We started the day on the edge of Paradise (Canyon) and road walked to Cottonwood tank.
Such a pretty canyon, golden sandstone walls and cliffs with ledges of pinyon, juniper, and oak. Verdant green hanging gardens under shelves. Red tail hawk pairs and swallows flying about, canyon wrens trilling. (Cowpies and all.) As we hiked through we thought about how if this place was in Washington, it would most likely be protected public land and a recreation destination. Unlike the current challenges to Grand Staircase-Escalante NM. But in Washington state, we do things differently. Being here reminds me of how grateful I am for the conservation work, public programs, and general community support for protecting and stewarding the land.
Once out of the canyon, pleasant road walking to The Cockscomb formation. We’d figured around that landmark we’d have hiked 400 miles. Worthy of a high five.
As we rounded the bend, there was a cluster of people and vehicles pulled to the side of the road. A geology field trip. We would have just walked by, but then overheard the geologist point out the 78 million year old redwood in the wall of the road cut!!!!
We stopped and dropped back to listen to a bit of the lecture. Sediment layers and deposition rates. Rocks that were plant impressions. Such serendipity to walk by here at this moment.
Suddenly I was reminded of how we are walking through a beautiful place and there are so many things of significance that we aren’t able to interpret. Sigh. The 25 pounds of interpretive books are in the trunk in Moab. I wish I’d taken geology classes. And had a geologist, archeologist, biologist, and local conservationist at our camp each night to talk about the days ahead.
Another mile or so and we are back to familiar ground. A spot we camped while caching. A cool night, time to use the tent again – we haven’t needed it for 140 miles.
Day 27: 23.0 miles; 402.3 miles total. Edge of Paradise Canyon to camp by Cottonwood tank.
GPS: not needed; people sighted: group of 18 or so folks on a geology field trip; roads: about 16 miles of well graded BLM roads.