Wednesday, September 20, 2017

South on Hwy 89 from Page, Arizona

I wanted to stop in Page for a few days and visit Antelope Canyon, but when I called the only two campgrounds in the area, they were both full. So, I am putting this on next year's itinerary. In the meantime, we stopped at Horseshoe Bend, which I have heard about and seen pictures of, and wanted to see for myself. We pulled into the parking lot and it was jam packed with cars, tourist buses and RVs. Since we were pulling the trailer, we could not find a parking space and were going to just leave, but as we pulled out, found a place to park along the side of Hwy 89. I took this picture from the top of the hill, and if you look close, you can see our truck & trailer parked along the road.

Horseshoe Bend is the Colorado River in Glen Canyon making a 270 degree curve in an entrenched meander. The river flows from the right, around the bend, and out the left side. 

That white speck you see in the river is a boat

The orange rock seen here is Navajo Sandstone, the largest sandstone layer in the United States. Composed of sand dunes from the Jurassic age, it stretches from Northern Arizona to Wyoming. At up to 2,000 feet thick, the sandstone is very strong as a whole, using the compression of its own weight to hold it together. But there are places where the sandstone is not strong: the exposed rocks on the top and sides. This sandstone may look solid and stable but the structure underneath may have fallen away, leaving a piece of rock jutting out over the abyss. 

Water and weather have beaten down upon the exposed surfaces of the sandstone, dissolving the calcium carbonate that glues the individual grains of sand together. This leaves exposed sand, and weakens the rock to a point that it may break apart under our feet.

Highway 89 was quite a spectacular ride as we left Horseshoe Bend and headed south.

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