Calf creek.

April 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” – Oscar Wilde

Calf Creek Canyon Falls Utah

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The fact is that the geologic formation surrounding Calf Creek, called Navajo Sandstone, is not as solid as it appears. When this formation was laid down some 180 million years ago the grains of sand were only loosely cemented together. Microscopic voids were left between the tiny particles. Now, because of these voids, some of the rainwater that falls onto the surface of the slickrock is able to seep ever so slowly downward and eventually reappear in the canyons below.

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Calf Creek Pictographs

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As you walk down into the canyon you will notice that much of the terrain is littered with black boulders of basalt. This debris came from a series of volcanic eruptions that occurred northwest of Boulder some 20 million years ago. The BLM has thoughtfully rolled most of the volcanic boulders to the side of the trail so they do not present a problem for hikers.

Most of the 600 feet of elevation loss to the canyon floor occurs in the first 0.4 mile of the trail; beyond that the trail leaves the slickrock and levels out in a more sandy area. Continuing downward at a more gradual rate, the trail next begins to turn to the right as it follows the rim of the Calf Creek gorge. Soon you will see the upper falls on the northeast side of the canyon, opposite a large alcove in the western wall. The trail splits here, with the right fork leading to the top of the waterfall and the left fork dropping on down to the bottom of the canyon.

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Sedges along Calf Creek

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At the falls, the creek emerges from a V-shaped channel at the end of upper Calf Creek Canyon and cascades over a near-vertical cliff face into a large pool several feet deep, enclosed on three sides by sheer Navajo sandstone walls. Rocks closest to the water are covered in delicate patches of blue and green algae, all the nearby cliffs have long streaks of desert varnish and the whole scene is extremely beautiful.

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Calf Creek Indian Paintbrush

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Rock with Windows Upper Calf Creek

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Geology of Utah:
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