Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 52, Utah, USA

Utah is a western state of the United States.

The name "Utah" is derived from the Ute Indian language, meaning "people of the mountains.

We are now flying over Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part Utah.
Did you know that it is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere, the fourth-largest terminal lake in the world,and the 37th-largest lake on Earth??
In an average year the lake covers an area of around 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2).

The Great Salt Lake effect is a small but detectable influence on the local climate and weather around Utah.
In particular, snowstorms are a common occurrence over the region and have major socio-economic impacts due to their significant precipitation amounts.
The Great Salt lake never freezes and can warm rapidly which allows lake-effect precipitation to occur from September through May. Lake-enhanced snowstorms are often attributed to creating what is locally known as "The Greatest Snow on Earth."

Wow, there is the Salt Lake Temple,

the largest (of more than 120 around the world) a nd best-known temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the sixth temple built by the church overall, and the fourth operating temple built sin ce the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois.

We are now going to Bryce Canyon National Park

Thousands of delicately carved spires rise in brilliant color from the amphitheaters of Bryce C
anyon National Park. Millions of years of wind, water and geologic mayhem have shaped and etched the pink cliffs at Bryce, which isn't actually a canyon but the eastern slope of the Paunsaguant Plateau.

We decided to take a 37-mile round-trip horseback ride to Bryce Canyon's most famous viewpoints.
The guide explained some geological facts to us.
A hoodoo (also tent rock, fairy chimney, earth pyramid) is a tall thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland.

They are composed of soft sedimentary rock and are topped by a piece of harder, less easily-eroded stone that protects the column from the elements.
The difference between hoodoos and pinnacles or spires is that hoodoos have a variable thickness often described as having a "totem pole-shaped body."
A spire, on the other hand, has a smoother profile or uniform thickness that tapers from the ground upward.
Hoodoos range in size from that of an average human to heights exceeding a 10-story buildin
g, their shapes are affected by the erosional patterns of alternating hard and softer rock layers, and minerals deposited within different rock types cause hoodoos to have different colors throughout their height.
Our first view of Bryce Canyon was dramatic, as rows of pine trees veil the color and grandeur of the canyon until we reached the rim.

Here the brilliant hues came alive - especially with the rising and setting of the sun.
From brilliant red sandstone hoodoos and mazes to open amphitheaters and lush green forests, Bryce Canyon National Park inspires awe and appreciation for one of Mother Nature's greatest miracles.

We wanted to go to a rodeo, but couldnt find one to go to so we drove to Zion National Park, another of nature's great wonders.

Designated in 1919, Zion is Utah's oldest national park. Gigantic red and white rock monoliths to wered around us like a skyscraper city of stone, concealing pockets of abundant flora and fauna. The park is known for its incredible canyons, including The Narrows.

The Virgin River has gnawed through native sandstone to create the incr edible scenery found in Zion Canyon
There are the Three Patriarchs!

These massive cliffs consist of Lower Jurassic-age formations, including (from bottom to top): the Moenave Formation, the Kayenta Formation, and the massive Navajo Sandstone.
These Jurassic-aged cliff-forming formations overlie older slope-forming formations along river level: the Moenkopi Formation (Lower Triassic) and the Chinle Formation (Upper Triassic).
The cliffs tops in Zion Canyon range roughly 2,000 feet above stream level.
We also viewed the giant screen production "Treasure of the Gods" before leaving the park...Next stop, the Valley of the Gods,

a stunning, 50-square-mile basin studded with intricately eroded sandstone spires, buttes, and towers. Navajo legend says that the towering sentinels in this sprawling, ocher-hued amphitheater are warriors turned to stone.

We can now see Monument Valley in Arizona in the distance.........

wow, lots of excitement in the camp!!!....Hmmm, I wonder why?

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