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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 40.7595, -111.888
Today was a travel day, but that is not to say that it didn't have some surprises in store for us. As is usually the case, when you least expect it, mother nature jumps up and hits you between the eyes. We left Cody at 7:45 and 66 degrees and headed south toward Utah. For the first hour or two the ride provided nothing interesting, just a lot of prairies with lots and lots of sage brush nestled in the wispy yellow grass. The land was flat and there was simply nothing there, no houses, no towns, no ranches, nothing. Then suddenly, right in front of us appeared huge mesas, just rising out of the earth, with horizontal striations of various shades of earth tones and evergreen bushes growing out of them. It always amazes me to see trees growing sideways out of solid rock. The mesas are living art. They are made of rock that has been cracked and broken and as the earth moves, huge rocks fall away and roll down the sides. Many of these rocks are still poised atop in precarious postures, threatening to fall, but balancing ever so delicately above the ground. Occasionally there
is a rock that is so big, you have to figure that when it fell, maybe 50, maybe a hundred years ago, it caused a minor earthquake to the area around it.
Suddenly these mesas turned a brilliant brick red, and posed against the blue sky, they are beautiful to look at, with their porous facades and edges weathered with the years. And we soon found ourselves in Wind River Canyon where the river flows through a winding canyon through the mountains and the road is on a ledge on one side and the railroad tracks on a ledge on the other. The river runs swiftly and the rocks in the water create rapids in places. And it occurred to us that, as we were driving downhill along the river, the river was flowing in the other direction, as if uphill, but of course it was not. It was an optical illusion. It was flowing in the opposite direction, but that was downhill. The walls in the canyon, mainly granite, vary in color from pink, tan and gray to slate black. My research tells me that this 2000 ft. deep canyon was carved out by the Wind River and the
road through it was an engineering marvel with three tunnels blasted out of solid granite.
I got out of the car at one scenic outlook and as I was taking photos, a flock of tiny birds were swarming overhead and diving down at me, telling me I had invaded their home and they wanted me to go away. And as I walked under a roof that provides cover to a picnic table, it was clear that they had been living there. So I left and gave them back their property.
Continuing the drive, which now seemed bland by comparison, we drove through more prairies, ranches, and small towns. We saw antelope grazing in fields not far from cattle. And all along the road were snow fences built of rusting metal slats and aging gray wood, protecting the highway from snow drifts. Rainstorms came to us intermittently as we made more progress towards Salt Lake City and the lack of sunshine made for flat light for my photos. I took them anyway. I had to.
We arrived in Salt Lake at 4:30. Tomorrow we drive to Moab, Utah and plan to get a start on Arches National Park.
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