An interesting formation can be seen on the mountains from far away. It looks deep with dark shadows. I have wondered what it is so today I hiked to it.

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This is the entry to the canyon. Just beyond a tributary canyon connects to this one. I was not sure that was the correct tributary or how to get to the formation but fortunately it was the right one.

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There are often small cliffs and jumbles of rocks on canyon bottoms. Sometimes they are a barrier but these rocks could be climbed. The tributary began not far beyond here.

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 Sometime later I have traversed most of the tributary. Then I discover this! I’ll call it Altar of the Stones.

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The tall altar stone. About five feet tall viewed from above.

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Water probably comes from this hole behind the altar during rains.

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Now I can see the formation.

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Nodules of one kind of rock in another. Pinon trees grow here.

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There is the formation. A waterfall has eroded the softer rocks making an overhang. Now the waterfall would be intermittent occurring with rain. I estimate it is at least ninety feet tall. Often these features have a basin where a pool forms at the bottom. Hopefully I will be able to climb up to that.

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In this photo this looks like a continuous rise but in fact the bottom two thirds of the picture is close and the top is farther. The pool should be above this. It looked climbable from below but about ten feet from the top I found no way to proceed without taking unreasonable risks. Especially considering that I was alone. Cliffs or steep slopes blocked other access to the pool area. One possibility remained. Cliffs such as the ones at the top of this canyon often have flat or level paths along the bottom. That could provide a walkway to the pool area. Getting to one means going up a steep slope of loose rocks.

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Resting during the climb up the slope I can see part of the cliff farther away. It has one layer of rock inset from the others. It also looks like there is a ‘walkway’ at its bottom. That is encouraging.

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It was not easy to get here but there is the path I hoped would be here.

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This is as far as the path goes. Across the canyon I see the other cliff. Its path stops at a steep slope. This one appears to do that too. So I will not be able to reach the basin or pool area but I can see it from here. From the basin to the top may be considerably more than ninety feet.

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Across the canyon there are mineral formations. I think it is dissolved in water and deposited there.

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This opening is where part of a layer is eroded away along the bottom of the cliff. It is about three feet tall at the front and tapers toward the back which is about ten feet in. There are indistinct animal tracks there.

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The bottom.

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There was not much time until sunset so I went back to the truck without further exploration. The full moon rose as I left the main canyon. I made it to the truck in twilight but it was reassuring to know the moonlight would be there if needed.

Camera: Pentax Optio WGII


You can use these images, November 2017 Hike, under a CC BY 4.0 license. About Credits

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