Arch and Honeycomb Weathering Picture of the Week

When you were a child and thunder was new to you, did your mother try to console you by explaining that the noise was just God and the angels bowling in heaven? My mom did that. I believed her because she’d never lie to me, and she knew I’d catch her (although I don’t understand why Santa stopped sending me $20 at Christmas when she died). She always told people that I was their peer, although there may be more intelligent children. Well, what her exact words were is, “He sure ain’t the brightest kid in the class.”

Arch and Honeycomb Weathering - inside the cave on the Jenny's Canyon Trail are a natural window and Honeycomb Weathering.
Arch and Honeycomb Weathering -Inside the cave at the end of Jenny’s Canyon Trail are a natural window and Honeycomb Weathering.

This memory comes to mind because I think I’ve captured the scoreboard that the angels used. It’s visible in this week’s picture—the rows of distorted cribbage holes. If one of the bowlers threw a strike, a lightning bolt would cause a tree to burst into flames. Then they’d advance their marker into the next hole. The one that got their rock in the last spot won. It’s that simple.

I did a lot of online research to prove my thesis, but I found nothing. Instead, the experts call this kind of erosion honeycomb weathering. It’s not clearly understood, but it’s an alchemy of rock, salt, rain, freezing, and expansion. You also have to hold your tongue just right while you’re making it. I saw this type of erosion before in Canyonlands National Park when we visited too long ago, so I assume that it’s shared across Southern Utah’s sandstone formations.

This example of honeycomb weathering is in Utah’s Snow Canyon in a place they call Jenny’s Canyon. It’s at the end of a half-mile (round trip) trail near the park’s south entrance, and it was the shortest and the most rewarding of the side trips that we took. The trail leads to a slot canyon in the sandstone, but not the usual slot. Unlike Antelope Canyon near Page—where running water has cut a course into the sandstone—this is one of those stacked dunes (see last week’s picture) with a gap between the layers. Jenny’s Canyon begins as a typical slot, but dead ends in a short cave. I took my shot from inside the cave.

If you think some weird bacteria are growing on the cave walls, let me explain the color. Like wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses, when the sunlight bounces off the red sandstone, it adds that color to the reflected light, and that’s why the back wall seems to glow orange. Other photographers have successfully captured this phenomenon at Bryce Canyon, but I’ve been unlucky so far. “Damn you, Bryce. I’ll get you one day.”

Jenny's Canyon Sky - Because the canyon walls almost touch, the view of the sky is a narrow ribbon in Jenny's Canyon.
Jenny’s Canyon Sky – Because the canyon walls almost touch, the view of the sky is a narrow ribbon in Jenny’s Canyon.

The second image that I included to illustrate my post is the sky from Jenny’s slot canyon. I’ve seen photos like this, and I wanted one of my own. I think the blue against the glowing orange and dark walls look like torn craft paper glued on one another as a collage. I consider it an abstract because it has no story of its own.

You can see a larger version of Arch and Honeycomb Weathering on its Web Page by clicking here. Come back next week to see the next trail that we explored. It’s not far up the road.

Until next time — jw

Eagle Eye Picture of the Week

We’re still hanging in Aguila for the new Photo of the Week. Although I drove twenty-five miles to the little town because I had wanted to shoot a specific sign, I then poked around town to see what else I could photograph, and I found the number one reason—if there is such a thing—to visit Aguila. Here’s my shot of the natural window in the hills south of town formed by eagle-head-shaped rocks. Aguila is the Spanish word for eagle; hence, you have the town’s name source.

Eagle Eye Window
Eagle Eye Window – Rocks form this window in the shape of an eagle’s head and is in the hills south of Aguila, Arizona.

I’m sure there’s a way to climb up to the window because I’ve seen people there. I didn’t take the time to find a way on this trip, but I saw on Google Maps that there was a trail from the cemetery south of town. As I said last week, there is a good view from the window along US Highway 60 by the working fields of Centennial Ranches. Even a moderate telephoto lens will bring the Eagle Eye closer.

I followed dirt roads between the fields to get closer for this shot. They had street signs, so I assumed the roads were public. It was late in the afternoon when I snapped this, and the beautiful streaky clouds were beginning to get color. I should have waited for sunset, but I wanted to get to another scene that I saw along the trip (which was a bust). You can see the larger version on my Website – Here. I hope you enjoy viewing it. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Till next time — jw