not fully depicted on the BLM map.  About ten miles on the road led me to an overlook of Paria Canyon, one of the things I had wanted to see.  However, this was not a very scenic overlook, certainly not the one I have seen in photos.  Five miles on a spur road ended at another overlook, again not what I was hoping for, but there was a good view of "The Cockscomb", a monocline about 65 miles long with many fascinating geological features.  (A monocline is where the earth breaks under intense pressure, with one side of the break tilting upward at a steep angle.)

One short road gave me a good view of a mesa with its colorful rock foundation exposed by erosion.

I noticed on the map a road going into Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with the notation "White Rocks".  I've spent a lot of time exploring this area over the years, but I had never heard of White Rocks.  Not knowing exactly what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the road.  The trail I found there led into a broad canyon characterized by large white formations.

Soon I began to see some more colorful formations of varying sizes and shapes.

When I noticed dark clouds building, my GPS told me I was a little more than three miles from the trailhead, so I started walking back, taking more photos as I went.

It only rained a few drops, so I didn't get wet.  Once back in camp, I did some research on White Rocks and found there are actually more canyons, including an upper one separated from the one I saw by a cliff.  Even if I had known of these others, I would not have been able to explore all of them in one day.  So, I'll just have to go back next trip through and do some more.  I also need to spend more time looking at some of the canyons in The Cockscomb.  I may never run out of things to do here.

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