Thursday, October 3, 2013

Across the West and Back Day 2: A Hike along a Limestone Ridge

Where were we? Oh yes, it was *still* day two of our giant western loop trip (as I have so fondly labeled it), and we were at the Grassy Mountain Rest Stop, and we were about to take a hike through a bit of limestone.

The first stop on the short hike is a small window in limestone of the Pennsylvanian Oquirrh Group that may be equivalent to some part of the Ely Limestone (judging by its air-photo outcrop pattern alone — I haven't looked for diagnostic fossils). The online, interactive Utah geological map isn't specific to formation in this part of Utah.
Small window in limestone, looking south.
Same window looking back toward the rest stop, with MOH's hand for scale.
View to the west or southwest from our limestone ridge.
While hiking along the trail, the portion of the Great Salt Lake Desert that we crossed between Wendover and the rest stop was just barely visible through the haze. It's not that first white line out there before the rocky hills in shadow; it's the vague flat area beyond the shadowed hills on the right.
The trail continues to the south between two ribs of limestone, amidst the cheat grass and halogeton.
The view looking south toward unnamed hills, also underlain by Pennsylvanian limestone.
Pack rat midden in tiny cave.
We speculated about the formation of the limestone window, and wondered if something as mundane as a packrat's midden could have contributed to creating a small cave in the limestone, with uplift and erosion later leaving the window isolated from most of the exposure.
Trail's end. A part of the Cedar Range in the distance on the left; the unnamed hills seen earlier on the right.
Once again I've added the locations of these photos to the day's trip log (map) embedded below.

View Day 2: Elko, NV to Vernal, UT in a larger map.


Tony Edger said...

What a stark and beautiful landscape this is with such subtle colors. And, sadly but not unexpectedly, there's that bit of graffiti on the limestone window (at least, I assume that's what the apparent initials above the window are).

Silver Fox said...

Yes, that is graffiti. And maybe there was another one I managed not to get in the photo. Too close to the freeway!