October 27, 2022
I tend to get really excited about little things…really whatever interests me at any particular time. For the past couple of weeks, I was reading that excellent book, Born to Run and I became excited about the idea that I could cure my years long trouble with plantar fasciitis by walking barefoot or in cheap non orthopedic shoes. I finished the book at the beginning of this week and decided I had all the knowledge I needed to run an experiment. After one day at work without my insoles I limped home feeling like I had been punched in the heel a hundred times. I also easily accept defeat at times and move onto the next shiny thing that interests me…maybe some of us just aren’t really born to run.
We did some solid exploring this past week. We began the week going down a new dirt road for us called North Creek Road. As implied, we drove along a pretty creek and saw lots of fall leaves. The yellow of the trees against the brilliant blue sky was very pretty. I also love the patches of mountain that are blanketed in yellow and how they look from a distance.
We reached some freezing temperatures this past week at night and one morning we woke up and saw snow on the mountains around us. It was very pretty and is making us excited about the changes we will see in the winter here. We had a couple of cold and windy days, but luckily it went back to perfect hiking weather. I managed to go through my photo catalogue and submit a bunch to the Escalante Partners to see if they wanted to use them in their media.
Luke and I took a ride with the dogs out to an area near here that is abundant with Moqui Marbles. These are also known by geologists as iron concretions. They are small brownish black balls sometimes embedded in Jurassic era Navajo sandstone and sometimes gathered into “puddles” in dips in the rock made of iron oxide and sandstone. They are strange and wondrous things. Some we saw loose on the ground and some were half encased in the rock. Many we saw were round or spherical and looked like little flying saucers. There is an old Hopi legend that their ancestors would come out at night and play marbles with these. They would then leave them on the ground to reassure the living that they were happy and doing fine.
How these marbles for is complex for me to explain as I am not a geologist so I will keep it simple and try to relay what I understand here. Hundreds of millions of years ago this area was like the Sahara with lots of sand covered by a thin layer of hematite which made the sand red. Over the years this sand hardened to porous stone. The effects of groundwater running through this stone (hears where I get a little lost) somehow forms the hematite around sand making these balls. Eventually, erosion wears layers of rock away which exposes these marbles making them seem like they pop out of the ground. Incidentally, I learned that this was also observed on mars and there they are referred to as Martian Blueberries as one rover scientist observed that they looked like blueberries on top of a muffin.
Luke and I went to the showroom in town to watch a writer named Craig Childs present a talk and some of his photos from his recent survey of Lake Powell. He was a fascinating speaker and his photos were great. He had taken a dory through the lake and explained to us all about the changes he observed as he had grown up visiting this lake often. Lake Powell as it turns out is not correctly named. It used to be a lush canyon when they built a dam to turn the area into a reservoir to supply water to the area. Some think that the water level receding so quickly and dramatically is not a bad thing as it will return the canyon to its natural state. However, many depend on this “lake” for their livelihood including fishing, tourism through lake recreation and the houseboats anchored in it, and for their own fun hobbies. According to Craig, the lake reaches a point called Deadpool when the water level reaches the intake pipes. At that point, if the pipes continue to suck in water, it will destroy the system by sucking in air and fish. Craig thinks that this point will be reached within five years at the rate we are going now. Many boat launches have been closed as the water is too far away from the ramp now to be usable. I also talked to a friend who told me that she recently stayed at a waterfront campground on Lake Powell, but the water was now 50 feet away from the docks there. Some who attended the talk also brought up concerns about Uranium waste being in the water due to the decades of Uranium mining that went on in this area.
Yesterday, we set out to explore Bighorn slot canyon. It was the most colorful and interesting slot we have seen and the hike to get there wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t get a chance to edit all my photos from the slot yet so I’ll share a few this week and maybe some more next week. In order to get there, we did have to hike along a wash which included several times crossing the wash. There was just a little water in it which was lovely, but did cause there to be quite a bit of mud. I got excited, “could it be quicksand?” I hopped on one little patch to activate it as I had seen done in a YouTube video and sure enough, the mud turned into jelly-like goo with a thin puddle over it so I hopped out quickly before I started to sink. Later in the hike, my foot slid on some of this mud and down I went, totally covered in this clay mud substance on one side of my body. It was a soft fall, but it dried like concrete so Luke had to help me get my shoes off when we got home. The hike to the canyon was beautiful in and of itself. This is definitely a spot we will come back to.
We rounded out the week with a game night at the local pub last night. I wasn’t sure if anyone would show, but four of my co-workers came and we had a lovely time playing Pandemic and a trivia card game. I’m so happy when I can successfully build community by bringing together a group of people over a shared interest. This was a great week for exploring and community!
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.