Have you ever been to a place that is so “other” that you wonder if you can describe it? That would be the Needles district of Canyonlands NP, for me. Until I learn to put photos up (soon, soon!) I can only try to describe this place of wonderment and mystery.
Imagine the Colorado River carving its way lazily through rock, over the ages. Meandering rivers signify slow-moving water and low slope. The Colorado did just what it was supposed to do… but meanwhile, the entire land mass underneath it began rising. The incising power increased, and this whole area called the Colorado Plateau began taking on a new topographic shape.
I forgot an important part. Go back further. As old oceans filled in and receded, filled in and receded, many many times, different colors of grains were deposited in layers. White sands would blow in from ocean beaches to the west, and be laid down and compacted. Red iron-containing rocks from the mountains would erode and be washed down, and pile on top of the white, and be compacted. Repeat ad nauseum. Then add an incising river.
Now you begin to imagine what one sees looking down from the Needles area. Rock formations that look like peppermint sticks! Odd and curious shapes like mushroom tops, spires, and castles! All in an area the size of, oh, Rhode Island. Today I saw it from up on top of the mesa as well as, several hours later, down in the maze itself. I’m telling you, it is OTHER.