Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Water in a Desert Canyon

I had mentioned that it was water that brought people to the Zion region…….but, before that, it was water that carved and created this landscape.


The power of water…….steady, flowing, relentlessly seeking the lower level….periodically bursting forth in flood….. scouring out the canyon ……Virgin River carved through this portion of the Colorado Plateau much as the Colorado River did at the Grand Canyon. Water in an arid landscape creates canyon walls with eroding edges….in a wetter climate, you would have just wide valleys.


Along the side canyons, water flows from tributaries across the plateau….


To cascade out over the canyon in  waterfalls…….more dramatic after rains or snow melt…but very pretty, here.


Tracing upstream to pools such as this …..named Emerald Pool for the green color of the algae which is more visible sometimes than others. (It did not look green to me, just sort-of muddy brown).


Ground water on the canyon rim also seeps through porous layers of sandstone to emerge (as much as 1,000 – 4,000 years later) as springs such as this one at Weeping Rock…… giving rise to wonderfully green ‘hanging gardens’.


Water was frequently, the destination for the hiking trails…..the Emerald Pools Trail, The Weeping Rock Trail, The Water Falls, The Riverside walk, etc.


Here, at the end of the Riverside Walk the river becomes the trail…..the Narrows… just wade right up the river as the canyon walls get closer and closer together. We were not able to hike the Narrows. It was, unfortunately,  closed beyond this point due to high water levels……the power of water is not to be taken lightly…….

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