Monday, February 4, 2013

Natural Bridge, Death Valley

Leaving the salt flats I drove up to Natural Bridge for a hike and to stretch my legs.

Soon I came upon these guardians of the bridge or gateway into more exciting things.  It almost had a spiritual feeling as I knelt down to take this photo of the sun shining at the entrance.  The morning and evening light does magical things to the colorful rocks in Death Valley.  This was still morning and the sun was just entering the canyon.
As I walked thru it felt as though I had stepped into an ancient time. The many types of rocks on the canyon walls stood out and I could see the layers that had first been deposited on the ocean floor and then later eroded to the beauty it is today. It isn’t the largest natural bridge in the US but it is still impressive. 

Here is a view looking back that gives a better prospecting on the size of the bridge.

Just on up the trail I came to a dry waterfall that was formed thousands of years ago. It was made by a small tributary stream flowing into the main channel that formed the canyon.  Originally there wasn’t much difference between the depth of the main stream and the tributary but as time passed and the larger stream carved out the canyon more rapidly than this smaller one it was left hanging and now when it rains water chutes down very fast.  It almost looked slick.

There wasn’t much vegetation in the canyon, mostly this plant. But I was surprised to see a Painted Lady Butterfly flitting about, too bad it wouldn't stay still for a photo. My friend Angie wrote and told me, "that plant is desert holly. they have a reflective surface and keep their leaves almost vertical to minimize the exposure to light and heat. " She as a ton of field guides and now I see that I should have borrowed a few like she suggested.  I am in California now and I am having trouble finding book in the library to help with identifications. Go figure!

I also found a grasshopper called Pallid-winged Grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis), one of the most common grasshoppers found in the U.S. deserts.

As I left the canyon I noticed a rock formation called “bedding”, it is like layer after layer of blankets and sheets.


1 comment:

DeniseinVA said...

What a magical and yes very spiritual place. I remember feeling that way when we visited Antelope Canyon and Arches National Park several years ago. Loved this post and all its pictures.