Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rain in the desert - Corona Arch, Utah

During my recent stay in Moab, Utah, most days were clear and sunny. But one day, a front was approaching from the west and rain threatened. We decided we better not be too ambitious in our hiking plans. Corona Arch is an easy 1.5-mile walk that takes you north up from the Colorado River. The parking lot and trailhead is below the railroad embankment off Utah Scenic Byway 279 (the Potash Road), about 10 miles west of the Utah 279/US 191 junction.
The trail goes through a culvert under the rail embankment and ascends steadily to the north. The light became softer and softer, giving the desert landscape pure colors and a softness not seen on the typical sunny days.
This notched arch is known as the Jeep Arch and can be accessed via the Culvert Canyon.
Corona Arch is a beauty, and you can walk right under it on the slickrock. We had a quick picnic and headed back down.
After midday, the rain began to fall heavily. We were surprised that the rock was not slippery. In this environment, there is very little clay in the sediment because almost all the rock consists of sandstone. Even the loose sand provides reasonably high friction on the rock slabs. If there was clay, it would be a slippery and dangerous mess.
With the heavier rain, the slickrock shimmers in the soft light. In this scene, the Colorado River is in the distance.
We were concerned that we might not be able to pass through the culvert back to the parking lot, but the stream was barely flowing along the concrete trough.
I seldom have trouble finding my car; invariably, it is the smallest one in the parking lot. Hmm, gasoline must be cheap in the United States.

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